Academic publishing and the myth of linguistic injustice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access permissions





Organisational units


Academic publication now dominates the lives of academics across the globe who must increasingly submit their research for publication in high profile English language journals to move up the career ladder. The dominance of English in academic publishing, however, has raised questions of communicative inequality and the possible 'linguistic injustice' against an author's mother tongue. Native English speakers are thought to have an advantage as they acquire the language naturalistically while second language users must invest more time, effort and money into formally learning it and may experience greater difficulties when writing in English. Attitude surveys reveal that English as an Additional Language authors often believe that editors and referees are prejudiced against them for any non-standard language. In this paper, I critically review the evidence for linguistic injustice through a survey of the literature and interviews with scholars working in Hong Kong. I argue that framing publication problems as a crude Native vs non-Native polarization not only draws on an outmoded respect for 'Native speaker' competence but serves to demoralizes EAL writers and marginalize the difficulties experienced by novice L1 English academics. The paper, then, is a call for a more inclusive and balanced view of academic publishing.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-69
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Second Language Writing
Early online date18 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


    Research areas

  • Academic publishing, EAL writers, Linguistic injustice, Peer review

Downloads statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

ID: 125947244

Related by author
  1. Pithy persuasion”: engagement in 3-minute theses

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. “I believe the findings are fascinating”: stance in Three-Minute Theses

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. The Covid infodemic: Competition and the hyping of virus research

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal
  1. Language myths and publishing mysteries: A response to Politzer-Ahles et al.

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

  2. Chinese academics writing for publication: English teachers as text mediators

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Second language writing: The manufacture of a social fact

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

  4. Changing currents in second language writing research: A colloquium

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article