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CHALLENGES FACED BY NON -NATIVE WRITERS IN PUBLISHING PAPERS IN REPUTED ENGLISH LANGUAGE JOURNALS PJAEE, 17 (4) (2020)

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Abstract

Publication of a paper or article in a journal is a common practice. However, publication in a peer reviewed online journal is more difficult due to journals' guidelines and publication criteria. But, publication of a paper of English language seems to be extremely difficult in reputed or highly indexed journals. Every researcher or writer faces problems in quality publications, but a non-native author of English language related papers faces huge problems due to probability of manuscript rejection for many reasons including 'non-native' case. It has been felt that some editors out rightly reject one's manuscript without giving due attention that deprives the author of a second stage review of his manuscript. There are many publishing criteria for considerations of sending a manuscript for 'peer-reviews' in disciplines like medical sciences, sciences and computer sciences where non-native authors' papers are easily published despite the language quality which may not be at par. On the other hand, despite quality content and appropriate methodology, papers tend to get rejected at first and later peer review stage possibly due to the non-native issue. In other words, ownership of English seems to become a problem in consideration of even a genuine manuscript. The present paper is a qualitative-analytical study into challenges which non-native writers face in the process of publication of their manuscripts CHALLENGES FACED BY NON-NATIVE WRITERS IN PUBLISHING PAPERS IN REPUTED ENGLISH LANGUAGE JOURNALS PJAEE, 17 (4) (2020) 1577 in the field on English language or English language education. Data gathered through interviews have been thematically analyzed, and duly supported by the literature review. The findings will support the future authors to be alert while submitting manuscripts to reputed journals, avoid rejection and possible publications. INTRODUCTION Higher education focuses on teaching as well research. In other words, research along with teaching is always welcome and appreciated. On the other hand, teaching based researches such as action research are also an important component of academics which may attribute to intellectual grooming, research related growth and professional development. Most importantly, quality research publication is one of the indicators of academic excellence, and righty considered as main tool of development of research-based knowledge (Ligthelm & Koekemoer, 2009). Writing for academic journals is considered a highly competitive and intellectual activity which follows certain tough criteria and standard as regards to selection of a research paper for publication. Publications of papers related to English language/English language education becomes more difficult as some editors check the language quality and out rightly reject the manuscript without sending for second stage review. Hence, it should be kept in mind that the submitted manuscript can match a good standard if the language is not of a very high quality, expressive enough, however. Moreover, the language style of second language writers always differ from the native ones.
CHALLENGES FACED BY NON -NATIVE WRITERS IN PUBLISHING PAPERS IN REPUTED ENGLISH LANGUAGE JOURNALS
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CHALLENGES FACED BY NON-NATIVE WRITERS IN PUBLISHING
PAPERS IN REPUTED ENGLISH LANGUAGE JOURNALS
Fariha Asif1, Azza Jauhar Ahmad Tajuddin2, Intakhab A. Khan3
1King Abdulaziz university, Jeddah-Saudi Arabia.
2Center of Fundamental and Continuing Education, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Malaysia.
3King Abdulaziz university, Jeddah-Saudi Arabia.
Corresponding Author : Email: 1fasif@kau.edu.sa ,
2azzajauhar@utm.edu.my, 3ikhan1@kau.edu.sa
ABSTRACT
Publication of a paper or article in a journal is a common practice. However, publication in a
peer reviewed online journal is more difficult due to journals’ guidelines and publication criteria.
But, publication of a paper of English language seems to be extremely difficult in reputed or
highly indexed journals. Every researcher or writer faces problems in quality publications, but a
non-native author of English language related papers faces huge problems due to probability of
manuscript rejection for many reasons including ‘non-native’ case. It has been felt that some
editors out rightly reject one’s manuscript without giving due attention that deprives the author
of a second stage review of his manuscript. There are many publishing criteria for considerations
of sending a manuscript for ‘peer- reviews’ in disciplines like medical sciences, sciences and
computer sciences where non-native authors’ papers are easily published despite the language
quality which may not be at par. On the other hand, despite quality content and appropriate
methodology, papers tend to get rejected at first and later peer review stage possibly due to the
non-native issue. In other words, ownership of English seems to become a problem in
consideration of even a genuine manuscript. The present paper is a qualitative-analytical study
into challenges which non-native writers face in the process of publication of their manuscripts
Fariha Asif, Azza Jauhar Ahmad Tajuddin, Intakhab A. Khan. Challenges Faced By
Non -Native Writers In Publishing Papers In Reputed English Language Journals--
Palarch’s Journal Of Archaeology Of Egypt/Egyptology 17(4), 1576-1591. ISSN 1567-
214x
Keywords: Challenges, Indexed Journals, Publishing Criteria, Non Native, Manuscript
Rejection
CHALLENGES FACED BY NON -NATIVE WRITERS IN PUBLISHING PAPERS IN REPUTED ENGLISH LANGUAGE JOURNALS
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in the field on English language or English language education. Data gathered through interviews
have been thematically analyzed, and duly supported by the literature review. The findings will
support the future authors to be alert while submitting manuscripts to reputed journals, avoid
rejection and possible publications.
