Ambio

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 121–127 | Cite as

Publish (in English) or perish: The effect on citation rate of using languages other than English in scientific publications

Report

Abstract

There is a tendency for non-native English scientists to publish exclusively in English, assuming that this will make their articles more visible and cited. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the effect of language on the number of citations of articles published in six natural sciences journals from five countries that publish papers in either English or other languages. We analyzed the effect of language (English vs non-English), paper length, and year of publication on the number of citations. The articles published in English have a higher number of citations than those published in other languages, when the effect of journal, year of publication, and paper length are statistically controlled. This may result because English articles are accessible to a larger audience, but other factors need to be explored. Universities and scientific institutions should be aware of this situation and improve the teaching of English, especially in the natural sciences.

Keywords

English Lingua franca Scientific evaluation Scientific journals Scientific literature 

Supplementary material

13280_2016_820_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (920 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 924 kb)

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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Biología Subtropical (IBS) – nodo IguazúUniversidad Nacional de Misiones (UNaM), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)Puerto IguazúArgentina
  2. 2.Facultad de Ciencias ForestalesUNaMEldoradoArgentina
  3. 3.Asociación Civil Centro de Investigaciones del Bosque Atlántico (CeIBA)Puerto IguazúArgentina
  4. 4.Instituto de Biología Subtropical (IBS) – nodo PosadasUniversidad Nacional de Misiones (UNaM), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)PosadasArgentina
  5. 5.Facultad de Ciencias Exactas Químicas y NaturalesUNaMPosadasArgentina

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