Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Egyptological Open Access Journals

Introduction and our approach

Hi folks! We hope you had a nice Easter. We are back with the letter O of our name ORAEC. The O stands for Open. We believe that open access to data is an essential building block for modern science. When data is freely available, it can be easily reused and advance science. That is why we have made our data - our recommendations, our corpus data, our evaluations - freely available. What does it look like when you want to publish an Egyptological paper freely? This is the topic of today’s blog.

Scientific knowledge is published in scientific journals. Open access journals have also been around for a quarter of a century. This means that the articles published there are freely available. If you want to read them, you don’t have to pay for them. This last sentence is our very simplified but pragmatic definition of OA. But be careful! By “you don’t have to pay for it” we mean not only the reader, but also the institution to which the reader belongs. Many journals that have an online edition are not free. If you want to read an article in ZÄS, either you or your institution will have to pay. Many Egyptologists are institutionally affiliated, so it is often difficult for them to recognize whether something is open access or not. This is because they cannot directly see whether their institution subscribes to a journal and therefore whether an article is clickable. Many Egyptologists, on the other hand, are not tied to an institution. They do not have direct access to JEA or other paid journals. But if you want to make sure you reach this audience, publish open access. Studies have shown that articles published in OA journals are cited more often than those published in paywalled journals.

There are several types of Open Access. You can publish directly in an OA journal. This is called Golden Open Access. Or you can publish in a paywalled journal and later upload your article to a free repository. This is called Green Open Access. You need to be careful with the second option. This is because some journals specify a period of time during which the article must not be uploaded. Also, some journals require that you transfer the rights to your article to the journal. In this respect, Golden Open Access is preferable.

Okay, so we want to publish open access. But what journals accept Egyptology articles? Most of the well-known and venerable journals are pay-per-view. A notable exception is BIFAO. The articles published there are OA and licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. But this journal is not the only one. There are directories that can help with your search. The first is DOAJ, the Directory of Open Access Journals. The excellent blog AWOL also provides a good overview of OA journals on the ancient world: The long list there also includes journals from other disciplines (Classics, Assyriology), so you will have to do some digging.

We have therefore decided to provide a list of journals that may contain Egyptological articles. This includes truly Egyptological journals such as Trabajos de Egiptología. Papers on Ancient Egypt, but also journals with a broader focus such as Vicino Oriente. You will find this list at the end of our blog. It includes 28 journals, from AAS to VO. Have fun browsing! Surely we have forgotten something. Let us know if something is missing.

We could have included many aspects in this list that might make it easier to decide, which journal to publish in, e.g.: Is there peer review? What languages do they publish in? Do authors have to pay a fee? How is the article licensed? We have dispensed with this. A completely different criterion is important to us: Does the transliteration use Unicode or not? Last year we looked at the fonts used in Egyptology. About 70 percent use a non-Unicode font, which surprised us. This means that 70 percent of Egyptologists are producing data that is not sustainable. Our conclusion then was:

Most Egyptologists today still use the proven non-Unicode fonts. If you want to ensure the interchangeability of Egyptological data, you cannot currently rely on the end user. Instead, publishers and digital services must convert the data created by Egyptologists into sustainable Unicode data. Sobering, but that’s the reality! (

In an earlier blog, we cited the guidelines of traditional Egyptology journals that rely on non-Unicode fonts. Our hope was that open access journals would represent digital progress and naturally use Unicode transliteration. That hope was misplaced. Several guidelines require non-Unicode fonts:

Transliterated text should use the transliteration font supplied by the Centre for Computer-aided Egyptological Research. (


For transliteration, please use the Translit font. (


For the transliteration of Egyptian, Trlit_CG Times shall be used, downloadable at Please do not use the fonts TTF Transliteration or TTF Umschrift_TTn. (


Transliteration of Ancient Egyptian texts should be provided using the CCER font, available from: (

In the associated journals, you can find articles that offer transliteration in a non-Unicode font. Many journals whose guidelines do not comment on transliteration also offer transliteration in a non-Unicode font, such as JES or Sudan & Nubia.

The above mentioned journal BIFAO has a different problem. The publishing institution, the IFAO, has detailed guidelines ( on how to display non-Latin characters. Unfortunately, the IFAO uses a Middle English ȝ instead of the correct ꜣ. This means that the transliteration is not displayed correctly in IFAO publications either, because it is not based on current standards. However, the incorrect guidelines of the IFAO - in the area of ꜣ and ꜥ - are widespread and therefore very influential. Almost all francophone Egyptology follows these guidelines. This is why the open access journals BSÉG, ENiM and NeHeT have the wrong ꜣ.

