- freely available
Publications 2015, 3(2), 43-64; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications3020043
2.1. Research Questions
- What are the initial experiences of the participants’ writing and publishing in internationally-indexed journals like, and under what circumstances did they write their internationally-indexed articles?
- What attitudes do the participants hold towards writing and publishing in internationally-indexed journals?
2.2. Research Site
2.3. Data Collection and Data Analysis
- How did you start to write for and publish in internationally-indexed journals?
- Why/Under what circumstances did you write your internationally-indexed articles?
- What do you think are the benefits and drawbacks of writing these articles and publishing in these journals?
- What are the most challenging things for you in the writing and publishing processes? How do you usually handle them?
- How do you usually make the decisions of using English or Chinese and of publishing in domestic or international journals before you start to write an article?
- How do you view the importance of publishing in international journals for your academic career?
- How do you feel about the trends of “globalization” and “Anglicization” in academia, especially in your discipline?
- How are internationally-indexed publications received in your institute at the policy level? What do you think of these policies?
- What are your future plans in terms of English writing and international publication? Why?
- Is there anything I did not ask but you feel strongly about?
|Code||Gender||Age group||PhD (Where & when)||Academic rank||Discipline||No. of SSCI and A&HCI articles (Time span)||Annual output (Average)|
|ECO1||M||36–40||Mainland China, 2003||Research fellow||Economics||5 (2010–2011)||2.5|
|ECO2||F||36–40||Mainland China, 2006||Research fellow||Economics||9 (2006–2013)||1.13|
|ECO3||M||56–60||Mainland China, 1989||Research fellow||Economics||18 (1998–2013)||1.13|
|SOC1||F||56–60||Mainland China, 1998||Research fellow||Sociology||4 (2007–2013)||0.57|
|SOC2||F||36–40||Mainland China (master’s degree), 2002||Assistant research fellow||Sociology||3 (2008–2012)||0.6|
|SOC3||M||31–35||Mainland China, 2010||Assistant research fellow||Sociology||3 (2012–2013)||1.5|
|ARCH1||M||56–60||US, 1996||Research fellow||Archaeology||7 (1999–2013)||0.47|
|ARCH2||M||61–65||Japan, 1993||Research fellow||Archaeology||11 (1998–2012)||0.73|
|ARCH3||M||46–50||Mainland China, 1991||Research fellow||Archaeology||10 (2002–2013)||0.83|
2.4. Ethical Concerns
3. Research findings
3.1. Research Question 1: What Are the Initial Experiences of the Participants’ Writing and Publishing in Internationally-Indexed Journals Like and under What Circumstances Did They Write Their Internationally-Indexed Articles?
3.1.1. Native English-Speaking Collaborators as Mentors that Initiated and Guided the Endeavors
3.1.2. A Practice and/or Propensity Cultivated Through Extensive Overseas Experience
3.1.3. High-Quality Research Attracts Collaborators or Opportunities for Publishing
3.2. Research Question 2: What Attitudes Do the Participants Hold Towards Writing and Publishing in Internationally-Indexed Journals?
3.2.1. The Benefits of Publishing in English-Medium International Journals
Some well-researched issues in China cannot reach the international audience because of the language barrier. Even if you have written ten Chinese articles dealing with that same issue, it is very likely that the overseas academics still know nothing about it; with only one English article, that purpose can be served. For instance, after I published my 2007 (English) article, many overseas academics and organizations approached me, telling me they had read the article and found it interesting, and asking about the possibility of exchanges or collaboration.(ECO2)
We write and publish in English for the purpose of “going-out”. For example, ancient Chinese history enriched by our archaeological evidence is much more vivid and charming than traditional historical records. It deserves international attention. Westerners might say they cannot understand Chinese. Now I am helping them with that (by writing and publishing our research in English-medium international journals).(ARCH2)
The moment we started to plan an article, we aimed at SSCI journals; otherwise, why bother? There were a few other journals inviting articles from us too, but they were not indexed by the SSCI, so we refused—we had concerns over their quality and impact.(ECO1)
When I was in the US, I learnt that this journal is among the best few in our field, and it is extremely difficult to publish there. So when the opportunity presented itself (the journal was recruiting contributors among a group of archaeologists for a special issue), I grasped it right away.(ARCH1)
My collaborator helped me revise my parts of the manuscript, and the changes she made were so brilliant! With a one-word change, the whole sentence could take on a new look! Such learning experience cannot be gained through any other means... And the editor I worked with on that article is in the area of China studies himself, and he knows China well. I read through all his comments, and have learnt so much from them!(ECO2)
These journals treat your submissions seriously. Even if your article was “killed”, they would give you some pertinent comments to let you know why. For submissions to domestic journals, in most cases, I have no idea why my articles were “killed”; not to mention the long waiting time before someone informs you of that. In this sense, submitting to international journals at least enables me to learn something from their comments!(SOC2)
