Special Issue "Writing and Publishing Scientific Research Papers in English"

A special issue of Publications (ISSN 2304-6775).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Claire Chaplier

Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics and Language Didactics, Director of the LAIRDIL (Research Laboratory in Applied Linguistics and Language Education), University of Toulouse 3- Paul Sabatier (France)
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

All scientific researchers are faced with pressure to publish (“or perish”) their results in renowned English-speaking journals for two reasons: 1) English is the universal/international language of scientific communication and 2) publishing research results is an integral part of a researcher’s professional life. Although most research articles are published in English, scientific research is an international and intercultural activity in the 21st century, and numerous authors come from a wide range of language and cultural backgrounds and are non-native English speakers. However, writing is not every researcher’s favorite activity, and the obstacles in getting a paper published can be stressful, above all when English is not the author’s native language. There are difficulties associated with getting work published: Difficulties that operate for all scientists, plus some that are specific to scientists working in contexts where English is a foreign or second language. The latter situation adds another layer to the challenges facing authors themselves, journal editors, and reviewers. In addition to language-related barriers, it is also important to realize that writing is a skill, whatever the language; regardless of being non-native scientists or those who speak English as their first language.

The aim of this call for paper is:

a. to analyze scientific[1] research articles in English from a cultural point of view,

b. to explore the impact of writing and publishing scientific articles in English on several elements related to the process of writing these articles (English language, knowledge, other languages, the researcher, the journals, the processes of writing and publishing and other suggestions),

c. to envisage training in the writing of scientific research articles for worldwide non-native English researchers.

a. The linguistic point of view, and more especially discourse analysis of scientific articles, have been examined by numerous Anglo-Saxon researchers (e.g., Hyland, 1990; Swales, 1990) and fewer French researchers (Banks, 1995, 2017; Carter-Thomas, 2001; Rowley-Jolivet, 2001, 2002). However, there is less research regarding “culture” from a non-Anglo-Saxon approach. In introducing the notion of genre, John Swales (1990) led a move to new territory, as far as the teaching of writing is concerned, away from approaches and issues that were prevalent at the time, such as process writing, organization, revision, cohesion and coherence, grammar, vocabulary, and error analysis.

b. Impact on English, knowledge and other languages

Writing in English for non-native scientists may have an impact on English as a language and also on scientific knowledge itself. English as a lingua franca (ELF) has emerged as a way of referring to communication in English between speakers with different first languages; this is the reason why ELF is the language used in science. However, language is not limited to communication; it is also tied to the creation of concepts. As English is developed and transformed by its non-native users into an international scientific communication language, there is a risk of developing an impoverished form of English. The use of English as a lingua franca, devoid of culture, and used in scientific discourse may affect the transmission and the production of scientific knowledge

Another important dimension that has already been discussed in the field of science: In which language should an article be written in order to have a coherent and correct dissemination of new scientific concepts? The question of languages in the different disciplines has been debated in the European community for a long time, particularly in the dialogue at the conference Science and Languages in Europe, held in Paris, in 1994, and collected in a book by Roger Chartier and Pietro Corsi (1996). The book focuses on languages in science, from a diachronic perspective with the opposition of vernacular languages and the universal language, then between natural languages and the perfect language with the search for the ideal language of science, and finally between vernacular and vehicular languages. This was the case with Latin as it is with English in the contemporary scientific community; for example, in the proceedings of the symposium held at the University of Quebec in Montreal, in 1996 on French and the scientific language of the future, with a focus on French, and, more recently, in the Franco-German journal Trivium in 2013 on the issue Science thinks in several languages in the case of cultural studies. This is not a problem that refers to linguistics only; the issue is much more a fundamental question: How do scientists from different linguistic and cultural areas communicate with each other, and, most importantly, how do they produce knowledge together? This question refers to the more general problem of the relationship between language and knowledge, a question as old as science itself. Another article written by two Germans, Ralph Mocikat and Hermann Dieter, in the French journal Les langues modernes, in 2014, deals with the future of the German language in science and the consequences of English use in science in the production of knowledge. Even though disseminating knowledge in English is, nowadays, mandatory, can meaning be sacrificed in the name of diffusion? We should not forget that language and its culture shape the thinking of individuals. We all know that the scientific community is international. Yet scientific knowledge is produced by researchers who belong to specific countries. How can multiculturality and multilinguality be conveyed in science?

