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AMBIO

, 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
Synopsis

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...

Keywords

Publication Rate Intermediary Communicator International Scientific Community Local Science Local Natural Resource 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

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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