New article: linguistic injustice in ecological journals.
A letter on the issue of linguistic injustice in science by Miguel Clavero has been published in TREE.
International scientific communication is monolithically dominated by English, particularly within natural sciences. The professional career of individual scientists relies on their ability to publish in internationally relevant journals, and writing in English is the only way to achieve this. Non-native English speakers are thus clearly disadvantaged with respect to native English speakers when trying to get their work published.
Acknowledging that having a common language promotes the progress of science, this letter argues that the present situation is a clear example of linguistic injustice, at least for two main reasons. First, all the costs of having a common international language in science are borne by non-native English scientists, this implying an unfair cooperation in obtaining a common good (i.e. a common language). Secondly, native English speakers, who benefit for free from having a common language, tend to dominate all possible arguments with non-native speakers, since the latter’s language skills never reach those of the former.
The letter makes different proposals to reduce the impact of the linguistic injustice problem among the non-native English scientific community. Its main aim is to stimulate a debate on the intrinsic inequalities between native and non-native English speakers when trying to publish their science. Clavero, M. (2010) “Awkward wording. Rephrase”: linguistic injustice in ecological journals. Trends in Ecology and Evolution (in press)
Injusticies ecologiques en les revistes d’ecologia
En aquesta carta publicada a la prestigiosa revista TREE s’introdueix el concepte d’injusticia linguistica entre els cientifics que no tenen com a llengua materna l’angles i es proposa estimular el debet sobre les desgualtats actualment existents entre els parlants nadius i ens no nadius quants uns i els altres intenten publicar la seva recerca.