New Religious Movements came into being as a distinct field of study in Western countries in the 1970s. Despite the many specialists working in this field, no international membership association was ever formed for scholars of New Religions. So in 2009, a group of individuals associated with Finyar – a Swedish association devoted to the study of New Religions – and other academicians took the initiative to form the International Society for the Study of New Religions (ISSNR).
Modeled on Finyar, ISSNR was created as a network association for the exchange of research and academic cooperation, and also as an organization that could provide scholarly information about New Religions to the public and to government bodies.
Members of ISSNR come from different academic disciplines and take different approaches to New Religions. A shared goal is the desire to highlight the phenomenon objectively and impartially on the basis of scholarly perspectives.
ISSNR cooperates with Equinox Publishing to publish an academic journal on New Religions. ISSNR also organizes seminars and conferences, and plans to manage research projects.