Disadvantages in preparing and publishing scientific papers caused by the dominance of the English language in science: The case of Colombian researchers in biological sciences

Abstract:  The success of a scientist depends on their production of scientific papers and the impact factor of the journal in which they publish. Because most major scientific journals are published in English, success is related to publishing in this language. Currently, 98% of publications in science are written in English, including researchers from English as a Foreign Language (EFL) countries. Colombia is among the countries with the lowest English proficiency in the world. Thus, understanding the disadvantages that Colombians face in publishing is crucial to reducing global inequality in science. This paper quantifies the disadvantages that result from the language hegemony in scientific publishing by examining the additional costs that communicating in English creates in the production of articles. It was identified that more than 90% of the scientific articles published by Colombian researchers are in English, and that publishing in a second language creates additional financial costs to Colombian doctoral students and results in problems with reading comprehension, writing ease and time, and anxiety. Rejection or revision of their articles because of the English grammar was reported by 43.5% of the doctoral students, and 33% elected not to attend international conferences and meetings due to the mandatory use of English in oral presentations. Finally, among the translation/editing services reviewed, the cost per article is between one-quarter and one-half of a doctoral monthly salary in Colombia. Of particular note, we identified a positive correlation between English proficiency and higher socioeconomic origin of the researcher. Overall, this study exhibits the negative consequences of hegemony of English that preserves the global gap in science. Although having a common language is important for science communication, generating multilinguistic alternatives would promote diversity while conserving a communication channel. Such an effort should come from different actors and should not fall solely on EFL researchers.

 

2020 Workshop Multilingualism – AEUP – Association of European University Presses

“This workshop on multilingualism will bring publishers, translators, librarians, young researchers and interested stakeholders together, to exchange experiences on multilingualism and challenges with open access in academic publishing regarding multilingualism and discuss lobbying strategies….

Balance of localization and globalization: right balance of international and local relevance of research & impact of research
Translation: translation and translators as “invisible contribution” or recognized in their own right, authority of automated translations
Open access specific challenges around multilingualism
Hegemonial challenges around languages:
– linguistic hegemony and dominance in multilingual settings
– minorities and native languages as a cultural trait
– dominance of latin alphabet requirements (aggregators in scientific communication)
– dominance of the concept of universal linguae franca such as English….”

New wiki project – Abstract Wikipedia – will boost content across languages – Neowin

“Wikimedia Foundation has announced a new project that proposes a new way to generate encyclopedic content in a multilingual fashion. Abstract Wikipedia will allow more contributors and more readers to share more knowledge in more languages.

The Wikimedia Foundation is an American non-profit organization founded by Jimmy Wales as a way to fund Wikipedia and its sibling projects. This is the foundation’s first new project in over seven years.

The project was first proposed in a 22-page paper by Denny Vrande?i?, founder of Wikidata, earlier this year. He had floated a new idea that would allow contributors to create content using abstract notation which could then be translated to different natural languages, balancing out content more evenly, no matter the language you speak.

He suggested a project that could be used by anyone in the world to enter information as abstract notation, and then a tool called Wikilambda would host a collection of functions that could turn the notation into natural language text. Per him, the project wouldn’t require a major breakthrough in current knowledge of natural language generation or lexical knowledge representation….”

New wiki project – Abstract Wikipedia – will boost content across languages – Neowin

“Wikimedia Foundation has announced a new project that proposes a new way to generate encyclopedic content in a multilingual fashion. Abstract Wikipedia will allow more contributors and more readers to share more knowledge in more languages.

The Wikimedia Foundation is an American non-profit organization founded by Jimmy Wales as a way to fund Wikipedia and its sibling projects. This is the foundation’s first new project in over seven years.

The project was first proposed in a 22-page paper by Denny Vrande?i?, founder of Wikidata, earlier this year. He had floated a new idea that would allow contributors to create content using abstract notation which could then be translated to different natural languages, balancing out content more evenly, no matter the language you speak.

He suggested a project that could be used by anyone in the world to enter information as abstract notation, and then a tool called Wikilambda would host a collection of functions that could turn the notation into natural language text. Per him, the project wouldn’t require a major breakthrough in current knowledge of natural language generation or lexical knowledge representation….”

Long read | Science needs to inform the public. That can’t be done solely in English | LSE Covid-19

“Science, when communicated exclusively in English, risks not fully meeting its third mission, which is to inform the public. Never before have we seen this phenomenon as intensified as it has been throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Ideally health-related studies, measures, and responses can be produced and examined by scientists, professionals, governing authorities, and individuals with the benefit of time. In the case of COVID-19, scientific communities have been called upon to assert new knowledge that will satisfy a remarkably urgent dual mission. Doing that only in English will leave many people behind, write Zehra Taskin (Adam Mickiewicz University), Guleda Dogan (Hacettepe University), Emanuel Kulczycki (Adam Mickiewicz University), and Alesia Ann Zuccala (University of Copenhagen)….”

Long read | Science needs to inform the public. That can’t be done solely in English | LSE Covid-19

“Science, when communicated exclusively in English, risks not fully meeting its third mission, which is to inform the public. Never before have we seen this phenomenon as intensified as it has been throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Ideally health-related studies, measures, and responses can be produced and examined by scientists, professionals, governing authorities, and individuals with the benefit of time. In the case of COVID-19, scientific communities have been called upon to assert new knowledge that will satisfy a remarkably urgent dual mission. Doing that only in English will leave many people behind, write Zehra Taskin (Adam Mickiewicz University), Guleda Dogan (Hacettepe University), Emanuel Kulczycki (Adam Mickiewicz University), and Alesia Ann Zuccala (University of Copenhagen)….”

What Open means in the face of inequity & inequality – Google Slides

“It’s not only about getting the licensing right — it’s also about overcoming linguistic barriers, put resources in place, build the technical infrastructures that are flexible enough to adapt to diverse contexts”

Digitising archives, sharing knowledge | Interview | Nepali Times

“The South Asia Materials Project is now digitising as the means of preservation, and many of the resources are being made available online. Further, the newly formed South Asia Open Archives initiative is laying plans for massive efforts to digitise and make available important cultural resources for open access.”