Impact on the different “cultures”

Publication-wise, are the reviewers or publication standards not responsible for the domination of one unique language in the name of internationalization and even “merchandization” of knowledge? Is the dissemination of scientific knowledge not participating, at the same time, in the devaluation and disappearance of swathes of other cultures (French and German culture for example)?

Impact on the researcher’s native language

What about the language of the authors themselves? Constantly writing and, perhaps, thinking in English may affect the researcher’s native language and process of thinking as language and its culture affect the way one thinks (concept of linguistic relativity, Sapir and Whorf). How are the authors affected?

Impact on the researcher’s identity

The following aspect questions the researcher’s identity. The world is multicultural and multilingual and belongs to a complex system (Morin, 1990). However, the scientific community uses one unique language, English, to convey scientific knowledge. How do the researchers who live in a particular nation with a specific culture live this apparent contradiction? Is there an opposition between the two dimensions of the researcher – as an individual and as a professional in science?

Impact on the researcher’s psycho-affective dimension

Another question arises concerning the affective dimension. Little research has been undertaken in this domain. As Arnold (1999) remarks: The question is how to introduce emotional and physical aspects to support cognitive processes? Has the use of a language, which is foreign to the scientist, caused some consequences on the psycho-affective process of writing, as well as on the individual? For example, does it entail more stress? What are the socio-affective parameters when writing a scientific research article in English? What are the prerequisites for writing a “satisfactory” scientific article?

c. Some researchers are often denied publication of their articles in international journals. What are the reasons for such state of fact? (The scientific content will not be envisaged as a reason). The main reason is, not that of language, but of culture: Anglo-Saxon and publication culture. There are conventions for Anglo-Saxon readers. A number of terms or expressions that are not related to scientific terms, but which have specific functions, are expected: boosters (verbs such as show, demonstrate, prove, nouns such as evidence, adjectives and adverbs predominant, definitely), hedges. It is important to use them properly. They are used to argue, to convince, to mark the attitude of the author in relation to his message and his readers. It is often said that non-English speakers do not qualify their speech, are too direct, affirmative, or categorical. They must not hesitate to use words or phrases in order to modulate, refine, or/and clarify ideas.

From a didactic perspective, what type of learning and teaching systems can be devised to meet these ever-increasing expectations and to reestablish the multiplicity of languages and cultures in the scientific domains? For example, French scientific researchers can write their articles because they have learned to do it through practice and by using their intuition. No real framework for this task has been systematically and institutionally devised. Even though there are translation agencies, only knowledge of a language is not enough, it is necessary to have a professional mastery of the field of specialty. The problem is that there is little training in scientific writing in master or doctoral studies in France, if any, whereas, in the US for instance, there are English for Academic Purposes (EAP) classes.

Interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approaches in connection with languages can be considered when discussing one aspect of the CFP. Theoretical reflections and field enquiries may also be accepted.

References

  1. Arnold, J. (ed.) 1999. Affect in Language Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  2. Banks, D. (1995). There is a cleft in your sentence: Less common clause structures in scientific writing. ASp 7-10, 3-11. 
  3. Banks, D. (2017). The Birth of the Academic Article Le Journal des Sçavans and the Philosophical Transactions, 1665-1700. Equinox Publishing.
  4. Carter-Thomas, S. & E. Rowley-Jolivet. (2001). Syntactic differences in oral and written scientific discourse: the role of information structure. ASp 31-33, 19-37.
  5. Chartier, R. and Corsi, P. (eds.) (1996) Sciences and Languages in Europe. Paris: Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales.
  6. Hyland, K. (1990). Academic Discourse: English in a Global Context. London: Continuum.
  7. Leduc, P. (1996). Les implications culturelles des pratiques scientifiques [Cultural implications of scientific practices]. Conférence de synthèse la langue d’usage en science: responsabilité collective ou individuelle, Université du Québec, Montréal, 19 to 21 March 1996.
  8. Mocikat, R. and Dieter, H. (2014) La langue allemande pour la science, quel avenir ? [What is the future of German language for science]. Les langues modernes, 1: 35–41.
  9. Morin, E. (1990). Introduction à la pensée complexe. Paris: Seuil.
  10. Rowley-Jolivet, E. (2002). Science in the making: Scientific conference presentations and the construction of facts. In Ventola, C. Shalom & S. Thompson (dir.), 95-125.
  11. Swales, J. 1990. Genre Analysis. English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[1] The term «scientific» refers to experimental and formal sciences.

