The Newsletter 97 Spring 2024

Communicating Beyond Borders: IIAS’ Global Network Visualised

Thomas Voorter

For an internationally operating network organisation and knowledge broker like IIAS, it is essential to monitor the effectiveness of its operations and to understand the interests and geographical distribution of its audiences. Despite frequent face-to-face engagements at conferences and other international gatherings, insights from our mailing list subscribers and online metrics offer a comprehensive understanding of our readers' and followers' origins and their areas of interest. In this article, we reflect on IIAS’ communication evolution, spanning from the days of print media to the contemporary digital landscape. It’s important to note that all the statistical information presented here is entirely anonymous, with no links or traces leading back to specific individuals.

Database and Mailing List 

Since its inception in 1993, IIAS has been gathering information about individuals and organisations engaged in the field of Asian Studies, with the objective of updating colleagues worldwide about the latest developments. During the period before the widespread use of the internet, we distributed physical subscription forms to fulfill this goal. In more recent years, our mailing list became fully digitized and has grown to about 22,000 subscribers [Fig. 1]. We continue to distribute paper copies of The Newsletter at no cost to our readers around the world [Fig. 2].  

Impact of our mailings

The COVID-19 pandemic has confined many of us to our homes for a couple of years. This circumstance led to an unparalleled adoption and utilisation of video conferencing software. Our traditional in-person gatherings evolved into webinars, enabling a worldwide audience to engage. The recordings of these webinars are accessible for viewing on our YouTube channel.

An recent invitation for the Humanities Across Borders webinar – Academic Ontologies: Storytelling as Research Strategy – was dispatched to the mailing list on June 25, 2023. A total of 273 individuals registered to participate in this event [Fig. 3].

Evolution of IIAS’ Website ( | 

 In January 1995, merely two years after its establishment, IIAS launched its first website. In its early phase, the website served as a central repository for all things related to Asian Studies available across the internet. Branded as the "Gateway to Asian Studies," it provided the public with an extensive repository of online resources. As time progressed, more editions of the IIAS Newsletter were released, and information increased about the institute and its various activities such as conferences, research initiatives, fellowships, publications, and more. This expansion of content prompted shifts in both the design and the underlying technologies of IIAS' website.


Figure 5 shows the distribution of our total website visitors between 27 July 2007 – 29 June 2023. Figure 6 illustrates the number of visitors from 27 July 2007 to 29 June 2023, along with their engagement on our webpages, represented as "page views" (total pages viewed by a visitor) and "sessions" (a series of interactions within a specific timeframe). A visitor can explore multiple pages within a single session, and each of these page views contributes to the overall count for that particular session.


The Socials 

 In 2010, IIAS embraced the rise of social media by establishing a presence on Facebook and Twitter, followed shortly by a LinkedIn account in 2011. Subsequently, in 2018, our social media outreach extended to Instagram. Through these platforms, the institute is able to disseminate research highlights, share pertinent news and updates, and raise awareness about forthcoming events to a wider audience. Social media has evolved into an essential tool for connecting with scholars, students, policymakers, journalists, and members of the general public who harbor an interest in Asian Studies. As of 1 December 2023, we are delighted to be in contact with 19,000 friends on Facebook, 7250 on LinkedIn, 6300 on Twitter, and 1200 on Instagram [Fig. 6].


The majority of our Facebook followers live in Indonesia, although generally, Twitter holds greater significance in the Global South. When considering the collective count of social media followers, subscribers to our mailing list, visitors to our website, and the intensity of interactions, it is evident that a substantial portion of our audience is located in India.


Thomas Voorter, Communications Coordinator and Web Manager at IIAS. Email: