Quest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History is an open acces and peer reviewed journal published by the Fondazione Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea (CDEC), an institute devoted to historical research that was established in Milan in 1955. CDEC focuses its attention on the history of Italian Jews in the 20th century, the Fascist and Nazi persecutions, anti-Semitism. On these issues it leads, promotes and publishes scholarly research as well as collections of documentary sources (www.cdec.it).
The history of Italian Jewry features a number of specific traits: two thousand years of uninterrupted presence of the Jews in Rome, the historical layering of “Italian”, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, a continuous confrontation with Christianity first and the Catholic Church later, a rich production of religious art and craft which is today “dispersed” in the most important Jewish museums of the world; strong ties with Jewish groups in other Mediterranean areas and an impressive participation in public life since the second half of the 19th century and through the 20th . Moving from these and other considerations – and keeping in mind the specific nature of the CDEC as an institute of historical research - in 2008 the Institute’s Scientific Board decided to pave the way to the realization of Quest.
At the turn of the new century, some members of the CDEC’s Scientific Committee, and a number of young resea rchers cooperating with the institute, started a discussion that eventually led to the decision to establish a new academic journal – a journal devoted to the history and historiography of the Jews in modern times. Italy seemed to be lacking a public space devoted to such issues, a place where scholars could publish and discuss the results of research published either in Italy or abroad and related to Italian Jewish history or Jewish history in general. The journal would therefore provide the missing link between those interpretative paradigms and perspectives emerging out of Italian scholarship and those produced by international historiography. Quest thus wants to be an instrument of research, communication and debate, at an international level. For this reason it is entirely published in English.
Whilst every effort is made by the publisher and editorial board to see that no inaccurate or misleading data, opinions or statements appear in this journal, they wish to make it clear that the data and opinions appearing in the articles herein are the sole responsibility of the contributor concerned. Accordingly, the publisher and the editorial board accept no responsibility for the consequences of any such inaccurate or misleading data, opinions or statements.
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Quest is thus a journal devoted to historical research and historiographical debate on Jewish life and history in the period comprised between the mid-18th and the beginning of the 21st century. It wants to be inclusive of all the Jewish realities as they developed in the modern period from the ancient Mediterranean communities which emerged from the Spanish and Portuguese Diasporas to the ‘new’ Eastern and Central European Jewish experiences, up to American Jewish history and Israeli history. From a thematic perspective, Quest includes the Jewish enlightenment, the emancipation, the old “nation of the Jews” and the new “State of the Jews”, the traditional religious and the new secular identities, Jews as mi grants, inter-ethnic Jewish life and solidarity as well as relations between the Jewish group and national societies. Quest also includes research on Zionism and anti-Zionism, Shoah and its memory, Jewish modernity and modern anti-Semitism. To sum up, Quest is open to the political, cultural, religious and institution al history of Jewish communities and societies, and to Jewish means of social, political and cultural expression, to be investigated in their specificities and in their relations with their non-Jewish counterparts.
Launching a journal on the history of the Jews in the modern period does not mean that Quest subscribes to a Jewish reading of modernity, nor that it considers Jewish history to represent a separate historiographical paradigm. On the contrary, Quest intends to investigate and contribute to the scholarly debate on the ways in which Jews have contributed to modernity and, vice-versa, the ways Jewish societies and individuals were shaped by modernity.
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Quest publishes essays and articles on different issues in Jewish history, reviews of published works and debates on important contributions to scholarship. Each issue is organized into three main sections: Focus, Discussion and Reviews.
The Focus section is dedicated to a specific topic, selected and discussed by the journal’s editors. In this section, that represents the core of each issue and is edited by one or more scholars, are published several articles (5-8) which confront the chosen subject from different points of view. The articles in this section are reviewed by the editors and also undergo a blind peer review process. The second section, Discussion, is meant to provide the reader with an in-depth and multi-faceted analysis of a recently published volume that constitutes a significant scholarly achievement. Finally, Reviews hosts the discussion of various book-reviews.
Duties of the editors and policy concerning the determination to publish or to reject an article.
“Quest” is an open access peer reviewed academic journal dedicated to the history of the Jewish experience, in all its manifestations, from the XVIIIth century up until today. After close scrutiny of all materials received, it publishes only texts that fit with the scientific standards shared by the international scholarly community involved in the field of modern and contemporary Jewish History.
The journal is published by the Fondazione Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea, and is managed by a board of Editors (from national and international institutions), with a managing Editor who coordinates and guides the group. The Editors are supported in their work by an international Editorial Advisory Board.
The Editors of the journal “Quest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History” are responsible for the decision to publish articles in the journal. The Editors are bound by the provisions of the law in force regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism.