Dr. Claire Chaplier
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Publications is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • English as a lingua franca
  • languages
  • culture
  • scientific knowledge
  • professional identity
  • psycho-affective factors
  • multilingual and multicultural contexts
  • globalization
  • teaching and learning systems
  • publication standards

Published Papers (5 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-5
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Other

Open AccessArticle An Exploration of the Sub-Register of Chemical Engineering Research Papers Published in English
Publications 2018, 6(3), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications6030030
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 23 June 2018 / Accepted: 2 July 2018 / Published: 7 July 2018
PDF Full-text (2357 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The increased pressures for high-volume, high-impact publications in English language and the high rejection rates of submitted manuscripts for publications present an often unsurpassable obstacle for (early career) researchers. At the same time, register variation of peer-reviewed journals—that can contribute to whether a [...] Read more.
The increased pressures for high-volume, high-impact publications in English language and the high rejection rates of submitted manuscripts for publications present an often unsurpassable obstacle for (early career) researchers. At the same time, register variation of peer-reviewed journals—that can contribute to whether a paper is accepted for publication—has received little attention. This paper redresses this gap, by investigating the register (especially discourse moves and lexical choices) in 60 published, original-research articles on wastewater treatment published in four Chemical Engineering journals, with impact factor (IF) above 2. Our survey shows that chemical engineering research publications tend to comply with a set of requirements: multidisciplinarity, brevity, co-authorship, focus on the description of practical results (rather than methods), and awareness of non-specialised audiences. Lexical choices were analysed through frequency tables, phrase nets and word trees produced by data visualisation software (ManyEyes). It was found that less discipline-specific vocabulary is used in higher IF journals and this is interpreted within the current context of manuscript publication and consumption. This study concludes that data visualisation can provide an efficient and effective tool for prospective authors that wish to gauge telling details of the sub-register of a specific journal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Writing and Publishing Scientific Research Papers in English)
Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle Publish in English or Perish in Portuguese: Struggles and Constraints on the Semiperiphery
Publications 2018, 6(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications6020025
Received: 30 March 2018 / Revised: 27 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1494 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines the choice between English lingua franca and Portuguese (a pluricentric language in research article publishing), a choice which presents both a challenge and an opportunity to authors operating within the semiperipheral space of Portuguese research communities. Data on articles from [...] Read more.
This paper examines the choice between English lingua franca and Portuguese (a pluricentric language in research article publishing), a choice which presents both a challenge and an opportunity to authors operating within the semiperipheral space of Portuguese research communities. Data on articles from three disciplinary areas: Linguistics, Information Science and Library Science, and Pharmacology and Pharmacy, written in Portuguese and English, have been retrieved from the Web of Science (WoS) covering a 20-year period (1998–2017). Figures show a rise in publications in the second decade (2008–2017) in both languages: the number of English papers is higher throughout, but the rise in the number of Portuguese papers is steeper over these latter years. Given the disparity in the number of Portuguese and English-language WoS-indexed journals, the rise in English is probably not due to individual authorial choices, but to the lack of indexed journals in Portuguese, as well as to the constraints of the publishing market. Language choice is embedded in symbolic places of knowledge construction—in the processes of voicing research claims, in the multilayered historical processes within disciplinary communities of practice, and in the marketization of research publishing. These issues may shape future ways of disseminating knowledge in a publishing arena that will continue to be globalized, though perhaps not so monolingual. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Writing and Publishing Scientific Research Papers in English)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Reflective Practice: Eight Stages of Publishing a Scientific Research Paper
Received: 17 February 2018 / Revised: 27 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (574 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper suggests a methodology of academic paper classification for the scientist intending to contribute to peer-reviewed scientific literature. This will enable the progress of the typescript through the publication system to be accurately determined at any stage. The publication process is split [...] Read more.
This paper suggests a methodology of academic paper classification for the scientist intending to contribute to peer-reviewed scientific literature. This will enable the progress of the typescript through the publication system to be accurately determined at any stage. The publication process is split into eight subdivisions of differing worth and import: in navel contemplation; in preparation; submitted; in review; revision, revised, and resubmitted; accepted; in press; and publication. Papers in navel contemplation are referred to as in preparation by many, which can be an embarrassment when asked exactly what has been prepared. Rather than listing papers as in preparation in academic submissions, it is better to list them as unpublished data until published. Efficient authors keep a close watch on their papers between submission and the proof stage. They must be sufficiently organized to manage their publications and to be aware when things slow down. The methodology is flexible and, if it does not work for some authors, then they have a simple framework to adapt to their own preferences. In short, scientists need to show care and not be overly optimistic about the progress of any paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Writing and Publishing Scientific Research Papers in English)
Figures

