Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1093/iob/obad003
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Language barriers in organismal biology: What can journals do better?
Author Nolde-Lopez, B.; Bundus, J.; Arenas-Castro, H.; Román, D.; Chowdhury, S.; Amano, T.; Berdejo-Espinola, V.; Wadgymar, S.M.
Journal Integrative Organismal Biology
Year 2023
Department iDiv; ESS
Volume 5
Issue 1
Page From obad003
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Abstract In the field of organismal biology, as in much of academia, there is a strong incentive to publish in internationally recognized, highly regarded, English-language journals to promote career advancement. This expectation has created a linguistic hegemony in scientific publishing, whereby scholars for whom English is an additional language face additional barriers to achieving the same scientific recognition as scholars who speak English as a first language. Here, we surveyed the author guidelines of 230 journals in organismal biology with impact factors of 1.5 or greater for linguistically inclusive and equitable practices and policies. We looked for efforts that reflect first steps toward reducing barriers to publication for authors globally, including the presence of statements that encouraged submissions from authors of diverse nationalities and backgrounds, policies regarding manuscript rejection based on perceived inadequacies of the English language, the existence of bias-conscious reviewer practices, whether translation and editing resources or services are available, allowance for non-English abstracts, summaries, or translations, and whether journals offer license options that would permit authors (or other scholars) to translate their work and publish it elsewhere. We also directly contacted a subset of journals to verify whether the information on their author guidelines page accurately reflects their policies and the accommodations they would make. We reveal that journals and publishers have made little progress toward beginning to recognize or reduce language barriers. Counter to our predictions, journals associated with scientific societies did not appear to have more inclusive policies compared to non-society journals. Many policies lacked transparency and clarity, which can generate uncertainty, result in avoidable manuscript rejections, and necessitate additional time and effort from both prospective authors and journal editors. We highlight examples of equitable policies and summarize actions that journals can take to begin to alleviate barriers to scientific publishing.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Nolde-Lopez, B., Bundus, J., Arenas-Castro, H., Román, D., Chowdhury, S., Amano, T., Berdejo-Espinola, V., Wadgymar, S.M. (2023):
Language barriers in organismal biology: What can journals do better?
Integr. Organism. Biol. 5 (1), obad003