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Challenges in conducting and publishing research on the Middle East and Africa in leading journals

Cristiana R. Lages (Henley Business School, University of Reading, Henley-on-Thames, UK)
Gregor Pfajfar (Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Aviv SHOHAM (Department of Business Administration, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 9 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to examine the reasons for the lack of research attention paid to the Middle East (ME) and Africa regions. In particular, this study seeks to identify the reasons for and implications of the paucity of ME- and Africa-based studies in high-quality international journals in the marketing field with a specific focus on the challenges in conducting and publishing research on these regions.


The authors conducted a systematic review of the literature on the ME and Africa regions to identify papers published in 23 high-quality marketing, international business, and advertising journals. This search resulted in 301 articles, among which 125 articles were based on primary or secondary data collected from a local source in those regions. The authors of these 125 articles constitute the Delphi study sample. These academics provided input in an effort to reach a consensus regarding the two proposed models of academic research in both regions.


This paper differs from previous studies, where academic freedom emerged as the most important inhibitor to conducting and publishing research. The most frequently mentioned challenges in conducting research in Africa were access to data, data collection issues, diversity of the region, and lack of research support infrastructure. For the ME, the most often described challenges included validity and reliability of data, language barriers, data collection issues, and availability of a network of researchers. Editors’ and reviewers’ low interest and limited knowledge were ranked high in both regions. South Africa, Israel, and Turkey emerged as outliers, in which research barriers were less challenging than in the rest of the two regions. The authors attribute this difference to the high incidence of US-trained or US-based scholars originating from these countries.


To the best of the knowledge, no marketing studies have discussed the problems of publishing in high-quality international journals of marketing, international business, and advertising for either region. Thus, most of the issues the authors discuss in this paper offer new insightful results while supplementing previous research on the challenges of conducting and publishing research on specific world regions.



The authors thank all Delphi study academic respondents. The authors also thank the editor, Amon Chizema, Saeed Samiee, Fernando Fastoso, Peter Toh, and Durham Business School academics for comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.


Lages, C.R., Pfajfar, G. and SHOHAM, A. (2015), "Challenges in conducting and publishing research on the Middle East and Africa in leading journals", International Marketing Review, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 52-77.



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