Malcolm Jones graduated from the University of Nottingham with a BA in Russian Studies in 1962 (PhD 1967). He was an assistant lecturer in Russian at the University of Sussex, where he also taught The Modern European Mind, from 1965 to 1967, returning to Nottingham as lecturer in Russian in 1967. In 1980, he was appointed to the Chair of Slavonic Studies at Nottingham, in which he remained until his retirement in 1997. He was Dean of the Faculty of Arts from 1982 to 1985 and again in 1994, Pro-Vice-Chancellor from 1987-91 and Honorary President of Convocation from 1992 to 1997. He was President of the British Universities' Association of Slavists from 1986 to 1988, a member of two national enquiries into Russian, Soviet and East European Studies in the 1980s and 1990s, President of the International Dostoevsky Society from 1995 to 1998 and was a member of a number of other influential national and international bodies in the humanities.during the last two decades of the 20th century.
His principal expertise lies in the fields of modern Russian literature and intellectual history. He is best known for his publications on the Russian novelist F. M. Dostoevsky.