Think Tanks, NGOs and IGOs: IR

Think Tanks, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Inter-governmental Organizations (IGOs) publish original research (often free on the Web) as well as provide useful up-to-date news on topics of global and national interest. Much of the content is deep within the respective sites, so a Google search may not bring up the best reports. Some non-profit organizations have strong political ties and may provide a biased view of a particular issue. While some think tanks self-identify on the political spectrum, designation of the bias of others is somewhat subjective.

The Think Tank Spectrum in Extra, a publication of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), categorizes some of the best-known Think Tanks as ‘conservative’, ‘progressive’, or ‘centrist’.
The 2013 Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI)
, published annually by the University of Pennsylvania, ranks Think Tanks in various ways. Another source, FindTheData, provides a chart comparing revenue, expenses and contributions of approximately 230 organizations, and allows sorting by political affiliation.

Search Think Tank Content

The subscription database CIAO: Columbia international affairs online searches within many well-known think tanks, with a focus on International Relations. The search box below is a custom search created in Google; it is in no way complete, but may provide a useful starting point.

Selected NGOs/IGOs

(Note: The GGTTI lists over 6800 NGOs and IGOs. The following have been selected for the amount and quality of free full-text provided.)

Amnesty International

“Amnesty International is a worldwide campaigning movement that works to promote all the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international standards.” (from the site)

International Monetary Fund

IMF working papers, Staff Country Reports and Papers on Policy Analysis & Assessment are all available here in full text. News, fund rates, and information about the organization are also available. The easiest way to navigate this site is to use the site map.

Global Exchange

“A non-profit research, education, and action center dedicated to promoting people-to-people ties around the world.” It provides a Links page that identifies additional protest organizations. (Note: the site map provides the clearest access points to other topics.)

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Information on NATO’s policies and structures, official documents, press releases, speeches and publications.

Organization of American States

An organization of 35 American nations working on social issues such as “strengthening democracy, advancing human rights, promoting peace and security, expanding trade and tackling complex problems caused by poverty, drugs and corruption.” (from the site)

Readex AccessUN

AccessUN indexes United Nations publications from 1966 to the present, and provides the full-text of most UN resolutions. Other documents cited in AccessUN may be found in Mugar’s microfiche collection of United Nations Documents and Publications.

World Trade Organization

The organization administers trade agreements, handles trade disputes, and facilitates negotiations. Publishes: International Trade Statistics 1998-2003


The world’s largest source of development assistance.

Selected Think Tanks

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

AEI research covers economics and trade; social welfare; government tax, spending, regulatory, and legal policies; U.S. politics; international affairs; and U.S. defense and foreign policies. The Institute publishes dozens of books and hundreds of articles and reports each year, a well as the magazine American Enterprise.

American Foreign Policy Council

Issues covered include: Aid to the Former USSR; Missile Threats & Defenses; Espionage, the KGB & the Russian Security Services; Reform in Russia; U.S.-China Relations, and Chemical Weapons.

Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies

Funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Brookings Institution

The institution helps scholars study contemporary economic, governmental, and international problems by financing research projects and publishing their findings. see specifically Foreign Policy Studies

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Specializes in research on foreign relations and diplomacy, security and defense.

Cato Institute

Maintains an extensive publications program on topics such as the federal budget, Social Security, monetary policy, natural resource policy, military spending, NATO, and international trade. Conferences papers are published thrice yearly in the Cato Journal. The Institute also publishes the quarterly magazine Regulation and a bimonthly newsletter, Cato Policy Report. see also Foreign Policy Briefing

The Center for Defense Information

A private, nongovernmental, and “independent monitor” of the military.

Center for Economic and Policy Research

CEPR was founded in 1999 to “promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues.”

Center for International Development (Harvard University)

Policy papers, special reports, and data in the area of global political economy.

Center for International Policy

“Promoting a U.S. foreign policy based on peace, international cooperation, demilitarization and respect for basic human rights.”(from the site) Topics include Cuba, Arms Trade, and Demilitarization.

Center for Nonproliferation Studies

“The world’s largest non-governmental organization devoted to combating the spread of weapons of mass destruction.”(from the site) Resources by subject and by region.

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Topics ranging from Defense and Preventive Diplomacy to Infectious Disease.

Center for the Study of Technology and Society

A major focus of the Center is National Security.

Commonwealth Institute

A local (Cambridge) public policy research organization with current projecs in defense and military affairs.

