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Journal Background

The Occasional Paper series was published by International Development Studies (IDS) at Roskilde University between 1990 and 2006. The series was closely linked to the PhD programme in International Studies on 'Political and Cultural Institutions in Development, which was initiated by John Martinussen and Preben Kaarsholm in 1989 with support from the Danish Research Academy.

The PhD programme importantly established and relied on network relations with Danish universities (Aarhus, Aalborg and Copenhagen), with universities in other Nordic countries (Gothenburg, Uppsala, Lund, Bergen, Oslo, Helsinki), with European universities through the ERASMUS programme (Paris VII, School of Oriental and African Studies, Istitutio Universitario Orientale in Naples, Louvain), and not least with academic institutions in Africa and India (the University of Zimbabwe, the Centre for Basic Research in Kampala, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta).

The core activity for the PhD programme on 'Political and Cultural Institutions in Development' consisted in regular week-long intensive researcher training courses for PhD students and other young researchers. Researcher training courses were held at venues in both Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, and their programmes would consist in a balance of lectures and paper presentations from senior academics - including major international experts - and presentations and discussions of work in progress from PhD students, with the more senior colleagues acting as discussants.

This format for researcher training courses was highly successful and became the model for similar training activities in other environments, as exemplified by the annual 'Cultural Studies Workshops' for international students from the South, which were organised by the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, from the mid-1990s with support from the Danish ENRECA programme and subsequently Dutch SEPHIS, and which is still continuing.

The individual Occasional Papers came together and were edited as quickly published versions of papers and lectures presented at the IDS PhD programme's researcher training courses. They were meant to be used as teaching and discussion materials, and to have the status of pre-publications that would not prevent the later publication of papers in more ambitious and established international peer-reviewed journals.

While many papers contributed to the Occasional Paper series were subsequently published elsewhere, a significant number were not, and some issues of the series have become much sought after in later years. This includes No. 11 on 'Inventions and Boundaries: Historical and Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism', edited by Preben Kaarsholm and Jan Hultin.

While individual issues of the Occasional Paper series were usually edited by the IDS academic staff members who had organised the researcher training courses on which they were based, the overall editorial responsibility resided with the chairpersons of the PhD programme, which between 1990 and 2006 included John Martinussen, Preben Kaarsholm, Signe Arnfred and Henrik Secher Marcussen.

The IDS Occasional Paper series was discontinued in 2006, as the urgency of peer-reviewed publication as a measure for academic credit became increasingly emphasized. We are happy now to be able to make the 25 issues of the series published between 1990 and 2006 available for download in digital formal through the Roskilde University Library. We hope they will continue to be useful and of interest for students and researchers internationally, and that they will testify to the excitement and significance of the development of PhD researcher training in international development studies that took place at Roskilde in this period.