Publish (in English) or perish: The effect on citation rate of using languages other than English in scientific publications
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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.
KeywordsEnglish Lingua franca Scientific evaluation Scientific journals Scientific literature
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