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Title: English medium publications : opening or closing doors to authors with non-English language backgrounds?
Author: Alsabahi, R. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 9580
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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The dominance of English as International Language of Scientific Publication (EILSP) has resulted in an increasing pressure on scholars outside the Inner Anglophone Circle (Kachru, 1996) to publish exclusively in English (Duszak & Lewkowicz, 2008; Misak, Marusic, & Marusic, 2005; Canagarajah, 1996; Flowerdew, 1999; Gibbs, 1995; Tardy, 2004). However, publishing in English inevitably brings with it linguistic, formal, organizational and ideological barriers leaving non-first-language-English scholars who do not possess the expected English language skills with no choice but to rely on professional translators and 'literacy brokers' for the purpose of increasing global visibility. This critical exploratory study investigates the perceptions and practices of non-first-language-English scholars on the usage of English as a medium of publication. It focuses on their attitudes towards English usage, explores the difficulties they encounter while writing for publication and examines the role academic brokers play in opening (or not) the gates to non-first-language-English scholars to contribute to the global research conversation. The study is informed by the critical approach to challenge normative assumptions on the use of English as a medium of publication through raising questions that pertain to the Anglo/American influence on academic text production. For the study, a qualitative research approach was used to collect data; ten emergent and established researchers were interviewed, all of which originated from Non-Anglophone countries. Four academic brokers were also interviewed to further examine the topic from their viewpoint. The findings suggest that the majority of participants supported or grudgingly accepted the spread of English in academia for pragmatic reasons based on the role English plays in opening the doors and efficiently facilitating the free exchange of knowledge across the globe. However, few participants acknowledged that they faced a variety of challenges in their attempt to write for publication in English, which was mainly attributed to asymmetrical power relations and pervasive ideologies that emphasize the adoption of English as the lingua franca of scholarly exchange. Surprisingly, the findings revealed that the current publication practice may be more multilingual than we might assume; nonetheless, multilingual research continues to be obscured while monolingual research is highly visible, accessible and thus desirable. It was also acknowledged that amendments suggested by journal reviewers could perhaps diminish the richness of texts and ultimately affect the voices non-first-language-English authors try to project in their papers. Finally, findings revealed that academic brokers are aware of problems with submissions from non-first-language-English authors, especially in terms of writing quality and in ways of addressing reviewers' comments and handling the review process. Based on the findings, the usage of English as a medium of publication has been contested since it does not provide non-first-language-English scholars with equal opportunities to participate in the international academic arena. Conforming to English native standardization in academic communities does not do justice to multilingual authors and audiences and closes doors to a fair participation in academic research discourse. Implications stemming from the study findings include pragmatic suggestions that might reduce the occurrence of challenges in the current publishing system and emphasize the key role training in English academic publishing may play in boosting contributions of non-first-language-English publishing practices. Finally, the study made several recommendations which are expected to improve the practices of multilingual researchers and promote the visibility of the already existing, but largely ignored, research outputs in a range of languages.
Supervisor: Meier, G. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available