New paper in PLOS Biology

New paper in PLOS Biology

We are thrilled to announce our new publication “The manifold costs of being a non-native English speaker in science” in PLOS Biology.

In this paper we surveyed 908 environmental scientists from eight countries (Bangladesh, Bolivia, Japan, Nepal, Nigeria, Spain, Ukraine and the UK) with different linguistic and economic backgrounds, and compared the amount of effort required by individual researchers to conduct a variety of scientific activities in English.

The survey revealed clear and substantial disadvantages for non-native English speakers. Compared to native English speakers, non-native English speakers need up to twice as much time to read and write papers and prepare presentations in English. Papers written by non-native English speakers are 2.5 times more likely to be rejected and 12.5 times more likely to receive a request for revision, simply due to the written English. Many of them also give up attending and presenting at international conferences because they are not confident communicating in English.

We also propose potential solutions that can be adopted by individuals, institutions, journals, funders, and conferences.

This is another product by an amazing team of coauthors. We would like to thank all the collaborators and even more importantly, everyone who participated in the survey (~ 1000 scientists from the eight countries) and shared their struggles and frustrations caused by language barriers, and stories of their efforts to overcome them.

Read the paper here, our Conversation article, and coverage by Nature and Science.