The Economic Research Forum (ERF) is dedicated to building capacity in the Arab countries, Iran and Turkey to design, conduct and disseminate high-quality, economic and related research on key development issues and challenges confronting the region. As part of this effort, ERF’s Board and Management have decided to launch a scholarly journal devoted to the innovative analysis of factors constraining the region’s development and efforts to overcome them. By promoting careful analysis, original thinking and widespread debate, the Middle East Development Journal (MEDJ) aims to contribute to economic and social progress throughout the region.
The Journal’s focus flows from two fundamental principles of editorial policy:
I. Contribution to knowledge
To be published in the Journal articles must contribute to an understanding of the process of development within the region and how this can be accelerated. Submissions should therefore:
- Examine issues of particular relevance to the ERF region. Submissions can (i) address particular problems or challenges confronting the region; (ii) assess economic and social policies or programs applied within or relevant to the region; (iii) explore development within certain segments of the population or certain locations; (iv) analyze cross-country issues or country-specific issues; (v) examine the impact of external factors; (vi) conduct comparisons with other regions.
- Draw on sound economic analysis. The Journal will emphasize papers falling under the heading of ‘applied economics’. Papers in other disciplines, especially political science and sociology, will be considered on a selective basis, provided they contribute to an understanding of regional development.
- Be empirically oriented. The Journal is particularly interested in submissions that bring careful empirical analysis to bear on key issues of development in the region. Theoretical or analytical papers are also encouraged especially if they lay the foundation for future empirical work.
- Be policy relevant. The Journal hopes to provide a solid analytical and empirical base for the promotion of good policy within the region. Authors are encouraged therefore to reflect on the policy significance of their submission even if their research is not directly focused on a particular policy or program.
II. Contribution to capacity building
To be published in the Journal articles must contribute to ERF’s mission of building research capacity within the region. Submissions are expected therefore to:
- Exhibit international standards of quality. To contribute to capacity building, the Journal will place a particular emphasis on quality.
- Promote regional scholarship. The Journal seeks to support high-quality research produced within the ERF-region. To this end, it encourages submissions from authors based in the region as well as submissions authored jointly by researchers within and outside the region. Submissions authored entirely by non-regional scholars are also welcomed provided they make an especially valuable contribution to knowledge about development in the region.
- Be written in English. English is the accepted medium for economic and related research, and scholars in the ERF region should strive to make their work accessible to the global research community. Submissions written in English will also ensure that reviews can be conducted by researchers from the global research community, an important means of building capacity. On a highly selective basis, submissions written in a language other than English will be considered by the Journal. In these instances, support will be provided for translation to English so that the standard review process can be followed.
The Journal will be managed by an Editor appointed by ERF’s Managing Director. The Editor will be assisted by two Associate Editors appointed by the Editor in consultation with the Managing Director. An Editorial Board, appointed by ERF’s Director in consultation with the Editor, will be established to provide guidance to the Editor and to oversee the journal. The Editor, Associate Editors and members of the Editorial Board will be required to have:
- A strong interest in the development of the ERF region.
- A well-established reputation as a researcher with a strong publication record.
- Familiarity with current, quantitative research techniques.
Administration of the journal will be handled by ERF’s secretariat in Cairo.
- Publication: The Journal will be published twice a year, in June and December. Each issue will contain between six and eight articles. At the discretion of the Editor, guest authors will be invited to contribute articles. The Journal will also contain reviews of new books dealing with the region as well as occasional comments on current issues.
- Dissemination: The Journal will be printed in English. Articles will also be made available on-line prior to publication to ensure the speediest possible dissemination and to encourage interaction among researchers. Summaries of all articles will be made available online in Arabic and French. Articles submitted in a language other than English will be made available online in their original language.
- Review: A quality journal requires a rigorous review process. Papers submitted to the Journal will be assessed by the editorial team and authors will be informed within a month whether their paper is to be sent for review. Papers deemed suitable for proceeding to the refereeing stage will be reviewed by a minimum of two referees. Typically, one reviewer will be a researcher with excellent knowledge of the region and the other will be a researcher at the frontier of research on the submission’s topic. Most papers will be reviewed by at least one reviewer from outside the ERF region. Submissions and the review process will be conducted on line.