The Global Sphere of Academia: Writing in a Second Language

By Alex Oxford

As Chris discussed on the blog in March, Early Career Researchers are often thrust headfirst into the cycle of ‘publish or perish’ with varying amounts of guidance. Especially in the face of new policies on Open Access, ever-changing university budgets and (possibly) teaching fresh-faced undergraduates to pass their essays. This was why EUP decided to launch our Early Career Researcher Hub of guides to unshroud some of that uncertainty.

However, academia is an international sphere. EUP works with authors and editors across the globe, despite being a majority English-language publisher, and we recognise the disadvantages faced by non-English native speakers as they try to publish in a sector where English is the dominant tongue. If Early Career Researchers do not have the money, opportunity, or interest in studying in an English-speaking country, they face an even larger hurdle as editors judge the quality of their writing alongside their research.

Moreover, there is next to no advice or guidance there to help bridge that disparity, besides the occasional blog post from some kind PhD students. While this can be incredibly helpful in making the writing process a little easier, those reading it are no closer to knowing if this will produce what editors want. If an Early Career Researcher does not have the money or inclination to get their work professionally translated, where should they start?

With this in mind, EUP have added a new guide to our ECR Hub: Writing an article in a second language. Whether you are a linguist, polyglot, international student or otherwise, this guide aims to address the writing process from first library search to final draft and beyond; also looking at the differing rules on plagiarism worldwide and distinguishing between plagiarism and copyright infringement.

Like all of our guides, it is written by experienced publishing professionals working here at EUP. It is also checked by journal editors and/or experienced authors who can inform us of common pitfalls faced by those writing in a second language. (A huge thank you to those researchers who helped to produce this guide!)

Our ECR Hub now has nine guides covering the writing process for books and journals, as well as general guidance on promoting your writing. We hope that you find these guides helpful as you navigate your way through the process of publishing with EUP (or any publisher).

If you have any thoughts about the guides – especially if there are elements where you’d like more information – or if you have any ideas for future guides, please let us know. You can contact us by tweeting @EdinburghUP or by leaving a reply to this post.

Teri Williams
Teri Williams
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