If you want to publish your articles both freely, i.e. Open Access, and sustainably, i.e. with the correct Unicode, only a subset of the 28 journals is recommended:


Hieroglyphs. Studies in Ancient Hieroglyphic Writing

This journal, founded in 2023, explicitly writes in its guidelines:

For transcription of Egyptian, please use the Unicode standard (

The published articles are also based on this! Hurray! So: direct recommendation! But please be careful; this magazine has a special subject area, cf:

Hieroglyphs is an internationally peer-reviewed open access e-journal aiming to promote the academic study of hieroglyphs in all their dimensions in Egyptology and with a comparative angle extending to other hieroglyphic traditions and writing systems with a strongly iconic component. The journal provides a dedicated home for studies of hieroglyphs in all their semiotic, linguistic, cognitive, aesthetic, cultural, and material aspects. (

Interdisciplinary Egyptology

This magazine is also quite new. The first issue was published in the year 2022. There was a small error in the guidelines: After the heading “Transliteration Script”, the paragraph belonging to “Hieroglyph script” is erroneously repeated. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that correct Unicode is required in transliteration, since the guidelines state šꜢ.w, which therefore uses the correct š and Ꜣ. Although this assumption cannot be verified in the articles published so far, because no Ꜣ has been used yet, in our opinion this journal is still one of the journals worth recommending.

Aula Orientalis

This journal does not deal with the topic of Egyptological transliteration. There are articles with correct Unicode as well as articles with non-Unicode fonts. It is therefore possible that this journal will accept articles with correct Unicode.

Birmingham Egyptology Journal

This journal explicitly writes in the guidelines:

Transliterated text should use the transliteration font supplied by the Centre for Computer-aided Egyptological Research. (

It therefore refers to a non-Unicode font. However, the first article in the current issue uses correct Unicode. In this respect, it is also possible that correct Unicode will be accepted here.

The other journals

Guys, don’t get us wrong! We are not discouraging you from publishing in the other journals. It just means more work for you. You will have to make it clear to the editors that your article needs correct Unicode. This is all possible, of course, but the journals recommended above offer the easy way without any additional persuasion. So, however you do it, take advantage of Open Access! Then people will read you! And make sure you use correct Unicode!


Journal Full title Guidelines Transliteration Unicode Examples
AAS Asian and African Studies - non-Unicode;
Aegyptiaca Aegyptiaca. Journal of the History of Reception of Ancient Egypt - - -
AuOr Aula Orientalis - non-Unicode & Unicode;
BABELAO Bulletin de l’Académie Belge pour l’Etude des Langues Anciennes et Orientales - non-Unicode;
BAEDE Boletín de la Asociación Española de Egiptología “The transliteration of Egyptian texts will be carried out in accordance with currently accepted academic standard systems.” non-Unicode;
BEJ Birmingham Egyptology Journal “Transliterated text should use the transliteration font supplied by the Centre for Computer-aided Egyptological Research.” Unicode & non-Unicode;
BIFAO Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale “L’IFAO recommande l’emploi du codage Unicode (version 4.1 et 5) pour les caractères de translittération.” Unicode (wrong ꜣ);
BSÉG Bulletin de la Société d’égyptologie, Genève - Unicode (wrong ꜣ);
Dotawo Dotawo. A Journal of Nubian Studies - Unicode (wrong ꜣ, uses 3) & non-Unicode;
ENiM Égypte nilotique et méditerranéenne “L’utilisation des polices Unicode pour la translittération est recommandée (Plus d’information sur l’Unicode et outils proposés par l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale), les autres polices de translittération sont toutefois acceptées.” Unicode (wrong ꜣ);
Enki & Ptah Enki & Ptah. Journal of Technology and Trade in Ancient Egypt and Western Asia - - -
EtudTrav Études et Travaux - non-Unicode;
Hieroglyphs Hieroglyphs. Studies in Ancient Hieroglyphic Writing “For transcription of Egyptian, please use the Unicode standard” Unicode;
IJASWA International Journal of Advanced Studies in World Archaeology - non-Unicode;
IntEg Interdisciplinary Egyptology The Section “Transliteration Script” lists a wrong paragraph! “For šꜢ.w, ‘destiny, fate’ (Wb. IV 403.11-404.11).” Unicode
IWNW Journal of the Faculty of Archaeology - non-Unicode;
JAT-MUST Journal of Archaeology and Tourism. Faculty of Archaeology and Tourism Guidance, Misr University for Science and Technology - non-Unicode
JES The Journal of Egyptological Studies - non-Unicode;
JGUAA2 Journal of the General Union of Arab Archaeologists “For more information :” non-Unicode;
NeHeT NeHeT. Revue numérique d’Égyptologie - Unicode (wrong ꜣ);
PES Prague Egyptological Studies “For transliteration, please use the Translit font.” non-Unicode;
REACH Research in Egyptian Archaeology & Cultural Heritage - - -
RiME Rivista del Museo Egizio “For the transliteration of Egyptian, Trlit_CG Times shall be used, downloadable at Please do not use the fonts TTF Transliteration or TTF Umschrift_TTn.” non-Unicode;
RISE Ricerche Italiane e Scavi in Egitto ? - non-Unicode;
SDH Studies in Digital Heritage - non-Unicode
Sudan & Nubia Sudan & Nubia - non-Unicode;
TdE Trabajos de Egiptología. Papers on Ancient Egypt “Transliteration of Ancient Egyptian texts should be provided using the CCER font, available from:” non-Unicode;
VO Vicino Oriente - Unicode (wrong ꜣ);

This work is marked with CC0 1.0 Universal


No comments:

Post a Comment