Graphical abstract

Other

Jump to: Research

Open AccessFeature PaperEssay Thoughts on Publishing the Research Article over the Centuries
Publications 2018, 6(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications6010010
Received: 20 January 2018 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2018 / Published: 8 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (235 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The first academic periodical was the Journal des Sçavans, which first appeared in January 1665. It was followed two months later by the Philosophical Transactions. The Journal des Sçavans was sponsored by the state and was made up mainly of book [...] Read more.
The first academic periodical was the Journal des Sçavans, which first appeared in January 1665. It was followed two months later by the Philosophical Transactions. The Journal des Sçavans was sponsored by the state and was made up mainly of book reviews and covered all the known disciplines of the time. The Philosophical Transactions was a private venture based on Oldenburg’s correspondence and was restricted to science and technology. Scientific writers were motivated by personal reputation, the desire to improve the human condition, and, sometimes, priority. The “publish or perish” syndrome is a recent development. Among the factors that have influenced it are the increasing professionalization of science, the development of the peer-review system, and, towards the end of the twentieth century, a desire for rapid publication. The fact that English has (recently) become the lingua franca of scientific publishing creates additional difficulties for non-Anglophone scientists, which their Anglophone colleagues do not have to face. Scientific language, similar to all languages, evolves constantly. One area that seems to be changing at the moment is that of passive use, which is the subject of ongoing research. Cultural differences may also have a role to play. For example, French scientists may have to overcome a basically Cartesian education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Writing and Publishing Scientific Research Papers in English)
Open AccessPerspective “It’s Not the Way We Use English”—Can We Resist the Native Speaker Stranglehold on Academic Publications?
Publications 2017, 5(4), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications5040027
Received: 14 November 2017 / Revised: 1 December 2017 / Accepted: 6 December 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (198 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
English dominates the academic publishing world, and this dominance can, and often does, lead to the marginalisation of researchers who are not first-language speakers of English. There are different schools of thought regarding this linguistic domination; one approach is pragmatic. Proponents believe that [...] Read more.
English dominates the academic publishing world, and this dominance can, and often does, lead to the marginalisation of researchers who are not first-language speakers of English. There are different schools of thought regarding this linguistic domination; one approach is pragmatic. Proponents believe that the best way to empower these researchers in their bid to publish is to assist them to gain mastery of the variety of English most acceptable to prestigious journals. Another perspective, however, is that traditional academic English is not necessarily the best medium for the dissemination of research, and that linguistic compromises need to be made. They contend that the stranglehold that English holds in the publishing world should be resisted. This article explores these different perspectives, and suggests ways in which those of us who do not wield a great deal of influence may yet make a small contribution to the levelling of the linguistic playing field, and pave the way for an English lingua franca that better serves the needs of twenty-first century academics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Writing and Publishing Scientific Research Papers in English)
Publications EISSN 2304-6775 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top