'Science first': An exploration of the assessment and role of language in the editorial practices of 'hard science' academic journals

Von Delius, Sarah (2015) 'Science first': An exploration of the assessment and role of language in the editorial practices of 'hard science' academic journals. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]

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Publication in international, peer-reviewed, academic journals is increasingly characterized by the

dominance of English as the language of research dissemination. Multiple studies attest to the

disadvantages perceived and encountered by NNES (non-native English speaking) scholars as a result;

yet, only a limited number have addressed the ‘gatekeeper’ side of the editorial process, with an

exclusive focus on publication within social science journals (Belcher, 2007; Flowerdew, 2001).

Recent evidence, highlighting significant disciplinary differences in publication practices (Gnutzmann

and Rabe, 2014), points towards a lack of knowledge of editorial practices and perceptions of NNES

scholars’ submissions in the ‘hard sciences’. This dissertation presents the results of an interview

case study with the editors of a top-ranked, international chemistry journal. The purpose was to find

out how these editors assess and perceive the role of language in the scientific editorial process and

to gain insight into how to enhance the chances of successful publication by NNES authors. Analysis

of the data suggests that language assessment is based on overall comprehension instead of quality,

with a clear precedence given to the value of the scientific content over the way in which it is

linguistically presented. Moreover, the results highlight the incidence of problematic linguistic errors

and unfamiliarity with academic discourse from both NES (native English speaking) and NNES

scholars. Recommendations include the need for NNES authors working in the ‘hard science’

disciplines to pay more specific attention to clear and comprehensible language in order to achieve

success in publishing.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: Gigg, Diane
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2015 12:20
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2017 15:15
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/31042

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