INTRODUCTION
Higher education focuses on teaching as well research. In other words, research
along with teaching is always welcome and appreciated. On the other hand,
teaching based researches such as action research are also an important
component of academics which may attribute to intellectual grooming, research
related growth and professional development. Most importantly, quality research
publication is one of the indicators of academic excellence, and righty considered
as main tool of development of research-based knowledge (Ligthelm &
Koekemoer, 2009). Writing for academic journals is considered a highly
competitive and intellectual activity which follows certain tough criteria and
standard as regards to selection of a research paper for publication. Publications
of papers related to English language/English language education becomes more
difficult as some editors check the language quality and out rightly reject the
manuscript without sending for second stage review. Hence, it should be kept in
mind that the submitted manuscript can match a good standard if the language is
not of a very high quality, expressive enough, however. Moreover, the language
style of second language writers always differs from the native ones.
Purpose of the study
The need of research in the present area was felt by the researchers as personal
experience. It is really very challenging to get papers published in reputed top
journals. However, it becomes harder to succeed in publication if the author is
non-native. It seems that the editors develop a biased approach towards writing of
second language authors even without reading the manuscript. And, if the papers
are accepted, there is a mandatory comment to get the paper checked by a native
speaker, the native speaker might not be able to produce even single paper of
quality, though. Such issues motivated the authors to undertake such a study
which could explore certain phenomenon in the present context.
Problem statement
Research and publications are inseparable and essential activity in the domain of
higher education without which an individual can neither earn a higher degree nor
prove his accomplishment in academics. On the other hand, it is noteworthy that
publishing an English language paper in reputed journals is also not an easy task
especially when the author belongs to non-native speaker category. Despite the
fact that all journals have prescribed criteria, some non- native researchers of
English language/linguistics have a rough idea that they pass through a tougher
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scrutiny due to the reason that they are not the native speakers/writers. However,
it is equally difficult to validate such perceptions because in other disciplines such
as sciences, medical and computer researches, Indian and Chinese researchers
have already taken the lead.
Problems in publishing
There are many problems and obstacles in the process of writing a manuscript,
submitting and finally getting through. Certain procedures are involved in the
form of approval from a board of technical and/or scientific committee which is
carefully constituted by renowned journals. The members of this committee
minutely peruse the research paper before publication and give its report. Blind
peer-review system makes the selection criteria transparent.
The scientific and technical committees review the paper individually and submit
their report about the quality, standard and authenticity of paper. Sometimes, the
paper is published on their recommendations, but in case it is not publishable, the
paper is rejected with proper feedback and suggestions of various types. After the
submission of technical/scientific committee’s report, the decision for publishing
the paper or not publishing is announced. It is important to understand that there
could be several reasons behind a rejection. If someone faces an issue, it is not
specific with him. It’s a common issue associated with manuscript rejection
at EJIS and other top notch journals mainly due to insufficient theoretical
contribution (Venkatesh, 2006; Straub, 2009).
Researchers like Flower dew (2001) have studied sensitive issues like the
handling editors’ attitude and approach to the contributions made by the
nonnative writers. Scholars from non-native countries have felt certain indifferent
attitudes of some native editors. Recently, one of the authors of this paper was
assigned a responsibility of the article editor, and when he went through the
previous editors, he found that two non-native editors have accepted with minor
and major revisions, while a native editor has rejected the manuscript. As a result,
the handling editor has sent the manuscript to the fourth editor for feedback.
