The Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS) opened its doors in 2007. In the following years seven departments were staffed with professors, assistant professors, and doctoral research fellows from various disciplinary perspectives to work on a wide spectrum of topics on North Africa and West Asia (Middle East).
As a 'young' institute, we – assistant professors and doctoral research fellows – felt the need to create a platform through which the disciplinary perspectives on culture, history, politics, economics, and society, as well as literature and language currently present at the CNMS, could be fruitfully combined and translated to a wider audience. We also felt inspired to create a forum to interact not only with authors and audiences in the MENA region, but with an international community of scholars engaged in the idea of open science. In 2012 the idea of Middle East – Topics & Arguments (META) was born, and just a year later our first issue on "The Intellectual" was published Open Access through the Open Journal System (OJS).
In terms of its objective, META takes up a fundamental challenge posed in area studies, which is to not only gather but combine specialist disciplines on an interdisciplinary level. META meets this requirement by exploring concepts through journal-based thematic focal points. In doing so, META moves away from a static understanding of concepts, seeing them instead as both versatile instruments of analysis as well as objects of study themselves. This approach is to facilitate interdisciplinary debates on the basis of a common language with respect to a shared terminology. The journal's interdisciplinary nature follows a dual purpose: firstly, it stimulates discussion between the social sciences and humanities within the field of area studies, while secondly relating area studies to the systematic disciplines. In this way, local and regional academic discourses are integrated into a global framework, allowing for comparability beyond the confines of the region.
META's geographical focus is the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). The journal is concerned with the states of Northern Africa and West Asia, but recognizes that regions are dynamic, socially produced spaces exposed to globalization – not finalized, self-enclosed entities. META is committed to providing open access to knowledge, to facilitate exchange within the international academic community and to actively contribute to the interregional transfer of knowledge. Both shall promote and advance a cooperative 'researching with', replacing obsolete models of 'researching on' that tend to further exceptionalist and culturalistic discourses on the MENA region.
We are deeply engaged in finding new ways of opening up the process of knowledge production and publishing. We are also strongly driven by the idea that access to knowledge and the knowledge network should not be based on institutional affiliation. This is why META provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Hence, there are no submission or author processing charges.
To support exchange within the field of area studies and between disciplinary perspectives and traditions, open access is not enough. It requires "active translation work" as Cilja Harders (FU Berlin) mentions in her speech on the occasion of META's first anniversary. META's editorial team is working on various projects to actively support this kind of translation on different levels: from opening up knowledge production through open review procedures and organizing network workshops with scholars and open access initiatives in the MENA region, to offering translation and/or publication of non-English articles, as well as securing the financial basis of META while staying free of any subscription costs.
META invites submissions on topics for full issues by at least two issue editors. Based on a draft call for proposals, the editorial board decides whether the call fits the overall format of the journal. Instead of calling for full papers, META calls for abstracts. This procedure has proven meaningful as issue editors and authors engage in the idea behind a submission before the full article is developed. META issues are released biannually in spring (April/May) and autumn (October/November) respectively, totaling between ten and twenty articles per year. Calls for abstracts are announced accordingly twelve months before each issue. After submission of full articles to our journal management system, authors are able to track their progress through the entire editorial process.
META provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.
The practice of peer review is essential for ensuring academic quality in scholarly publishing. Our referees play a vital role in maintaining a high standard. All manuscripts published with META journal are peer reviewed. Referees can view the guidelines on which their review should be based, here. The process is open by choice; author(s) and reviewers choose whether to reveal their own names.
Focus articles submitted to META journal will be subject to review by two qualified peer reviewers. Articles in the sections "Anti-Thesis" and "Close Up" will be subject to review by one qualified peer reviewer. Authors will receive these reviews (evaluations: accept, revisions required, reject). After positive assessment of the revised version, articles will undergo copy editing and preparation for publication through our issue editors. Authors will receive a finalized file of their contribution for approval before publication. Referees advise the issue editors, who are responsible for the final decision to accept or reject the article.
Off-Topic articles submitted to META journal will be subject to review by two qualified peer reviewers. Authors will receive these reviews (evaluations: accept, revisions required, reject). After positive assessment of the revised version, articles will undergo copy editing and preparation for publication through our off-topic section editors. Authors will receive a finalized file of their contribution for approval before publication. Referees advise the off topic section editors, who are responsible for the final decision to accept or reject the article.
Reviews will be assessed and edited by our book review section editors. Authors will receive a finalized version of their book review for approval before publication.
Interviews submitted to META journal will be assessed and edited by our issue editors. Authors/interviewees will receive a finalized version of the interview for approval before publication.
For a detailed description of our section policies, please read the information below.
At the heart of each META issue lies a key concept. Building on this, the journal features conceptual and empirical research articles, interviews, and portraits from various disciplinary perspectives. Articles are concise and focus on strong arguments to stimulate fresh and controversial thinking. A special section is devoted to the discussion of arguments and points of contention.
The editorial section provides an introduction to the issue's main lines of argument and is written by the issue editors.
