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Why do I publish research articles in English instead of my own language? Differences in Spanish researchers’ motivations across scientific domains

AuthorsLópez-Navarro, Irene; Moreno, Ana I.; Quintanilla, Miguel Ángel; Rey-Rocha, Jesús
KeywordsPublication strategies
Non-Anglophone researchers
Researchers’ motivation
Scientific domains
Academic writing
Research article
Issue Date22-Apr-2015
PublisherAkadémiai Kiadó (Budapest)
CitationScientometrics 103 (3): 939-976 (2015)
AbstractPrevious studies have reported the increased use of English as the “lingua franca” for academic purposes among non-Anglophone researchers. But despite data that confirm this trend, little is known about the reasons why researchers decide to publish their results in English rather than in their first language. The aim of this study is to determine the influence of researchers’ scientific domain on their motivation to publish in English. The results are based on a large-scale survey of Spanish postdoctoral researchers at four different universities and one research centre, and reflect responses from 1717 researchers about their difficulties, motivations, attitudes and publication strategies. Researchers’ publication experiences as corresponding authors of articles in English and in their first language are strongly related to their scientific domain. But surprisingly, Spanish researchers across all domains expressed a similar degree of motivation when they write research articles in English. They perceive a strong association between this language and the desire for their research to be recognized and rewarded. Our study also shows that the target scientific audience is a key factor in understanding the choice of publication language. The implications of our findings go beyond the field of linguistics and are relevant to studies of scientific productivity and visibility, the quality and impact of research, and research assessment policies.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11192-015-1570-1
Appears in Collections:(CCHS-IFS) Artículos
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