Ham brick (2007) strongly adds that reviewers and editors sometimes make
ambiguous reference to inadequate contribution to theoretical framework as one
major cause of manuscript rejection. According to Khadilkar (2018), ‘on average,
most top journals have nearly 80% rejection rates.’ Around 70% of submissions
to the high profile journals are rejected without having been sent for second stage
reviews by peer reviewers (Hamel 2007). It has been claimed that many leading
journals usually receive papers that are out of the journals’ scopes.
Journals have their own criteria of acceptability for publication and there are
many reasons of rejection some of which are: out of scope, irrational or lacking
rational of research, lacking innovation or justification of topic, poor methodology
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or weak research design, poor English language skill, plagiarism, ethical issues
and conflict of interest. So, the common grounds as far as transpired in previous
studies are mostly related to academic writing style, which, in many cases, is not
up to the mark. Poor grammar, lapses in spellings, lack of flow and faulty
sentence structure are main areas of expressional mistakes in presentation.
Plagiarism, very common or repetitive topic that has been researched again and
again or the topic which is far beyond the interest of scholarly readers interest are
also reasons of rejection.
Role of English language skills in acceptance of articles for publication
Writers who try to publish their paper in international journals should be
competent in English listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Related and
non-related set of language challenges encountered by the writers show how
difficult it is to handle the current situation. Grammar learning is very important,
it develop skills and information. It helps the writers to comprehend their work
(Hyland, 2003). Correct sentence structure of written piece of work conveys
meaning from writer to reader. Grammatical errors must be removed from your
writing and provide readers clear communication, (Phillip son, 2001). English
language offers the writers its own benefits. English helps scholars from having to
re-edit publication (Genc &Bada, 2010).
Learners of English as EFL/ESL find it an attractive idea to use English in their
writing. Sometimes both ESL/ESL learners want that their English should be
neutral from British, American, Canadian and Australian English (Viereck, 1996).
It is acknowledged that English is the language for many international scholarly
journals and this trend is increasing. Academic writing is also needed to publish
paper in international journal. International journals community may know
author’s work well. If not, writers work will deprive the opportunity of paper
publishing in international journals (Celce-Murcia &Melntosh, 1991). Azizah and
Budi man (2017) pointed out towards challenges of writing papers in English
faced by authors in Indonesia. Problems in writing for scholarly publication in
English was raised by Flower dew (1999) in the context of Hong Kong.
Significance of the study
Higher education focuses on quality research and innovation. Research
publication requires hard work, critical and analytical skill, qualification, vision
and insight, expertise and command over language in which the paper is written.
It happens sometime that the researcher has great ideas but poor communication,
presentation and writing skill mars all elevated ideas. Rejection of such poorly
presented and written paper is predestined by high profile journals.
Many studies and investigations have justified rejection of submitted manuscript
due to formatting related issues. In addition, lack of novelty, poor study design,
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inadequate method description, lack of focus and inappropriate/inadequate
literature review lead to rejection. Besides, it has also been noticed that
overstating the implications of the results, substandard academic writing skills
and lack of command over the knowledge of English language/grammar also
contribute to failures in publication process (Khadilkar, 2018).
Though, rejection de-motivates each author yet for novice researchers, the
disappointment of rejection may be too serious. (Gopaldas, 2016).
Some authors try to justify the need for duplication of researches saying that the
research problem has not previously taken up in their country, however the work
has already been done in the past no matter it was conducted abroad. (Lillis &
Curry, 2010).
Rationale of study
Many research scholars, professors, academicians and research analysts could not
meet up their quest and expectations as regards to their research publications on
one ground or another. The study is necessary to probe into the reasons of
rejection and finding its solution so that the EFL scholars can know parameters of
their research writing and the yardstick of qualification of some piece of research
writing to be worth publishing. The results, conclusion and recommendations of
this study highlight causes of this problem and how to avert it. After having
reviewed the existing literature or the previous studies on the reasons for rejection
of manuscripts, the researcher has found the gap between the existing studies and
the present proposed research study that there is a need of English language
writing skills which are predominantly indispensable for authors of writing
research articles or academic writing.
Scope of study
Since the study discusses pros and cons of criteria of research publication in high
profile journals, it has great scope for EFL scholars in exploring problems of
publication and finding the solution to the problem of manuscript rejection. This
study is going to be helpful and resourceful for the aspirants of ESL/EFL research
scholars who have great flare and yearning to get their research papers or articles
which can be published in highly ranked or popular journals. The study is also
going to encourage new and old research writer who want to explore research
related issues pertaining to EFL research.