Council on Foreign Relations

Publishes Foreign Affairs, a leading journal on global issues.

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)

A public interest research center in Washington, D.C. established to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues in the electronic age, and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values.

European Policy Centre

The EPC “plays an active role by bringing together government, business, professional regional authorities and civil society organizations to debate and influence the major policy challenges facing the European Union.”

Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

The FAS is a widely respected organization of scientists concerned with arms control issues.see also Arms Control Agreements

Foreign Policy in Focus

“A “think tank without walls” that functions as an international network of more than 650 policy analysts and advocates. Unlike traditional think tanks, FPIF is committed to advancing a citizen-based foreign policy agenda-one that is fundamentally rooted in citizen initiatives and movements.”(from the site)

Foundation for National Progress (publishes Mother Jones)

“Celebrating 25 years of raising hell” (from the site). A well-known political watchdog group.


Documents, maps, and current news on environmental topics such as toxic wastes and genetic engineering.

Henry L. Stimson Center

An independent, nonprofit, public policy institute committed to finding and promoting innovative solutions to the security challenges confronting the United States and other nations in the twenty-first century.

Heritage Foundation

Openly conservative in its views, the objective of Heritage is to present to policy-makers and opinion leaders, and especially members of Congress and their staff, factual and timely information on major issues of the day. ‘Key issues’ include matters of both domestic and foreign policy.

Hoover Institution (Stanford University)

Publishes research on political issues, foreign relations and diplomacy, economic issues, and security and defense. Publishes Essays in Public Policy

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world.

Institute for Global Communications (IGC)

Manages a number of ‘Nets’, including PeaceNet. Choose ‘search documents’ to find full-text material.

International Institute for Strategic Studies

The IISS publishes Strategic Surveys focusing on trouble spots around the world. It also issues a World Directory of Strategic Studies Centres.

International Relations and Security Network (ISN)

ISN hosts (with SIPRI) Facts on International Relations and Security Trends (FIRST), a free-of-charge database on weapons, political systems, armed forces and peace-keeping activities.

Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP)

Provides news and analysis about the contemporary Middle East. National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR)

RadioFree Europe/Radio Liberty

Supported by the U.S. Congress. The mission of RFE/RL is “to promote democratic valuesand institutions by disseminating factual information and ideas.” ‘Broadcast Services’ are listed by country; reports, overviews and maps are included.


The publications of the Rand Corporation frequently focus on national security issues of all sorts. This Web site provides a searchable index of documents produced by Rand. Includes, citations, abstracts and Rand accession numbers. Boston University currently owns aproximately 1500 of these publications.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

SIPRI was established as an international independent research institute “to conduct scientific research on questions of conflict and co-operation of importance for international peace and security, with the aim of contributing to an understanding of the conditions for peaceful solutions of international conflicts and for a stable peace.”

World Policy Institute

Examines critical world problems in the United States and abroad. Organzed by ‘research project’, such as ‘Arms Trade’. The ‘North America Project’ explores issues of democracy, human rights, and environmental quality in the context of North American economic integration.

World Resources Institute

Specializes in global environmental and development issues. Arranged by region and by topic.

Worldwatch Institute

Conducts “inter-disciplinary non-partisan research onemerging global environmental issues.”(from the site) Publishes State of the World Mugar Reference X HC59 .S785

Web Directories

(Simple alphabetical listings that provide URLs)

Of special note:

Foundation Center

Aimed at grant-seekers.

GuideStar – the Donor’s Guide to the Charitable Universe

A database of more than 700,000 U.S. nonprofit organizations. Some records provide IRS 990 forms (financial data) and key staff contacts.

NIRA’s World Directory of Think Tanks

In addition to disclosing the full-text data of the current print Directory through its website, NIRA has created links to policy research institutes worldwide. Particularly useful are indexes by country, area and acronym.

Associations Unlimited BU

Over 400,000 international, national, regional, state and local nonprofit membership organizations listed, with financial (IRS-filed) data.

Print Sources

Europa World Year Book. 1969+.

Over 1,650 organizations are profiled, including data on principal officers and publications. Mugar Reference XD 2 F59; latest at Ref Desk

Political Handbook of the World.

Covers more than 100 intergovernmental organizations, such as NATO, OPEC, and UN affiliates. Mugar Reference XJF37 .F27 *Guide to IGOs, NGOs, and the Military in Peace and Relief Operations. 2000.