MESA - Middle East Studies Association

Statement on Conflict of Interest

It is the policy of the Middle East Studies Association and its various boards and committees to insure that members in all of its activities avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest resulting from their activities as members of committees or boards of the association. In particular, no persons should obtain or appear to obtain special advantages for themselves, their relatives, or their close associates as a result of their services on a board or committee. The implications in practice for this policy vary from activity to activity and this general policy should not limit the cooperation and mutual assistance that is necessary for the effective functioning of a community of scholars like the Middle East Studies Association.

Conflict of Interest Guidelines for Award Committees

The Middle East Studies Association grants a number of awards and it is very important that conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest be avoided in the process of determining who should receive the awards.

For the dissertation award committees, the following guidelines should be adhered to:

  1. Persons who have served as a dissertation advisor or dissertation committee member should not make evaluations of such dissertations for committee consideration. 
  2. Persons should also abstain from evaluation of a submitted dissertation if they are a relative of, spouse of, or have a significant personal relationship with the author of the dissertation. 
  3. It is necessary for persons to abstain from evaluation of the dissertation if they are from the author's institution. 
  4. It is not appropriate for members of the award committee, for their own personal purposes, to make specific use of or publicize any confidential information which may have been learned through service on the committee. It is also not appropriate for members of award committees to utilize or present the results of scholarly research which they may have learned through service on the committee without the necessary attributions and permissions. This is, however, to be distinguished from the entirely appropriate benefit obtained by committee members who become better acquainted with the state of current scholarship in Middle Eastern Studies.

For the book award committee, the following guidelines should be adhered to:

  1. Persons knowing that a book of which they are the author will be submitted for consideration should withdraw from the award committee. 
  2. Persons who have served as the primary advisor or a dissertation committee member for a dissertation which is being submitted, either in original or revised form, as a book for the competition should withdraw from consideration of that particular case. 
  3. Persons should withdraw from the committee if they are a relative of, spouse of, or have a significant personal relationship with the author of any submitted book. 
  4. Persons who are from the same academic institution or corporation as the author of a submitted book should abstain from providing evaluations of that book as committee members.
  5. It is not necessary for persons to withdraw from the committee or abstain from evaluating a book if they have undertaken a manuscript review for a publisher or have reviewed the book elsewhere, but a person who served as a series editor in which a submitted book has appeared should abstain from evaluating that book.
  6. It is not appropriate for members of award committees, for their own personal purposes, to make specific use of or publicize any confidential information which may have been learned through service on the committee. It is also not appropriate for members of award committees to utilize or present the results of scholarly research which they may have learned through service on the committee without the necessary attributions and permissions. This is, however, to be distinguished from the entirely appropriate benefit obtained by committee members who become better acquainted with the state of current scholarship in Middle Eastern Studies.

Approved by MESA's Board of Directors, Fall 1992 Board Meeting. Amended and approved by MESA’s Board of Directors, Fall 1999. 



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