LITERATURE REVIEW
Writing a paper for publication is a difficult task faced by the scholars
(Fathelrahman, 2015). Arab learners learn EFL (English as a foreign language)
because forming a good piece of writing requires not only high proficiency of the
foreign language, linguistic rules but also good cognitive skills in organizing and
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presenting ideas. Writing is a difficult skill for most of EFL learners
(Wajnryb,1990). The main reason for the rejections of research papers is the
quality of the foreign language that is used in the research papers (Shaikh, 2016).
Ågerfalk (2014) contends that a paper must make a substantial contribution to
knowledge then it can be accepted for publication. In other words, novelty is
required. An article can be rejected because of problems with the research method
such as, the paper shows a poorly conducted research and was insufficient. The
literature review has not covered the study questions and the paper has poor
methodology. Sample too small in size may be problematic. If statistics are
inappropriate the analysis will be weak. If the study focuses on the routine issues,
there is a greater chance of rejection. (Luttge, 2011).
Most high profile journals prefer plain English style (Hamel, 2007) which readers
can read and understand the paper in a single reading (Ammon, 2001). Many
editors checks the title and the subject on which the research has been based
(Gopaldas, 2016).
Reasons for rejection
Bradbury (2012) analyzed popular reasons for rejection revealed many reasons
including poor methodology, routine information and poor scientific content
existing in the literature. Rejection doesn’t always mean that the submitted
manuscript was poorly written. Among other reasons of rejection may include:
less suited for the journal readership. Hence, it is important to choose the target
journal wisely.
The rates of manuscript rejection vary between 80 and 85%. Bradbury (2012)
revealed that 62% of papers have been rejected at least once before acceptance.
Therefore, there is no point becoming sad and disappointed if someone’s
manuscript is rejected.
Based on rejection notes, it was suggested that researchers should properly study
the reviewers’’ comments and try to rectify. Main reasons include paper quality as
well as journal suitability (Griffiths and Norman, 2016).
Methodological issues
Methodological flaws often lead to manuscript rejection. (Griffiths and Norman,
2016). We have noted that mostly those EFL papers are published which have
incorporated different approaches of research. It is also required to ensure that the
research aims and questions are clearly formulated, presented and accordingly
tested. (Ahlstrom, 2012).
A ‘cross-sectional prospective study’ actually does not work efficiently, and
described as a ‘phenomenology’ which rely on a simple thematic
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analysis.(Bradbury, 2012). Manuscript rejection is also attributed to sampling,
experimental and controlled groups or comparative analysis like t-test or f-test
(ANCOVA) (Griffiths and Norman, 2016).
In a qualitative work, absence of theoretical framework or novelty issue becomes
the reason of rejection in addition to research questions, methods, data analysis
etc. (Gopaldas, 2016). Another Quite many papers do not pass the benchmarking
of standardized methods that can ensure the research credibility and the results
(Ahlstrom, 2012).
Absence or lack of study justification
Justification of the study undertaken is an essential component. It has been noted
that some papers get rejected due to poorly-argued literature reviews without
dealing with the research gap which should automatically appear through the
reviewed literature/studies. The literature review provides the rationale and the
scope (Bradbury, 2012). The literature review must demonstrate what has been
done earlier which means what the audience already know. It must include latest
studies, properly cited. The quality of review should ensure quality evidence of
existing literature and prospects due to the undertaken study. Studies carried out
in English should avoid unless otherwise essential to cite studies existing in non-
English literature. (Gopaldas, 2016).
Plagiarism and citations
Plagiarism is an academic issue which is unethical in nature. All submissions to
good journals are checked on reliable software of plagiarism check or similarity
index. (Griffiths and Norman 2016). It is equally important for authors to avoid
plagiarism, and do prior plagiarism-check before submitting to any journal.
According to Ahlstrom (2012), papers usually rejected due to plagiarism have
high similarity indices (according to criteria set by different journals. Some
journals demand zero plagiarism.
Turn it in is a guide and it shows returned percentage of written material.
Percentage below 15% would probably show that plagiarism is not present. If
plagiarism is above 15% of matching text then it is dangerous for the writers. If
plagiarism is over 25% (yellow, orange, or red) it will be more dangerous.
