Publishing Research in English: Tips for Non-Native Speakers

Publishing research in English-language journals is a significant step for scholars seeking to contribute to the global academic community. However, for non-native English speakers, navigating the nuances of English writing and ensuring the clarity and accuracy of their manuscripts can be a daunting task. In this article, we provide essential tips to assist non-native speakers in successfully publishing their research in English.

Master English Grammar and Style

Fluency in English grammar and style is fundamental for effective scholarly communication. Non-native English speakers can enhance their writing by developing a strong foundation in these aspects. Here are essential tips to master English grammar and style:

  1. Learn Basic Grammar Rules: Begin with a thorough understanding of fundamental grammar rules, such as subject-verb agreement, verb tenses, and sentence structure. Clear sentences are the building blocks of coherent writing.

  2. Practice Sentence Variety: Experiment with different sentence structures to avoid monotony in your writing. Incorporate simple, compound, and complex sentences to convey information effectively.

  3. Use Active Voice: Prioritize active voice over passive voice to make your writing direct and engaging. Active voice ensures clarity by clearly attributing actions to subjects.

  4. Embrace Parallelism: Maintain parallel structure within sentences and lists. Parallelism enhances the flow of your writing and makes it easier for readers to follow your ideas.

  5. Punctuate Correctly: Master punctuation marks like commas, semicolons, and colons to guide readers through your sentences. Accurate punctuation enhances comprehension and eliminates ambiguity.

  6. Employ Appropriate Prepositions: Proper preposition usage is critical for conveying accurate meaning. Consult dictionaries or grammar guides to clarify the appropriate prepositions for specific contexts.

  7. Understand Word Usage: Develop a nuanced understanding of word meanings and their contexts. Be cautious of false cognates and words with multiple meanings that could lead to unintended errors.

  8. Expand Vocabulary: Enrich your vocabulary by learning new words regularly. A diverse vocabulary allows you to choose the most precise words to express your ideas.

  9. Read Extensively: Exposure to well-written English literature and academic papers can help you internalize correct grammar and style. Reading provides real-world examples of how language is used effectively.

  10. Seek Feedback: Request feedback from native English speakers or language experts. They can identify areas for improvement and offer guidance on grammar and style nuances.

  11. Utilize Grammar Resources: Online grammar resources, style guides, and grammar-check tools can be invaluable for enhancing your writing skills. They provide explanations and examples for common grammar questions.

  12. Edit Ruthlessly: Edit your work for grammar and style errors after writing each section. Revising as you go helps prevent accumulation of mistakes.

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Build a Strong Vocabulary

A robust vocabulary is a cornerstone of effective scholarly writing, enabling non-native English speakers to express complex ideas with precision and clarity. Elevating your vocabulary can significantly enhance your ability to communicate and engage readers. Here's how to build a strong vocabulary:

  1. Read Widely: Immerse yourself in a variety of English texts, including academic papers, literature, and news articles. Exposure to different writing styles exposes you to diverse vocabulary.

  2. Contextual Learning: Pay attention to how words are used within sentences and paragraphs. This contextual understanding helps you grasp the nuances of word meanings.

  3. Use a Thesaurus: A thesaurus is a valuable tool for discovering synonyms and expanding your word choices. However, use it judiciously to ensure that the selected word fits the context.

  4. Create Vocabulary Lists: Keep a personal vocabulary journal or digital list. Whenever you encounter unfamiliar words, write them down along with their definitions and examples of usage.

  5. Learn Discipline-Specific Terms: In academia, each discipline has its own set of technical terms. Familiarize yourself with these terms to accurately convey specialized concepts.

  6. Practice in Writing: Integrate new words into your writing to solidify your understanding. However, ensure that you use them appropriately and confidently.

  7. Understand Shades of Meaning: Pay attention to subtle differences in meanings between similar words. This understanding allows you to choose the most precise word for your context.

  8. Engage in Conversations: Regular conversations with fluent English speakers provide opportunities to practice using new vocabulary in context.

