Multilingualism within Scholarly Communication… | Balula |

Abstract:  It is undeniable that scholarly publication is boosted nowadays by the use of the English language, but this does not (and cannot) mean that the other languages have to be obliterated as scientific and cultural agents, equally valid and indispensable. Therefore, multilingualism is an expression of bibliodiversity that has to be protected and cherished, particularly in the area of  Social  Sciences  and  Humanities  (SSH),  a  field  in  which  culturally  and  societally  relevant  studies  are  made  in  local languages, when approaching areas such as cultural heritage, education, migration, public administration. The main goal of this paper is to present a literature review in order to identify the main aspects influencing language selection and the useof multilingualism within scholarly communication, allowing for putting forward recommendations for future initiatives aiming at enhancing multilingualism, particularly in connection with the opportunities deriving from Open Science.

Global Trends in Open Access: Themes from Africa, Asia and Latin America – The Scholarly Kitchen %

“The opportunity for researchers to share their findings and draw on the research findings of others is vital for researchers, policymakers and wider society. But all too often, the way that this process works is decided by relatively small numbers of countries and people –- often those based in the global North, in “elite” institutions or in large, commercial publishers.

Important voices can be missed and, as a result, important learning about what people have found already works around the world is not reflected in academia, policy decisions, and practice. 

In a recent Scholarly Kitchen webinar, I was delighted to be joined by great speakers from three continents, who are all experts in open access with different perspectives. This post summarizes some of the key themes discussed by Arianna Becerril García, who is based in Mexico, Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou, who is based in Cameroon, and Vrushali Dandawate, who is in India….”

Launch of Translate Science – Translate Science Blog

“Translate Science is an open volunteer group interested in improving the translation of the scientific literature. The group has come together to support work on tools, services and advocate for translating science….

Translated scientific articles open science to regular people, science enthusiasts, activists, advisors, trainers, consultants, architects, doctors, journalists, planners, administrators, technicians and scientists. Such a lower barrier to participating in science is especially important on topics such as climate change, environment, agriculture and health. The easier knowledge transfer goes both ways: people benefiting from scientific knowledge and people having knowledge scientists should know. Translations thus help both science and society. They aid innovation and tackling the big global challenges in the fields of climate change, agriculture and health….”

Manipulation of bibliometric data by editors of scientific journals

“Such misuse of terms not only justifies the erroneous practice of research bureaucracy of evaluating research performance on those terms but also encourages editors of scientific journals and reviewers of research papers to ‘game’ the bibliometric indicators. For instance, if a journal seems to lack adequate number of citations, the editor of that journal might decide to make it obligatory for its authors to cite papers from journal in question. I know an Indian journal of fairly reasonable quality in terms of several other criteria but can no longer consider it so because it forces authors to include unnecessary (that is plain false) citations to papers in that journal. Any further assessment of this journal that includes self-citations will lead to a distorted measure of its real status….

An average paper in the natural or applied sciences lists at least 10 references.1 Some enterprising editors have taken this number to be the minimum for papers submitted to their journals. Such a norm is enforced in many journals from Belarus, and we, authors, are now so used to that norm that we do not even realize the distortions it creates in bibliometric data. Indeed, I often notice that some authors – merely to meet the norm of at least 10 references – cite very old textbooks and Internet resources with URLs that are no longer valid. The average for a good paper may be more than 10 references, and a paper with fewer than 10 references may yet be a good paper (The first paper by Einstein did not have even one reference in its original version!). I believe that it is up to a peer reviewer to judge whether the author has given enough references and whether they are suitable, and it is not for a journal’s editor to set any mandatory quota for the number of references….

Some international journals intervene arbitrarily to revise the citations in articles they receive: I submitted a paper with my colleagues to an American journal in 2017, and one of the reviewers demanded that we replace references in Russian language with references in English. Two of us responded with a correspondence note titled ‘Don’t dismiss non-English citations’ that we had then submitted to Nature: in publishing that note, the editors of Nature removed some references – from the paper2 that condemned the practice of replacing an author’s references with those more to the editor’s liking – and replaced them with, maybe more relevant, reference to a paper that we had never read by that moment! … 

Editors of many international journals are now looking not for quality papers but for papers that will not lower the impact factor of their journals….”

“No Publication Favelas! Latin America’s Vision for Open Access” by Monica Berger | ACRL 2021 presentation

by Monica Berger, CUNY New York City College of Technology

Abstract: Open access was intended to be the great equalizer but its promise has not come to fruition in many lower-income countries of the Global South. Under-resourcing is only one of the many reasons why these scholars and publishers are marginalized. In order to examine inequality in our global scholarly communications system, we can compare a negative and a positive outgrowth of this imbalance. Predatory publishing represents a a weak imitation of traditional, commercial journal publishing. In contrast, Latin America’s community-based, quality scholarly infrastructure is anti-colonial. It can be argued that Latin America’s publishing infrastructure represents one solution to predatory publishing. As the future of open access is debated, it is critical that we look to Latin America as we support new models that reject legacy commercial journal publishing and support bibliodiversity.

