Critiquing the Notion of English as the Global Lingua Franca for Academic Journal Publishing

We recently published Global Academic Publishing edited by Mary Jane Curry and Theresa Lillis. In this post the editors examine the idea of English as the global language of academic publishing.

It is commonly asserted that English has become the global language of academic publishing. The push for scholars in many parts of the world to publish their research in English-medium journals has grown markedly in the past two decades, affecting researchers working not just in the natural sciences but also in the social sciences and humanities. This trend has developed against a backdrop of neoliberal policies in many global contexts that have strongly affected the aims, activities, and working conditions of higher education. In many cases, using English and writing for publication in English signal the ‘internationalization’ of higher education, with little attention being paid to what might be lost in this move or what the costs may be to individual academics and to knowledge production more broadly. In fact, the shift to English means that knowledge published in English may not be available in local languages, hindering the development of local research cultures and societies more broadly.

In the past 25 years, research has documented many of the barriers to multilingual scholars gaining access to the global academic marketplace (in English); their perspectives on their successes and challenges; and the policy conditions that foster the growing pressure to publish in English. The chapters compiled in our new edited book, Global Academic Publishing, critically examine how these pressures and policies play out in specific geographic contexts, some of which have not been previously explored. The book’s section on policy explores the effects and inequities of both implicit and explicit policies for the use of English in academic knowledge production. Implicit policies for English-medium publishing include the nesting of English in many of the metrics now being used to evaluate the work of academics, for example, the journal citation indexes published by the Web of Science and journals published by Elsevier, Springer and other European and North American publishers. Evaluation systems driven by such metrics tend to ignore other ways of evaluating research quality and sidestep deeper conversations about what topics and questions are valuable and to whom.

The perspectives section of the book investigates the dynamics of academic publishing in English that continue to develop even in contexts that have historically had high levels of access to English such as Scandinavia and western Europe, where pressures for English have an impact on scholars’ multilingual identities and engagement with knowledge production for various audiences. The book’s section on journal publishing pushes the boundaries of research on academic publishing to look at how editors respond to pressures for English-medium articles in terms of their journals’ policies and practices. It also examines the rising phenomenon of open access publishing including those unscrupulous open access publishers who prey on scholars’ desires for English publications. The final section of the book draws together research critically examining different types of pedagogies supporting scholars and graduate students in their publishing efforts, from courses to workshops to self-support structures using mobile technology.

This volume marks the launch of the new book series we are editing, Studies in Knowledge Production and Participation.

Mary Jane Curry and Theresa Lillis

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like International Student Engagement in Higher Education by Margaret Kettle.

 

New series: Studies in Knowledge Production and Participation

This year we are launching the new series Studies in Knowledge Production and Participation. In this post, the series editors Mary Jane Curry and Theresa Lillis explain why there is a need for a series in this area.

Series flyer
Series flyer

In an increasingly multimodal, multilingual world that is considered by many to be ‘globalised’ or ‘globalising’, questions about knowledge production are coming to the fore. New technologies, global mobility, and changing economies are contributing to interest in what is defined as knowledge, how it is produced, and who has access not only to new knowledge but also to the ability to produce and use new (and old) knowledges. This new book series will explore multiple facets of knowledge production, distribution and evaluation within these fast-changing contexts.

The topic of knowledge production is not new in academia but it is only in recent years that a field of study is developing that critically explores scientific and academic knowledge production in traditional arenas such as universities, in traditional forms such as journal articles and books. The series will be launched with an edited book focusing on conventional academic knowledge entitled Global Academic Publishing: Policies, Practices, and Pedagogies, which will bring together chapters from a wide range of national and regional contexts exploring a key dimension of academic knowledge production. Studies in this collection will use qualitative/ethnographic as well as bibliometric and survey research methods.

The series will also extend beyond traditional academic and scientific contexts and forms of knowledge production.  With the advent of new technologies, academic knowledge production has taken on a wider range of formats, including blogs, wikis and Twitter feeds. Questions related to who has access to these forums and how the knowledge created within them is taken up, shared, and evaluated, and for what purposes, are in need of exploration. At the same time, what are sometimes called ‘vernacular’ or ‘indigenous’ knowledges are increasingly being recognized and made accessible through new technologies, and the series aims to make these types of knowledge visible. A key question in the series as a whole is what counts as knowledge in the contemporary world.