  9. Flashcards and Quizzes: Create flashcards with new words and their meanings. Regular self-quizzing reinforces your memory and retention of these words.

  10. Read Aloud: Pronouncing words correctly helps reinforce their meanings and proper usage. It also aids in identifying words you might struggle with.

  11. Learn Affixes: Study prefixes and suffixes to understand how word roots combine to create meaning. This knowledge allows you to deduce meanings of unfamiliar words.

  12. Contextual Vocabulary Apps: Use vocabulary-building apps that provide word lists and quizzes based on various themes and difficulty levels.

Building a strong vocabulary is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort. By immersing yourself in English texts, actively incorporating new words into your writing, and seeking opportunities to use them in conversation, you'll enhance your ability to express intricate concepts and ideas clearly in your research manuscripts.

Seek Language Assistance

For non-native English speakers, seeking professional language assistance can be a game-changing strategy to elevate the quality of research manuscripts. Engaging the services of skilled language editors or proofreaders can bridge the language gap and ensure that your writing meets the highest standards. Here's why and how to seek language assistance:

  1. Enhanced Clarity: Language experts have a keen eye for clarity and coherence. They can identify and rectify sentence structures, awkward phrasing, and ambiguities that may arise due to language barriers.

  2. Grammar and Style Polish: Language editors ensure that your writing adheres to English grammar rules and appropriate academic style. This meticulous editing enhances the overall readability and professionalism of your manuscript.

  3. Cultural Sensitivity: Professional editors are sensitive to cultural nuances and ensure that your content is culturally appropriate and resonates with your target audience.

  4. Accuracy and Precision: Language experts correct errors in word usage, ensuring that your manuscript accurately conveys your intended meaning. They help you avoid misinterpretations that can arise from language mishaps.

  5. Adherence to Guidelines: Journal submission guidelines can be complex, and adherence to these guidelines is crucial for acceptance. Language editors familiarize themselves with journal requirements, ensuring your manuscript meets all specifications.

  6. Value for Time and Effort: As a researcher, your time is precious. Entrusting language editing to professionals allows you to focus on refining the content and methodology of your research.

  7. Peer Review Simulation: Language editors simulate the peer-review process by assessing your manuscript's readiness for publication. Their feedback helps you address potential reviewer concerns beforehand.

  8. Confidence Boost: Publishing research in English can be daunting, but with a professionally edited manuscript, you gain the confidence that your work is impeccably presented.

To seek language assistance effectively:

  • Choose Reputable Services: Research and select well-established language editing services with a track record of serving non-native English speakers.

  • Provide Clear Instructions: Communicate your specific requirements to the editor. Highlight any areas you're particularly concerned about, such as discipline-specific terminology.

  • Review Changes: After editing, review the changes made by the editor. This helps you understand the improvements and enhances your language skills for future writing.

  • Collaborate with Your Editor: Engage in a dialogue with your editor. Ask questions and seek clarifications to improve your understanding of language nuances.

Language assistance empowers non-native English speakers to convey their research with eloquence and precision. By enlisting professional language editors, you ensure that your research manuscript stands on a solid linguistic foundation, enabling your ideas to shine through, irrespective of language barriers.

Follow Journal Guidelines

Adhering to the specific guidelines of your target journal is a critical step in the publication process for non-native English speakers. Journal guidelines outline the formatting, structure, and submission requirements that ensure your manuscript is considered for publication. Here's why and how to meticulously follow these guidelines:

  1. First Impression: Journal editors receive numerous submissions daily. Adhering to guidelines demonstrates your professionalism and respect for their time, making a positive first impression.

  2. Prevent Rejections: Deviating from guidelines can lead to automatic rejection. Journal editors often view non-compliance as an indicator of a lack of attention to detail.

  3. Uniformity and Readability: Guidelines maintain uniformity across articles, enhancing the journal's visual appeal and readability. A consistent format helps readers navigate your research effortlessly.