In order to determine whether an article may be published the Editors will make sure to implement a double blind peer review system, calling for the evaluation of each article by at least two external reviewers who are recognized international experts in there fields
The members of the Editorial Advisory Board may be called upon by the Editors to offer their opinion and expertise. In particular they may be asked to help in the evaluation of articles (these reviews will in all cased be addition to those given by external peer reviewers). They may also be asked to help in identifying the referees most suited for the review of a specific manuscript. They are always free to propose books for review or discussion, or to suggest themes for the monographic “Focus” section.
The Editors guarantee that all intellectual work submitted for publication will be discussed from a strictly scientific point of view, without distinction of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic origin, citizenship, scientific orientation, political or academic stance of the authors.
The Editors, the Editorial Advisory Board, as well as possible ‘guest editors’ managing specific issues are required not to disclose any information about the manuscripts sent to any person other than the authors, reviewers and potential reviewers, editorial consultants, and magazine publisher. The material contained in unpublished manuscripts submitted to the journal cannot be used by members by the Editors, the Editorial Advisory Board or the external reviewers for their research without the written consent of the author.
If the Editors finds or receives signaling a significant problem regarding errors or inaccuracies, conflict of interest or plagiarism in an article published, it shall promptly inform the author and the publisher and take the necessary steps to clarify the matter and, if necessary, withdraw the article or publish a retraction.
Duties of the peer reviewers
The peer reviewers shall assist the Editors in editorial decisions, and through the communications transmitted by the Editors, may help the author to improve his article. The selected reviewer who does not feel qualified to review a proposed text within the time required, must notify his decision to the Editors and cease to participate in the review process.
The manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They should not be shown to others or discussed with anyone not previously authorized by the Editors or the author.
The review must be conducted objectively. All critiques must be strictly confined to the scientific debate and may not be offensive. The reviewers shall express their views in a clear form, basing themselves on primary or secondary sources. In case they see it necessary, it is their role to suggest corrections to single aspects of the article, or to indicate relevant sources or bibliography that would be relevant for the article under scrutiny.
It is the duty of the peer reviewers to report to the Editors any substantial similarities or any form of open plagiarism they might recognize in the article under examination. The information or ideas obtained through the review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage.
The reviews are to be “double blind”: the author will not know who are the reviewers and these in turn will not be revealed the identity of the author. Nonetheless, if a reviewer believes he has identified an author, he must report that immediately to the Editors who will assign the article to another reviewer. In any case, if the reviewer is in any way in a position that may cause conflict of interest arising from connections with institutions or organization (political, scientific, editorial, archival etc.) which relate to the subject of the manuscript it is their duty to report that to the Editors which will send the article to be reviewed by someone else.
Duties of the authors
Authors must ensure that their work is original and, if they use the work and the words of others that credit is given and that the other authors are mentioned explicitly. The authors are required to cite all publications that have had influence of determining the nature of the proposed work. Authors must submit original scientific papers, based on original information gathered carefully through a rigorous scientific investigation. The manuscripts submitted must at all times attest a full knowledge of relevant primary sources and of the relative scientific literature to date.
Inaccurate or fraudulent statements made voluntarily constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable.
Personal attacks or any forms of injurious criticism to other scholars will not be accepted. Authors must not criticize other authors for non-scientific reasons and for reasons concerning religious, political, ethnic, racial, gender or sexual orientation.
Manuscripts submitted to the journal must not have been published as copyrighted material in other publications. The manuscripts under review by Quest should not be submitted at the same time to other journals.
By submitting a manuscript, the author or authors agree that, once accepted, their work will be published under a creative commons license. The authors remain the sole owners of the publishing rights.
The maternity or paternity of a manuscript is limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution or interpretation of the study. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-author. Authors must ensure that all of its co-authors are included in the typescript, who have seen and approved the version submitted and that they agree on the submission for publication.
Authors should indicate clearly in the manuscript any financial conflicts or other types of conflict of interest that may influence the results or interpretation of the proposed. All sources of financial support for the project should be indicated. Where an author finds significant errors or inaccuracies in the published manuscript, it is his duty to promptly notify the Editors of the journal or publisher and cooperate with them in order to retract or correct the manuscript.
The exposure of any personal information concerning covered by current Italian laws concerning privacy must be omitted unless there is the written consent of the persons involved or of his legal representatives. This applies also to any reference made to single individuals who were interviewed in the course of ethnographic or oral history surveys.
Conflict of interest
A conflict of interest may exist when an author (or the institution to which he or she belongs), an external reviewer, one of the Editors or a member of Editorial Advisory Board have financial or personal relationships that could inappropriately influence their behavior. This conflict may exist even if the subject believes in good faith that he is not influenced by such connections. It is up to the Editors to manage such conflicts, attempting in all possible ways to avoid them.
As a general rule, to avoid possible conflicts of interest, the policy of “Quest” will be to avoid book reviews or discussions of publications written or edited by any of the Editors and their first relatives, or published in a series in which any of the Editors have an exclusive role.
La sezione italiana di Quest sarà online entro breve!
The italian section of Quest will be soon online!