Proposal that research should be published multilingually

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue Aug 21 13:40:39 UTC 2007


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A glance at the current issue of the *International Journal of Applied
Linguistics:* The language of research

Scholars should be encouraged to submit the same research findings in
different languages to multiple international journals, say Qiufang Wen, a
linguist at Beijing Foreign Studies University, and Yihong Gao, an associate
professor of sociolinguistics, language, and culture at Peking University.
Some academics, they write, "believe that submission of the same research
findings in different languages is a violation of academic ethics," that it
"constitutes self-plagiarism."

The authors agree that duplicate publication should be condemned when the
"new" publication varies in only slight details, "such as title, abstract,
introduction, and interpretation." But papers that are published in multiple
languages are unique, they argue, because "different languages involve
different norms of writing." When translating a paper from Chinese to
English, for instance, "very often we need to provide more general and
specific background information, to double or triple the size of the
literature review, and to reframe the discussion, conclusion, and
pedagogical implications, so as to target a different set of readers and
reposition the research in an international context," say the authors.

"Instead of being forbidden," they argue, the practice should "be encouraged
so as to maximize the effectiveness of academic communication and equalize
the rights of creating, distributing, and accessing knowledge." "If we
believe the ethic that all languages are created equal, and speakers of all
languages have equal rights in knowledge creation and transmission, it
follows that research findings originated in different local settings have
equal value and should have equal access to publication in the world lingua
franca," add the authors. "This is certainly not the case at present."

The article,<>"Dual
Publication and Academic Inequality," is available to subscribers of
for purchase through Blackwell Synergy.


Harold F. Schiffman

Email:  haroldfs at

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