  4. Compliance with Ethical Standards: Guidelines may include ethical considerations and disclosure requirements. Following these ensures transparency and ethical publishing practices.

To follow journal guidelines effectively:

  • Thoroughly Read Guidelines: Carefully read and understand the journal's author guidelines before you start writing. Note specific instructions on font, margins, headings, citations, references, and other elements.

  • Use Journal Templates: Many journals provide templates that adhere to their guidelines. Using these templates simplifies formatting and ensures compliance.

  • Cite Correctly: Follow the journal's preferred citation style (APA, MLA, etc.). Accurate citations showcase your diligence and contribute to the credibility of your work.

  • Reference Formatting: Pay attention to reference formatting, including the correct order, punctuation, and italics. Inaccurate referencing can lead to manuscript rejection.

  • Figure and Table Guidelines: Ensure that figures and tables are formatted according to the journal's specifications. Accurate labeling and placement enhance the visual appeal of your manuscript.

  • Word Limits: Stick to the prescribed word limits for different sections. Conciseness is valued in scholarly writing and adhering to word limits showcases your ability to convey ideas succinctly.

  • Cover Letter: Draft a concise cover letter that adheres to the journal's guidelines. The cover letter is your opportunity to introduce your research and explain its significance.

  • Submission Platform: Use the journal's designated submission platform. Provide all required documents, including supplementary materials, in the correct formats.

By meticulously following journal guidelines, non-native English speakers can ensure that their research manuscript aligns with the journal's requirements. This attention to detail enhances the chances of successful submission, peer review, and eventual publication, contributing to the broader dissemination of their research findings.

Seek Peer Feedback

For non-native English speakers aiming to publish their research in English-language journals, seeking peer feedback before submission is a valuable strategy. Engaging with colleagues and mentors can provide insights that enhance the quality and clarity of your manuscript. Here's why and how to seek peer feedback effectively:

  1. Fresh Perspective: Peers can offer a fresh perspective on your work. They may identify areas where clarity is needed or where language could be improved.

  2. Grammar and Language: Colleagues proficient in English can identify grammatical errors, phrasing issues, and awkward sentence structures that might have gone unnoticed.

  3. Cultural Sensitivity: Peers can point out cultural nuances that may need clarification or modification for a broader international readership.

  4. Conceptual Understanding: Feedback from peers ensures that your research findings are presented coherently and align with disciplinary conventions.

To seek peer feedback effectively:

  • Select Trusted Peers: Choose colleagues or mentors who have a strong command of English and a good understanding of your research area. They should be able to provide constructive feedback.

  • Communicate Specific Requests: Clearly outline the areas you'd like feedback on, whether it's language, clarity, flow, or specific concepts.

  • Provide Context: Offer a brief overview of your research, highlighting key findings and the significance of your work. This context helps peers grasp the essence of your manuscript.

  • Feedback Exchange: Consider offering to provide feedback on their work in return. A reciprocal arrangement fosters a supportive and collaborative environment.

  • Be Open to Critique: Approach feedback with an open mind. Constructive criticism is an opportunity for growth and improvement.

  • Iterative Process: Incorporate the feedback you receive into your manuscript. Revise and refine your writing based on the suggestions provided.

Seeking peer feedback can significantly enhance the quality of your manuscript and your ability to communicate your research effectively. By harnessing the insights of colleagues, you position yourself for success in the competitive world of academic publishing, regardless of your native language.

Practice Concise Writing

Concise writing is a hallmark of effective scholarly communication, especially for non-native English speakers aiming to publish their research in English-language journals. Clear and succinct writing not only enhances reader comprehension but also demonstrates your mastery over the language. Here's why and how to practice concise writing:

  1. Clarity of Ideas: Concise writing forces you to distill complex ideas into their core components, promoting greater clarity. It minimizes the risk of misinterpretation.

  2. Reader Engagement: Busy researchers and readers appreciate concise writing. It allows them to grasp your research findings efficiently.

