ESL Researchers – an Untapped Opportunity for Scholarly Publishers


Twenty years ago, the challenges in scientific publishing were in the areas of distribution, delivery and marketing. With digital revolution, the publishing landscape has altered, there are new kind of challenges that have cropped up, like fading relevancy of established publishers with internet empowered self publishing authors. While the challenges are posed by quasi free access to information, which drag down the relevance of traditional publishers, which in turn find it hard to manage the costs of all the processes. Publishing process have manifold layers in it, from acquiring content to editing to peer review, content polishing, printing, delivery and marketing. While technology enabled publishing services can chip away the load carried by in-house operations, there is another way publishers can look to consolidate their revenue.

English is the dominant language of scholarly communication, however almost 30% of researchers are from Eastern Asia while over 20 % are from the European Union, whereas less than 20% of the scientific journals published worldwide are non-English. What does this mean? Chinese, Japanese, Germans, French, Italian, Spanish and many other researchers who have English as a second language (ESL) have to communicate their ideas in English to get a global audience, and those non-english journals which carry valuable scientific information can’t be accessed by speakers of English or other languages. Translated manuscript can be free of errors, but still written in a way that makes it difficult to understand, poor at conveying the substance, and tedious to read. Such weaknesses can get in the way of having the manuscript accepted.

What if all the non-English content could be translated, edited, and the authors be provided with services connecting them to world of English journals. A vast amount of science and research could be available to the world, which hitherto was restricted to native speakers. And this is an opportunity for publishers and service providers to assist the ESL researchers, and acquire a large amount of scientific content for publication. And Edanz Group of Japan is doing exactly that, Edanz provides content acquisition services to publishers from different regions of the world, along with varied publishing and marketing services.

Edanz also provides an extensive authoring and publishing support to ESL researchers (who know their science but wouldn’t easily be able to communicate their findings in conventional academic publishing English and methods) and connects them to publishers in English language. Edanz provides translation, editing, journal selection and related services to these researchers.

As english remains the dominant language in international publishing, the question of why more than half of the researchers have to translate their work to English and is unanswered, but the other question of “why a large group of non-English researchers can’t be published in English” is an untapped opportunity for traditional publishers.