Purpose – This editorial aims to provide an overview of the four papers included in this special issue. It discusses the development of voluntary disclosure research and its potential future directions. Design/methodology/approach – The editorial adopts a review approach, identifying key issues and provides a context for future research. Findings – The editorial highlights some of the difficulties with research into voluntary disclosure, calls for further reflection and suggests factors to consider in future research in this area. Originality/value – The editorial provides a review of current issues in disclosure research and reviews these papers which demonstrate a particular approach to research that is relevant to both practitioners and academics.