, Volume 41, Issue 7, pp 769–772 | Cite as

Running Like Alice and Losing Good Ideas: On the Quasi-Compulsive Use of English by Non-native English Speaking Scientists

  • Alejandro Bortolus

Introduction: The Overlooked Outcome of an Old Problem

The profuse publication of articles and books debating the use and abuse of English as a global language for science (Garfield 1962; Amonn 2001; Montgomery 2004) evidences the timeless persistence of a complex and unsolved problem with deep multi-cultural roots. Many non-native English speaking (hereafter, non-NES) countries currently exert enormous explicit or implicit pressure on their scientists to publish in international high-impact peer-reviewed journals, which are in English. This pressure is promoted under the premise that the impact factor of a journal is positively related to the quality of the science it publishes. This premise implies that publishing in high-impact peer-reviewed journals is the best way to demonstrate the excellence of local scientists. Whether we agree with this premise or not, and independently of its legitimacy (Clavero 2010a, b; Guariguata et al. 2010), we have long accepted it as the paradigmatic...


Publication Rate Intermediary Communicator International Scientific Community Local Science Local Natural Resource 
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I thank all the native and non-native English speaking scientists, editors, and colleagues in general who shared with me personal experiences and perspectives on the topic of this article. I am particularly thankful to Jorge Crisci, Evan Schwindt, Peter Feinsinger, Mario Bunge, Rafael González del Solar, Claudio De Francesco, Sergio Salazar-Vallejo, Miguel Clavero, and Bo Söderström, whose wise criticism and invaluable suggestions and opinion helped me to organize my thoughts. I also thank SSIS for the motivating exchange of ideas and to CONICET (PIP 190) and ANPCyT-FONCyT (PICT Nº 2206) for supporting my work.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Grupo de Ecología en Ambientes Costeros, CENPAT-CONICETPuerto MadrynArgentina

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