Five years of Contemporary Islam

I was a very young scholar, in the second year of my PhD, when I noticed how difficult it was to find an international academic journal that focused on social scientific, and multidisciplinary, approaches to contemporary Islam and Muslim lives. I then moved from reading articles to publishing them, and again, I discovered that although my first publications appeared in reputable journals, they were certainly not in those devoted to the study of contemporary Muslims. I then appreciated how important it was to have such an international forum for scholarly debate. I started to plan to found a journal.

As many may imagine, founding a journal from scratch is not an easy task and even less so for a very young academic. After my appointment at the University of Aberdeen in 2003, I started contacting both senior and junior scholars whom had researched and published on, some for an entire academic career, Muslim society, and discovered the great support that my idea had. By 2005, I started to look for potential publishers and with the support of the future Editorial Board members, I discovered that there was at least some chance that the idea could develop into something.

In 2006, I approached Springer and the adventure started. After lots of discussions, proposals written and re-written and many peer-reviews (the great majority of which turned out to be positive), Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life had a publisher and one that was ready to invest in challenging ideas, young scholars and an ambitious project. My friend, Prof. Daniel Varisco, was called to be the Co-editor and the Book Review Editor. In July 2007 the ‘inaugural issue’ went to press.

Where are we now that five volumes sit on the shelf?

Ms Willemijn Arts, Senior publishing editor of Springer, in a recent letter to the Editorial Board has highlighted:

Contemporary Islam is now a respected and established journal in its field of research.

She then provided some interesting data about our journal:

  • Contemporary Islam has an acceptance rate of about 33% (applying to original research papers, so excluding book reviews and special issue papers)
  • Contemporary Islam has a very fast “time-to-first- decision” of 53 days on average in 2010.
  • From the start the journal has maintained a very regular publication schedule of three issues per year, published in the spring, summer and fall of each calendar year. Additionally papers are published Online First on our online platform SpringerLink within 6 weeks of their acceptance, making them available and citable in less than five months after submission on average.
  • Papers published in the journal are found and read by a growing number of academics with an impressive increase of articles downloaded in the past four years (about 16,000 in 2010).
  • Authors for Contemporary Islam come from worldwide institutions, as you can see from this interactive map and it is our intention to attract authors from those regions which, for several reasons, are underrepresented.

I wish to thank my Co-Editor, Assistant Editor, the Editorial Board, and the publisher for making Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life a successful reality and for attaining such quality and readership in only five years. Yet a special thanks goes to our authors, the soul of any journal. Thank you for publishing with us.

I wish to invite scholars in various disciplines, who are researching and writing about contemporary aspects of Muslim lives, to consider this young but ambitious international journal for their publications and also to make Contemporary Islam known to their colleagues and institutions, which may join the many that now are subscribing our journal.

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