Jeffrey Beall infamously called Brazil’s SciELO a “publishing favela” or slum. Yet Latin America represents an important exception to the problem of underdevelopment of scholarly communications in the Global South. In order to begin to better understand the marginalization of the Global South and Latin America’s success, we need to unpack the history of open access, its overemphasis on the reader as opposed to the author, and how notions of development influenced its discourse. This focus on the reader is neo-Colonialist, positioning scholars from the Global South as “downloaders” and not “uploaders,” whose scholarship is peripheral.

Lacking alternative publishing options, predatory publishing, or amateurish, low quality publishing, exploited this gap. In its pathetic imitation of international, corporate publishing, predatory publishing is neo-Colonial and a form of “faux” open access where subaltern authors, editors, and publishers poorly imitate Global North corporate publishing. Predatory publishing is a sad simulacra with real world damage. Since predatory publishing is overwhelming based in the Global South and many of its authors based in the Global South, it tarnishes the reputation of all scholarship from less developed countries. In contrast, predatory authorship and publishing are rare in Latin America.

Latin America is an exemplar of sustainable and humane open access. Heather Morrison deemed Latin American as a “long-time peerless leader in open access.” The advent of Plan S, a rapid flip to open access, is accelerating the co-option of open access by large, commercial publishers predicating a variety of negative outcomes. In contrast, the Latin American concept of bibliodiversity represents an important alternative model. No one size fits all and a local vision governs. Bibliodiversity interrogates the presumption that all scholarship must be English-language. It also values indigenous and local knowledge as well as lay readers. Redalyc and SciELO include measures for research collaboration. Various regional scholarly organizations cooperate, sharing expertise, providing training in editorial and technical best practices. This cooperation has expanded to a global scale. The Confederation of Open Access Repositories and SPARC are partnering with LA Referencia and others, expanding Latin America’s vision globally, generating a meaningful alternative model for open access.


Slides with talk transcript and sources as presented at the Association of College and Research Libraries conference, ACRL 2021: Ascending into an Open Future, held virtually, April 16, 2021.

What is “Open Access,” Really? – A Comic – HAZINE

“As a movement in information sciences, [OA] has been praised, but in our particular contexts, in mine as someone who lives in the Arabic-speaking world, I wonder about its limitations. What does “available for all” truly mean? 

What open access is can be defined by cultural factors, like language, history and even the significance of computer literacy. I presented on this with N.A. Mansour at the Digital Orientalisms Twitter Conference in 2020 in both Arabic and English. But we thought a visual medium might help us provoke thought on this issue even more. …”

What is “Open Access,” Really? – A Comic – HAZINE

“As a movement in information sciences, [OA] has been praised, but in our particular contexts, in mine as someone who lives in the Arabic-speaking world, I wonder about its limitations. What does “available for all” truly mean? 

What open access is can be defined by cultural factors, like language, history and even the significance of computer literacy. I presented on this with N.A. Mansour at the Digital Orientalisms Twitter Conference in 2020 in both Arabic and English. But we thought a visual medium might help us provoke thought on this issue even more. …”

Helsinki Initiative on Multilingualism in Scholarly Communication |

“Research is international. That’s the way we like it! Multilingualism keeps locally relevant research alive. Protect it! Disseminating research results in your own language creates impact. Endorse it! It is vital to interact with society and share knowledge beyond academia. Promote it! Infrastructure of scholarly communication in national languages is fragile. Don’t lose it!

The signatories of the Helsinki Initiative on Multilingualism in Scholarly Communication support the following recommendations to be adopted by policy-makers, leaders, universities, research institutions, research funders, libraries, and researchers:…”

Guest Post – The Words We Live By: Our Ideas and Values as the Catalyst for Action – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Like a choir singing in unison, we (scholarly communication professionals) resolutely lift our voices in support of advancing knowledge (enlightenment) for the benefit of humanity. And you can count me in! But remove the rosy lens for a second and consider how we measure the “for the benefit of humanity” part. One indicator that I explore throughout this self-reflection — global inequality — has gotten worse over time despite scientific advancements. We broadly discuss access; however, more open access (OA) publications or transformative agreements won’t solve humanity’s most pressing problems if living in a world society stricken by poverty and privilege remains the status quo….

Galvanize funders, publishers, and open infrastructure partners to expand language support for OA articles, preprints, datasets, and metadata. DOAJ could also play a key role in advancing language support by including language support elements in their indexing requirements….”