If I can foresee that an article will not possibly be accepted by and published in domestic journals, I will compose it in English and submit it to international journals. It is mainly because of ideological problems; domestic journals are still quite strict in this aspect.(SOC3)
3.2.2. Issues and Concerns Related to Publishing in English-Medium International Journals
From my own perspective, I do not have the least intention to submit to international journals. All my English publications were written at the invitation of editors and friends. If not for the sake of “giving face”, I would not have written them, because my research aims primarily at domestic audience. I do not really care about turning it into English.(ECO3)
You are not in that “circle” (Western academia), and are not working under their requirements. What you are concerned with are the thoughts of the people around you; and the people around you do not read those journals.(ARCH3)
It usually takes me at least three months to compose an English article, and that is under the precondition that I have formulated my viewpoints in advance and I have had some Chinese writing to build upon. To start anew, a whole year can hardly be enough. For a Chinese article of the same length, to start from zero, I need only three weeks. But then again, why did I spend so much time to write that English article? Because the editor invited it from me. Otherwise, I would not have done that. It is a waste of time! Though I do not have the pressure to publish in English, I am pressured to publish in Chinese. If I do not have a decent number of Chinese publications for annual assessment, I would be embarrassed!(ARCH1)
There have to be requirements, some requirements entailing international publications, only then will I do it. As for myself, what is the point of investing two- to three-fold time and effort in writing an English article (when I can write a Chinese one with ease)?(ECO1)
We would not oppose such practices (bidding for publication in international journals); but we would not encourage it either. The lengthy process from composing, revising to finalizing the manuscript could well be used to do more domestic research, and we have plenty of that waiting to be done.(ECO3)
I think I will write more in English in future; I would say it is meaningful. It is not out of the consideration of monetary income, needless to say that there is none. It is from the perspective of doing the job. You find an issue interesting and feel the obligation to write about it.(ECO2)
I will write more in English than Chinese in future, as long as the required workload is fulfilled. You have to think about, regardless of academic ranks or assessment, that English is playing a hegemonic role now. To compete for discourse power in an area, you have to use English to make yourself heard!(SOC2)
Assessment and rewarding schemes do not have much influence on me; and I believe they can only become more favorable to English writing in future. That way, I will write even more in English. This is the general trend—the increasing number of returnees will bring in new competition mechanism and English publications will definitely be part of it. I have to get prepared from early on.(SOC3)
We once had a young colleague applying for higher academic ranks with two articles published in top-tier SSCI journals. He failed because the academic board deemed that the articles do not contain much innovative work—the research is rather “basic” from the perspective of domestic academics; it was accepted by international journals just because Western academia knew too little about the research in China.(SOC1)
Some people say that the articles published abroad do not have much value. This is actually a prevailing viewpoint. I guess this is a case of “sour grape”. Simply because they are not capable of doing it, they downplay it. They know nothing about the arduous process (of writing and getting published)… They also have to admit that even the best journals in China are no comparison to international journals in terms of their standardized, rigorous and law-abiding operation. I agree that some articles published abroad are of mediocre or even poor quality, but so are those published in Chinese journals!(SOC3)
I believe most people, even if they have obtained their PhD degrees in Anglophone countries, cannot use English with the same facility as Chinese. To write about Chinese history, archaeology and philosophy in English is even more challenging. The mere task of expressing yourself clearly is hard.(ARCH3)
Academic writing in the HSS is all about language and expressions. But when you are writing in English, your language use can never be the same as NES researchers; you are an NNES researcher after all.(ARCH1)
Economic writing does not require much embellishment; for academic papers, the most simple and direct expressions would be enough. Language is only the packaging of the research.(ECO3)
Academic writing in my area is different from, say, anthropology or more theoretical writing. If we deal with a problem in China studies, and report empirical research, the requirements on language are not very high. Compared to literary studies, ethnology or anthropology, they are actually much lower.(SOC3)
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