The majority of articles are published in the "Focus" section. These are often empirical in nature and allow for different perspectives on the main concept from a range of disciplines. Articles in this section are typically 18,000 to 30,000 characters long (including spaces, approx. 2,800 to 4,600 words), plus abstract (max. 100 words), key words (4 to 6), references, notes, and bio statement (50 to 100 words).
The "Meta" article discusses the key concept on a theoretical basis. The "Meta" article may move beyond the Middle East, i.e. weaving empirical problems and findings from other world regions into a Middle Eastern context. Articles in this section are typically 18,000 to 30,000 characters long (including spaces, approx. 2,800 to 4,600 words), plus abstract (max. 100 words), key words (4 to 6), references, notes, and bio statement (50 to 100 words).
This section portrays a person, institution, or object that has, in one way or another, contributed constitutively to the issue's key concept. Articles in this section are typically 10,000 to 20,000 characters long (including spaces, approx. 1,500 to 3,000 words), plus abstract (max. 100 words), key words (4 to 6), references, notes, and bio statement (50 to 100 words).
The "Anti/Thesis" section juxtaposes two rivaling positions that highlight different lines of argument and/or competing narratives. These can be presented by more than one author. Each paper in this section is typically 10,000 to 20,000 characters long (including spaces, approx. 1,500 to 3,000 words), plus key words (4 to 6), references, notes, and bio statement (50 to 100 words).
Contributions to the key concept can also be submitted in the form of an interview. Contributions in this section range from 10,000 to 20,000 characters long (including spaces, approx. 1,500 to 3,000 words), plus abstract (max. 100 words), key words (4 to 6), references, notes, and bio statement (50 to 100 words).
META also features articles that go beyond the issue's main topic. "Off-Topic" thus provide space for analyses of up-to-date issues, or the discussion of recent research results that do not necessarily blend in with the issue's focus. Articles in this section are typically 18,000 to 30,000 characters long (including spaces, approx. 2,800 to 4,600 words), plus abstract (max. 100 words), key words (4 to 6), references, notes, and bio statement.
Editors: Ines Braune, Georg Leube
The META Review section aims to publish reviews of scholarly publications, academic events, and audio-visual productions from and about the Middle East and North Africa. We therefore welcome reviews on work that has been published in languages other than English, German, or French. Review articles are typically 10,000 to 20,000 characters long (including spaces, approx. 1,500 to 3,000 words) plus references, notes, and bio statement (50 to 100 words).
Editors: Christian Junge, Georg Leube
Every article is equipped with a digital object identifier (DOI) and respective metadata which ensure high visibility in the digital network. META is part of the Directory of Open Access Journals, which indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. Moreover, all articles are indexed in BASE and Google Scholar. We are continuously working on further indexing META in different repositories and registration agencies. We also encourage authors to upload their articles to different sites. Please contact the editorial team for guidance.
Copies of all articles are automatically available in an institutional publication server upon publication. The German National Library (Deutsche National Bibliothek) guarantees long-term digital archiving. The library's preservation service AREDO has been certified as a trusted repository as defined in the Data Seal of Approval Guidelines.
META operates through an online system for the submission and review of manuscripts. Please submit all contributions online. Before sending in your contribution, please ensure that the following guidelines for submissions have been followed. Doing so helps us reduce workloads and turnaround periods for your contribution.
There are no submission or author processing charges.
META's style sheet follows the guidelines of MLA style (3rd edition, 2008) with certain modifications.
Note for contributors and style guide
META follows IJMES Transliteration System for Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, and Modern Turkish. For Persian, the transliteration is in reference to Iranian Studies.
Arabic script transliteration system
Except where otherwise noted, all content on the META website and its metadata are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (human-readable summary).
Authors who submit an article to META allow the journal upon successful peer-review to publish it under a CC-BY license. This means authors hold the copyright and retain publishing rights without restrictions. Authors grant the journal the right of first publication while others are allowed to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in META journal. Generally, submission to META journal represents original work. Reprints of contributions already published elsewhere may be accepted if it is a translated work from non-English languages, in particular Arabic, Turkish, and Persian. However, in case the submitting person is not the copyright owner it must be assured that the copyright owner allows the reprint. Reprints will be published by META with reference to the place of first publication. In general, it is the responsibility of the author to obtain permission to use any previously published and/or copyrighted material. For further questions, feel free to contact the editorial team.
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This journal’s editorial team uses this data to guide its work in publishing and improving this journal. Data that will assist in developing this publishing platform may be shared with its developer Public Knowledge Project in an anonymized and aggregated form, with appropriate exceptions such as article metrics. The data will not be sold by this journal or PKP, nor will it be used for purposes other than those stated here. The authors published in this journal are responsible for the human subject data that figures in the research reported here.
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In July 2014, Cilja Harders honored META in her speech on the occasions of META's first anniversary and the launch of issue #2. The speech was delivered at a celebration with the editorial board, members of the advisory board, authors, and friends of META.
The full speech by Cilja Harders (Translated from German)
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