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De Gruyter’s Publication in Historical Philosophy Wins Sheikh Zayed Book Translation Award

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Estatua de Averroes | © Javier Mascaro.

As De Gruyter felicitates Ziad Bou Akl who, as one of its authors, won the Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Translation, this also highlights academic publication funding initiatives in the UAE.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.

On March 31, 2017, De Gruyter has formally congratulated Ziad Bou Akl on the award his French-language annotated translation of Ibn Rushd’s Short Commentary on al-Ghazali’s legal exegesis al-Mustasfa min ‘ilm al-usul entited Averroès: le philosophe et la Loi. This occasion illustrates the efforts of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to promote output in sciences, arts and letters in the Arab world and beyond. Indeed, as this year’s winner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Translation, Ziad Bou Akl is a francophone philosophy researcher who moved from Beirut, Lebanon, to Paris, France, in 2003, to pursue his studies in Historical and Philological Sciences at the Institut d’études politiques de Paris, Sciences-Po, and the École Pratique des Hautes Études.

Currently occupying a research fellow position at the Centre Jean Pépin of the National Centre of Scientific Research at the École Normale Supérieure, Ziad Bou Akl has published the prize-winning book exploring Quranic terms of reference and commenting on the jurisprudence implications of Ibn Rushd’s work in 2015. While this work  promotes the dialogue between Arabic and European cultures, it also straddles different publication models, since in the e-book format it can be acquired not only individually, but equally as part of De Gruyter’s hybrid access models. In the latter case, other than being published in the Scientia Graeco-Arabica series, it is also available as part of the online access packages to De Gruyter’s collections in medieval philosophy.

While this does not amount to open access, for academic institutions purchasing rights to online access to academic publication collections targeted at particular scholarly fields could be of significantly greater interest, than making book acquisitions separately, especially as university and library budgets become increasingly strained by academic database access fees. Moreover, De Gruyter’s collection bundle and open access models can  complement each other, while ensuring the uniform academic quality of its publications. Likewise, the UAE seeks to increase its regional and international profile in the academia and the arts not only through richly endowed prizes for scholarly and literary excellence. The UAE is also among the leaders in the promotion of open access academic journals, electronic library initiatives, such as through the support of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, and the dissemination of knowledge via online electronic databases of academic works.

While these UAE’s open access initiatives may continue to be in their nascent stages, European publishers, such as De Gruyter and OpenEdition, seem to be already actively contributing to developing academic access solutions spanning both paywall-protected and open access options in a variety of formats and fields.


By Pablo Markin.

Featured image credits: Estatua de Averroes | © Javier Mascaro.

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