Peer-reviewed article published: Communicating science in English has unique challenges for non-native speakers

In the first half of 2014, nearing the end of my undergraduate studies, I completed a course called SCOM3003: Special Topics in Science Communication (now called Science Communication Research Project). The course lets students design their own research project around a science communication topic of their choice, with supervision from an academic in that field. The final product at the end of the semester is a seminar presentation to the research centre, and a mini-thesis detailing relevant literature, methods, results and conclusions.

Following my completion of the course, I worked with my supervisor to turn the mini-thesis into an academic article, to submit to a peer-reviewed journal. Progress was slow, and as with any scientific publication, involved a lot of waiting, but after 5 attempts, I’m pleased to say that our article, Communicating Science in English: a preliminary exploration into the professional self-perceptions of Australian scientists from language backgrounds other than English, has now been published in the Journal of Science Communication.


You can read the entire text here (Open Access for the win!). Here is the abstract for you to read. Please do let me know in the comments or on Twitter what you think.

Scientists for whom English is not their first language report disadvantages with academic communication internationally. This case study explores preliminary evidence from non-Anglophone scientists in an Australian research organisation, where English is the first language. While the authors identified similarities with previous research, they found that scientists from non-Anglophone language backgrounds are limited by more than their level of linguistic proficiency in English. Academic science communication may be underpinned by perceptions of identity that are defined by the Anglocentric hegemony in science, which dictates not only how academic science is communicated but also who can communicate it.

Huttner-Koros, A. and Perera, S. (2016). ‘Communicating science in English: a preliminary exploration into the professional self-perceptions of Australian scientists from language backgrounds other than English’. JCOM 15 (06), A03.


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