The editors welcome proposals for the series, following the book proposal guidelines on the Multilingual Matters website. The series will aim to include books using a number of research methodologies, with research representing as wide a range of geographic locations as possible.

For more information about the new series please see our website or download a flyer for the series here.
Proposals should be sent to Anna Roderick.

Books, snakes and snacks aplenty – AILA 2014

This week saw Kim and Laura banished from the office. No, we weren’t sent to the other side of the world for bad behaviour but rather, we headed to Brisbane, Australia for the triennial AILA conference. With a theme of ‘One World, Many Languages’, we knew this would be a great conference for Multilingual Matters. AILA is always exciting for us, as so many of our authors and editors are in attendance. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with old friends as well as make new connections, and hear some fascinating papers.

Some wildlife enjoying our books!
Some wildlife enjoying our books!

The week started well, with strong sales and lots of interest in our new books, particularly Language Globalization and the Making of a Tanzanian Beauty Queen (Billings), Key Topics in Second Language Acquisition (Cook and Singleton) and Measuring L2 Proficiency (edited by Leclercq et al). We also got to meet a different type of delegate – the organisers had arranged for some local creatures to join us for the opening reception! We met snakes, a wombat, a kookaburra, a tortoise and a baby crocodile – some even seemed quite interested in our books.

Jan Blommaert's keynote
Jan Blommaert’s keynote

The conference was pretty busy all week so we didn’t get to many sessions, but those we did attend were high quality and very interesting. Of particular note were the keynotes by Lourdes Ortega, Elana Shohamy and Jan Blommaert, as well as the session on publishing by Mary Jane Curry, and the symposia on indigenous languages organised by Gillian Wigglesworth and Teresa McCarty. Jan had some particularly comical examples of lookalike language!

Brisbane by night
Brisbane by night

The Wednesday afternoon was a chance for everyone to take a breather, as it was a national holiday in Brisbane for their county show, known as the Ekka. We took the opportunity to explore some of Brisbane and had a lovely time doing the typical tourist attractions – we loved the Big Wheel and got a great view of the city. Back to the conference the next day and the stand was as popular as ever, with more animals to see including koalas, possums and a skink. Our best-sellers of the week really did sell well, with Identity and Language Learning (Norton), Ethnography, Superdiversity and Linguistic Landscapes (Blommaert) and A Scholar’s Guide to Getting Published in English (Curry & Lillis) taking the top spots.

We couldn’t possibly write a piece on this conference without mentioning the food. We’ve never been so well fed! The organisers truly laid on a feast every day, with cakes, pies and biscuits aplenty. Needless to say – the diet went out of the window for the duration of the conference!

Thanks Brisbane, not only for hosting a fabulous conference but also for showing us the very best of your city. We loved it! We’re already looking forward to the next AILA in Rio in 2017.

New Books on Academic Writing

A Scholar's Guide to Getting Published in EnglishThis month we are publishing A Scholar’s Guide to Getting Published in English by Mary Jane Curry and Theresa Lillis. This book provides advice to academics needing to publish their work in English when it is not their native language. Nowadays, researchers all over the world are under pressure to publish in English and this book offers guidance to scholars to help them explore the larger social practices, politics, networks and resources involved in academic publishing.

John Flowerdew from the City University of Hong Kong says the book provides “an excellent overview” of the principles and procedures involved in scholarly publishing. The volume is based on 10 years of research and is written by experts in the field. Both Curry and Lillis have published widely in the field of academic writing.

Risk in Academic WritingWe are also publishing another book on the topic of academic writing next month: Risk in Academic Writing edited by Lucia Thesen and Linda Cooper. This text brings together the voices of teachers, students and authors to examine the idea of risk in the world of academic writing.

Professor Sue Clegg from Leeds Metropolitan University calls it “a powerful, challenging, engaging, and moving collection” and Claire Aitchison from the University of Western Sydney says it is a “must-read.”

Both these books complement our existing publications on similar topics including Plagiarism, Intellectual Property and the Teaching of L2 Writing by Joel Bloch and Ethnographic Fieldwork by Jan Blommaert and Dong Jie.

Plagiarism, Intellectual Property and the Teaching of L2 WritingEthnographic FieldworkAll these titles are available on our website at 20% discount. If you would like any more information about any of these titles or if you’d like to receive a copy of our latest catalogue please email us at info@multilingual-matters.com.