  3. Respect for Word Limits: Many journals impose word limits on manuscripts. Concise writing helps you adhere to these limits while still conveying your research effectively.

  4. Avoid Ambiguity: Lengthy sentences can lead to ambiguity. Concise writing encourages the use of clear and precise language.

To practice concise writing effectively:

  • Edit Ruthlessly: After drafting your manuscript, review it with a critical eye. Identify redundant phrases, unnecessary adverbs, and repetitive ideas.

  • Use Active Voice: Passive voice can make sentences wordier. Opt for active voice to make your writing more direct and engaging.

  • Cut Filler Words: Words like "very," "quite," and "really" often add little value. Remove them to tighten your prose.

  • Avoid Repetition: Repeating the same information using different words can inflate your word count. Stick to the point.

  • Use Strong Verbs: Choose strong verbs that convey your ideas succinctly. They eliminate the need for excessive adjectives.

  • Limit Modifiers: While modifiers add depth, excessive use can clutter your writing. Select only the most impactful ones.

  • Substitute Long Phrases: Replace long phrases with shorter alternatives. This streamlines your writing without sacrificing meaning.

  • Condense Sentences: Break long sentences into shorter ones. This aids comprehension and maintains reader engagement.

  • Read Aloud: Reading your manuscript aloud helps identify areas where sentences can be tightened and phrasing improved.

Practicing concise writing requires diligence and a willingness to revise. By honing this skill, non-native English speakers can craft manuscripts that are both compelling and precise, facilitating their journey toward successful publication in English-language journals.

Utilize Language Tools

For non-native English speakers aspiring to publish their research in English-language journals, the use of language tools can be a valuable aid. These tools offer grammar checks, style suggestions, and language enhancements that help bridge the gap between language proficiency levels. Here's how to effectively utilize language tools:

  1. Grammar and Spell Checkers: Online grammar and spell checkers, such as Grammarly and ProWritingAid, can catch common errors, improving the overall correctness of your writing.

  2. Style Suggestions: Some tools provide style suggestions that align with academic writing conventions. They help ensure your manuscript adheres to the expected scholarly tone.

  3. Vocabulary Enhancement: Language tools offer synonyms and vocabulary suggestions, enhancing the richness of your language while avoiding repetition.

  4. Sentence Structure: These tools can highlight convoluted sentence structures, enabling you to simplify and clarify your writing.

To effectively utilize language tools:

  • Choose Reliable Tools: Opt for reputable tools known for accuracy and thoroughness. Avoid solely relying on automated suggestions.

  • Understand Suggestions: Language tools offer suggestions, but it's important to understand the context. Evaluate each suggestion before accepting it.

  • Be Critical: Use language tools as a supplement, not a replacement, for your writing skills. Cross-reference their suggestions with your understanding.

  • Customization: Some tools allow you to customize settings based on your writing style and goals. Adjust the tool to suit your specific needs.

  • Proofread: Even with language tools, proofreading is essential. Tools might miss nuanced errors that a human eye can catch.

  • Learn: As you use language tools, pay attention to the types of errors they highlight. This can be a learning opportunity to improve your language skills.

Language tools can provide valuable assistance, especially during the initial drafting and editing stages. However, keep in mind that these tools are aids, not replacements, for your own language proficiency. Utilize them strategically to refine your manuscript and ensure it meets the standards of English-language journal publications.

Edit and Revise Diligently

For non-native English speakers seeking to publish their research in English-language journals, diligent editing and revising are essential steps in the writing process. Rigorous editing ensures that your manuscript is polished, coherent, and aligned with scholarly writing standards. Here's how to approach editing and revision effectively:

  1. Initial Drafting: Once you've completed your manuscript, take a break before diving into the editing process. This helps you approach your work with fresh eyes.

  2. Global and Local Edits: Begin with global edits, focusing on structure, organization, and overall coherence. Then, move on to local edits that address sentence-level issues.

  3. Language Clarity: Ensure that your writing is clear and straightforward. Remove ambiguity and convoluted language that might confuse readers.

