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1The world of scientific publications is encountering rapid change. Among the great multitude of journals that are published in all disciplines, some have undeniably become a means to earn money for some unscrupulous publishers. Requesting payment from readers for access, or from writers who wish to see their publications accessible for free to others are standards that are fast spreading, yet they are dysfunctional, if not scandalous and certainly are never to the advantage of those who produce knowledge. The principle of “gold open access” that leads writers who have carried out the research to pay large amounts of money, often thousands of Euros, just to see their work published and accessible is absurd. Similarly, the ranking of journals by companies linked to multinationals that request payment to appear in their rankings from those who, often on a volunteer basis, carry out the editorial work is part of an economy that is merely shocking. Universities across the globe, including in the Arabian Peninsula, are indirectly encouraging such a system by requesting that their academics preferably, if not exclusively, publish in journals which are listed in such rankings. One must understand that these have little to do with quality and can easily be cheated through investment and a variety of techniques. Rankings are thus only one indicator and come at a price that many cannot afford or are refusing on principle.

2From the outset, Arabian Humanities has rejected such a senseless system. It has willingly decided that online open‑access was the future of science. As a recent study carried out by the GIS Moyen‑Orient et Mondes musulmans entitled Towards an Open Science? is suggesting, the possibility of sharing results with the wider public, in particular through the use of multiple languages, should be seen as a priority for social sciences across the Arab world. Fortunately, Arabian Humanities is part of the OpenEdition platform of journals which, for a decade now, has been at the avant‑garde of open science. We have also improved our capacity to publish in Arabic and the systematic translation of our abstracts into that language is an improvement of which we are proud. It is made possible through the participation of our journal in a project that involves several institutions at the global level and is coordinated by the French Centre for Oriental Archaeology in Cairo (IFAO). The CNRS is also supporting journals like ours through the establishment of its own rankings, free of charge and through the benevolent and wise involvement of peers rather than businesspeople.

3And yet money is also needed to cater for translations and editing. The scientific community in France has become increasingly worried about the devastating effect of neoliberal policies on journals. As a result, many journals joined a massive strike to proclaim their attachment to public university and science and opposition to political options which are, everywhere, harming science.

4Building on such principles, Arabian Humanities intends to continue making worthy scientific contributions to our understanding of the history and dynamics of the Arabian Peninsula. It is through the generous involvement of our editorial board as well as that of the supervisors of our successive special issues that our journal intends to continue making a reputation for itself, bringing authors who are ready to see their analysis be made accessible to all, free of charge and yet without making concessions when it comes to scientific standards.

5In a way, this issue on the history of education, edited by Juliette Honvault and Talal Al‑Rashoud, shows that it has been an ideological and political battleground for a very long time in the Arabian Peninsula. The current debate over open science is thus a mere illustration of how dynamics often resonate through time.

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Laurent Bonnefoy et Abbès Zouache, « Editorial », Arabian Humanities [En ligne], 12 | 2019, mis en ligne le 13 mars 2020, consulté le 01 décembre 2023. URL : ; DOI :

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Laurent Bonnefoy


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Abbès Zouache

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