Havin Books and Window g taught in countries where English is not the first language of my students, I genuinely appreciate the trepidation they experience when writing academic work in the English language. However, it is not only students who experience this. Many of my former colleagues suffered similarl y when they sought to publish their research in English language journals. Other than becoming more proficient in the English language, there is little that can be done to overcome these feelings. To the authors, whose mother tongue is something other than English, I would like to give y ou my thoughts on how you may improve your prospects of being published in the English language.

1) Understand your audience

The starting point, as with any attempt at publication irrespective of language, is to understand your audience ; that is the people who you want to write for. For academics, practitioners, and others who simply want to share their knowledge or experiences, there are potentially different audiences each of whom should be addressed differently in your writing style. If you are writing for a professional audience, then the style of writing will be more journalistic than if you are writing for an academic audience.

2) Get feedback on your work

Once this decision is made, the next step is to target an appropriate journal or , perhaps, a conference to get some feedback on your work before sending it off to a journal. This is not a bad idea because many conferences have made arrangements with particular journals to consider papers presented at the conference for further development and publication. As an example, the International Conference on Leadership, Management and Governance has such arrangements with:

  • Leadership & Organizational Development Journal published by Emerald ISSN: 0143-7739
  • International Journal of Complexity in Leadership and Management published by
    Inderscience ISSNs - online : 1759-0264 and print : 1759-0256
  • Electronic Journal of Management, Leadership and Governance published by ACPIL

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3) Select an appropriate journal

Now, to the issue of appropriate journals. In any field of endeavor, there are far too many to list here. However, some things you should bear in mind when deciding where to try to publish your work. First, you need to understand the general theme of the journal . This often reflects the interests of the editor. If your work does not match those interests, it will most probably not be considered. Second, you cannot send your work to more than one journal at a time. Most journals have policies that are very explicit on this point, and you will be required to confirm that you have not done that as a condition of your submission. Third, it may take quite some time before your work is accepted and is actually published. As an example, articles submitted to, and accepted for publication in, the Journal of Management in March 2013, and The Journal of Finance in September 2014 are yet to be published. Can you wait that long, or will your work be out-of-date by the time it is published? If not, then this is not a target journal for you. Taking this time factor into consideration, you may prefer to look for quicker publication in a less reputable, although equally professional journal. Finally, you should also bear in mind that most journals now charge a fee for submission or publication, which is a further expense you will incur in looking for that elusive publication.

4) Understand the journal’s formatting guidelines

Once you identified a target journal, it is important to understand their style guidelines to make sure your work fully complies with them. Nowhere is this more important than in the referencing convention the journal uses.

5) Choose the language of your first draft

Perhaps, the biggest decision you have to make comes now.

In what language do you write the first draft of your work?

I know, you want to publish in an English language journal. However, are you sufficiently familiar with the language to write a well-structured and informative paper? If not, then I would suggest you write the first draft of your paper in your mother tongue. At least then, you will have the content written and organized in the best possible way. When complete, you can arrange for your work to be translated by a friend or colleague who is more proficient in English than you or by a professional translator. An indication of the cost is US$100 per 1,000 words depending on the language involved. This should be considered a good investment to give your work the best chance of being published.

However, if you feel confident enough to write in English, please remember to read through your work thoroughly to correct any typographical and grammatical errors. The very least you ought to do in this case is to have your work proofread by a native English speaking person before submission. This is a standard requirement for many journals these days. If it has not been done, then your work will very likely receive a negative review and, as such, will not be considered for publication.

6) Explain all concepts

Now we come to the actual writing. I am sure you are very competent on the topic that you write about. However, the reader may not be. Thus, it is essential that all the relevant concepts and underlying principles are emphasized with enough background information to orient any reader who is not a specialist in your subject area.

7) Understand the review process

Having completed your work and submitted it to a journal for consideration to be published , it will first be looked at by the editor to confirm that it meets the journal’s standards. If it does, it will be sent out to one or more specialists in your field to conduct a blind review . By blind review I mean that the reviewers do not know who you are, and neither will you know who the reviewers are. Comments by the reviewers will be summarized and sent back to you with a decision on whether to publish your work. This decision is usually one of three options – accept, accept with amendment, or reject . If you receive an “accept with amendment”, it is your choice whether you revise your work in line with the reviewers’ comments. If you choose not to, then your work will not be published in that particular journal. A word of caution here – if your work has been rejected, do not simply send it off to another journal for consideration. It is quite possible that a reviewer for the first journal may also be a reviewer for the second, and they do have good memories!

Getting published in the English language can be a daunting task.

However, it is very rewarding when you finally achieve that publication.

Good luck with your journey and I trust the points I have raised make it an easier one for you.

About the author:

Geoff Turner, Ph.D. Dr. Geoff Turner is an advisor, author and lecturer in the fields of Corporate Governance, Financial, Operational, Risk and Strategic Management. He is currently the Managing Partner of Park Advisory LLP and a Principal Business Architect with iProcess AG .

He has published various books, academic papers and praxis-oriented articles on various issues related to financial, knowledge, and strategic management as well as performance measurement. He has more than 40 years of global business experience in both advisory and management positions in large and medium enterprises. As a result of his expertise, Dr. Turner has conducted a number of professional development seminars and workshops and is frequently invited to speak and moderate concurrent sessions at international conferences. Dr Turner presently lives in London and is a member of the executive committee for a number of European and International conferences.

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