We are excited and slightly disappointed to finally see the publication of a themed section on action research in the MENA region in this journal. Excited because the quality of the four papers demonstrates the powerful effect that action research can have on the transformation of teaching and learning practice. Slightly disappointed as we were initially so hopeful that we would have had far more articles to select from when we launched the Call for Papers and received so many expressions of interest. That flood of interest dwindled to a trickle of submissions as authors failed to follow up on their initial enthusiasm – be that due to pressures of time and workload or, what we believe to be the most prevalent reason, a lack of confidence in what they had to offer the field in such a well-regarded international journal. Then, many of the submissions received turned out to be unrelated to action research or demonstrated only a superficial grasp of the methodology and literature.