How to access relevant migration outputs

Google Scholar (and also general Google) is the primary search engine used to identify migration research and analysis, although it will identify both materials that are freely available open access as well as materials that are behind paywalls (e.g. scientific journal articles). Information on open access directories is in the text box below. Changes in the publishing industry over time mean that Google Scholar is more likely now - compared to previous years - to list materials that are available online for free, and it is increasingly becoming a key search engine for identifying relevant evidence for policy processes.

Goggle Scholar provides basic information on published materials that best match the search term, including the title, author(s), year of publication, publisher, number of citations and weblink - as can be seen in the example below on "child migration". Two lines of relevant text from the output is also provided to highlight the relevance of the content.

There is also a wealth of information, research and analysis on IOM's Publications Platform, particularly on subregions of the world that have traditionally been under-researched. The Publications Platform contains IOM publications in a total of 38 languages (including the three official languages of English, French and Spanish).

The Publications Platform was launched in 2021 (replacing the IOM online Bookstore), and now features redesigned search functionality, making it easier to locate the material you need. The Platform contains almost 3,000 publications, with new titles added regularly. 

Open access research directories


What to trust and what to discard?

To ensure the evidence used is of high quality, it is necessary to establish how credible the research and analysis is. There are several techniques to determine whether a piece of research is credible. Reputation, ranking, reviews, and number of citations are some basic indicators. Academic research is deemed credible if it is subject to peer review, published in credible academic journals and cites relevant literature. Peer review cannot guarantee credibility but can give an indication. For other types of research and analysis, credibility is judged on a case-by-case basis. Some simple questions to help determine the credibility of a source can be asked.

Assessing the credibility of outputs you access

When considering the credibility of migration knowledge products, it can be useful to consider the following:

  • Who is the author and who is the publisher of the output? Is the author a published expert on the topic, and is the publisher well established?
  • Is the website where the research and analysis is made available credible?
  • Was the output peer reviewed? Are the research and data on which it relies properly cited?
  • How were the data about migrants collected? Did the author/publisher have access to reliable information?
  • What is the date of the data used (or last revised)?
  • Could funding have biased the analysis?
  • What are the potential perceptions of migration (or political orientations) underpinning the outputs?

Determining the answers to these key questions can assist in determining whether the migration knowledge products are credible and able to be trusted, and therefore used in policy-related work.  For statistical data, it is also important to note that what may first appear to be inconsistencies in numbers, can often be explained through differences in dates (reported/collected), differences in definitions (e.g. conceptual/legal concepts) and/or differences in scope (e.g. geographic, thematic, time periods, etc).


How to reference sources

There are conventions related to how to references sources used when gather evidence, particularly in academic publishing (see, for example, However, the key principle is to ensure that referencing is clear and consistent, and that it enables a reader to quickly find the relevant published output, as well as the part of the published output used.