A widely recognized source of inequity in scholarly publishing is the lack of geographic diversity among editors, peer reviewers, and authors in US-based journals. The roots of this problem are vast and deep, reflecting histories of colonialism and the persistently insular nature of academic social networks.
Language and translation
One of the most obvious barriers for international authorship and readership is that most US journals require that manuscripts are submitted in English, but journals typically do not support translation. This presents a challenge for international scholars seeking a broader audience or responding to university and funding agency pressure to publish in highly cited journals. Consider if it is feasible for your journal to:
- Translate your website, policies, and calls for papers into multiple languages. For editors publishing on Florida Online Journals, OJS (which powers the Florida OJ site) allows for easy toggling to a multi-language site. While added content of the site (like articles and editorial policies) will not be automatically translated, autogenerated content (like headers and navigation bars) will.
- Publish articles in languages other than English.
- Translate abstracts, summaries, and tables of contents into multiple languages.
- Provide or refer authors to affordable, reputable editing services.
Cost to read or publish
The high cost of journal subscriptions and the fundamental principle that research—especially publicly funded research—should be freely available has given rise to the open access movement. However, as journals have lowered their paywalls to allow open readership, many have adopted a business model that requires authors and their institutions to pay fees (often called article processing charges or APCs) in order to publish. This disadvantages scholars from less-resourced institutions or fields who wish to disseminate their research openly, but frequently lack funding to do so. To better support inclusive practice, the LibraryPress@UF has established a policy to no longer accept journals that charge such fees.
In the long term, developing a reputation as a generous partner to international researchers may lead to richer collaboration. For instance, could you suggest a co-published special issue or offer to serve as a reviewer or translator? What about inviting international peers to participate on your journal’s editorial board? Seeking out authors and editorial staff from established or emerging publications led by international scholars is a good starting point. Consider the Directory of Open Access Journals as one place to find open access titles by discipline, language, and country of publication.
University of Florida Spotlight
- In 2017, an interdisciplinary team of UF researchers published “A persistent lack of international representation on editorial boards in environmental biology” in the open-access journal PLOS Biology. The article found that while the number of countries represented on 23 journals in the field increased from 1985-2014, only a small number of editors come from countries in the Global South.
- Distinguished Professor Emerita Carmen Deere has conducted extensive research on the publishing ecosystems of Latin America and the Caribbean in the context of international scholarly communication. In her 2018 essay “The Practice of Latin American Studies: The Dilemmas of Scholarly Communication,” Deere outlines major challenges both for Latin American scholars as well as journals in the U.S. seeking greater collaboration and inclusion.
References and resources
Curry, M.J., & Lillis, T. (2018, March 13). The dangers of English as lingua franca of journals. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2018/03/13/domination-english-language-journal-publishing-hurting-scholarship-many-countries
Gewin, V. (2018, August 14). Top tips for building and maintaining international collaborations. Nature. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05944-x
Yun Low, W., Ting Tong, W., & Gunasegaran, V. (2014). Constraints in journal publishing and international research collaboration in the Asia Pacific Region. International Journal of Information Science and Management (IJISM), Dec. 2014, 13-19. https://ijism.ricest.ac.ir/index.php/ijism/article/view/697