  4. Grammatical Accuracy: Pay meticulous attention to grammar, punctuation, and spelling. These errors can detract from the credibility of your research.

  5. Consistent Style: Maintain consistent style throughout your manuscript. Check headings, citations, references, and formatting against the journal's guidelines.

  6. Sentence Fluency: Vary sentence lengths and structures to create a smooth flow of ideas. Avoid excessively long or convoluted sentences.

  7. Peer Review: Consider seeking feedback from colleagues or mentors. Their input can provide valuable perspectives on clarity and coherence.

  8. Read Aloud: Reading your manuscript aloud can help identify awkward phrasing, grammatical errors, and issues with overall readability.

  9. Proofreading: After editing, proofread meticulously. Carefully check for any lingering errors, particularly those that might have been introduced during the editing process.

  10. Multiple Rounds: Editing and revising are iterative processes. Repeat the editing cycle multiple times to ensure your manuscript is refined to its best form.

To edit and revise diligently:

  • Create a Checklist: Develop a checklist of editing tasks to systematically address different aspects of your manuscript.

  • Focus on One Aspect at a Time: Avoid trying to fix all issues in a single round. Focus on specific elements, such as grammar, clarity, or formatting, in each editing pass.

  • Take Breaks: Space out your editing sessions to maintain objectivity and avoid fatigue.

  • Seek Professional Help: Consider hiring a professional editor proficient in academic writing. Their expertise can elevate the quality of your manuscript.

By approaching editing and revision with dedication, non-native English speakers can refine their manuscripts into polished and coherent pieces of academic writing. A well-edited manuscript not only enhances the chances of publication but also communicates research findings effectively to the wider academic community.

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Practice Regularly

For non-native English speakers striving to publish their research in English-language journals, consistent practice is a foundational strategy for improving language proficiency and academic writing skills. Regular practice hones your ability to convey complex ideas clearly and accurately. Here's why and how to make practice a part of your routine:

  1. Language Development: Regular writing practice enhances your vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. As you tackle various topics, you become more adept at expressing nuanced concepts.

  2. Confidence Building: Consistent practice boosts your confidence in using English for academic communication. Over time, you'll feel more comfortable articulating your ideas.

  3. Adaptation to Scholarly Tone: Regular engagement with academic writing helps you internalize the formal tone and style required for research manuscripts.

  4. Time Management: Regular practice improves your writing efficiency, enabling you to draft and edit manuscripts more effectively.

To incorporate regular practice:

  • Set Writing Goals: Establish achievable writing goals, such as writing a certain number of words per day or dedicating specific time slots to writing practice.

  • Explore Diverse Topics: Write on a variety of subjects to broaden your vocabulary and become adept at conveying diverse ideas.

  • Maintain a Journal: Keep a personal journal in English. This practice not only enhances writing skills but also serves as a reflective exercise.

  • Engage in Peer Groups: Form or join peer writing groups where members share their writing and provide feedback. This collaborative approach accelerates learning.

  • Read Widely: Regular reading exposes you to different writing styles and genres. Analyze sentence structures, word choices, and argument development.

  • Seek Feedback: Regularly solicit feedback from peers, mentors, or writing tutors. Constructive criticism helps you identify areas for improvement.

  • Revise and Analyze: After writing, revise your work critically. Analyze your own writing for areas of improvement and incorporate the lessons learned.

  • Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge your improvements over time. Celebrate milestones, such as submitting your first manuscript or achieving greater clarity in your writing.

Practicing writing regularly is a gradual journey toward enhanced language proficiency and academic prowess. By dedicating time and effort to consistent practice, non-native English speakers can overcome language barriers and confidently contribute their research findings to the global academic discourse.


Publishing research in English is an attainable goal for non-native speakers. By honing your language skills, seeking expert assistance, and adhering to best practices, you can overcome language barriers and ensure the quality of your submissions. Remember that perseverance and continuous improvement are key to achieving success in the competitive realm of scholarly publication.

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