Plagiarism is a “wrong act” and stealing of others publication” stealing of another
author’s ideas and presenting them as one’s own original work. Plagiarism is an
educational dishonesty. There is a lack of clear cut-rules on what percentage of
plagiarism is accepted for publication. Usually a text similarity below 15% is
acceptable by the reviewers. Similarity of 25% is considered as high plagiarism.
Reader wants easy, understandable and well written information and the writer
should provide real source of information. The writer should not take the
advantage of others’ work without citing honestly.
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Some writers face difficulties in citing references in their academic work. If they
don’t properly cite, the writing may fall under plagiarized material. Therefore,
they must adhere to a specific style or format such as APA Manual Guide (6TH
Edition). (2010). Writers should judge materials in their researches. They should
cite content consistently using one style such as manual MLA or Chicago etc.
From the last 50 years citation study is regarded as a parameter for assessing the
quality of research publications in scientific or social science journals. (Gans and
Shepherd, 1994).
English grammar and expression
Readership of English language journals is huge. Therefore English is important.
Since English is non-native language for most of English speakers, good
academic writing and grammar error free papers are always important. Seven %
of the submitted manuscripts in 2015 were roughly rejected because of poor
expression in English (Griffiths and Norman 2016). Some scholars advice that
professional language editing service may be availed of prior to submission to
avoid rejection due to language (Ahlstrom, 2012). Edanz and Tang (2016) also
hinted at the same point, and added that editing service providers play crucial
roles in publication process.
Many new writers complain that they cannot sit down to write a few thousand
words because they are suffering from writer’s block (Cho, 2004). Unfortunately,
for many writing in English will be tough and challenging especially to those who
don’t practice it regularly. Powell (2012) in his landmark writing clarified a few
crucial points saying, “Non-native English speakers face challenges when trying
to publish”. However, he referred to some resources that can provide help.
Role of academic writing
Writing should be in a more appropriate manner, writing skills can be improved
through workshops and feedbacks. Revising ones work notes and changing it
according to different academic requirements is also important. Paper writing
should be more applicable it requires more reading, reflecting, and reacting. Every
scholar has its own style of writing (Cargill & Burgess, 2008). Academic writing
follows a logical and straightforward structure in a very simple way. In a paper
introduction provides the reader background knowledge, outline, scope and right
direction for the study. The body paragraph explains supporting points.
Conclusion refers to the thesis and gives summary of important points.
Conclusion highlights research findings. In academic writing sentences are
connected to clear an argument. A course on academic writing can be designed
following what has already been published.
Lack of clarity
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A paper may be rejected because of problems with its presentation. Such
problems may include the lack of clarity in scientific work. Clarity in writing is
established when the reader is aware of the researcher’s aim and statement
(Wajnryb, 1990). Sometime authors will puzzle the reader by injecting view into
the article. A researcher must well optimize his/her instruments before the study
and all these optimizations and controls used must be clearly listed in the
methodology (Ajao, 2005). Sometime an editor finds it difficult to differentiate
introduction and discussion. Introduction introduces the subject and explains
objectives of the study (Plonsky & Mills, 2006). Discussion should be limited and
in the same way uncertain statement encourages rejection by the reviewer.
Conclusion should be what is concluded from the study. A review article should
not be attached with various statements from authors without discussion.
Conclusion shows advantages and disadvantages of the study and results of the
previous work done by researchers. If the writer is not innovative he is not
qualified to write a review article on the subject. Recommendations should be
relevant to the study (Pierson, 2004).
THE STUDY
The study is conducted with qualitative content analysis. It is a research method
that processes the qualitative data collected in research and subsequently this data
are analyzed methodically and dependably so that generalization can be derived
from them in the light of the priorities set by the researcher. The feedback of five
rejected research papers issued by high profile journal editors is obtained from
research scholars and the content of the feedback of those five rejected research is
analyzed through qualitative content analysis. In second phase of data collection,
five different editors or heads/members of technical or scientific committee of
renowned journals have been interviewed in order to record general causes of
rejections of research papers. The instrument used for these interviews is
structured interview with 15 questions asked to researchers of different kinds
(chosen conveniently).
Objectives of the study
1- to find out the common elements on the basis on which research articles are
rejected and not published by top journals,
2- to explore challenges faced by non-native writers in publishing papers in
reputed English language journals,
3- to assess the role of academic writing skills in acceptance of research articles
for publication,
4-to suggest some remedial measures that can be adapted and prove helpful for
EFL research scholars to increase the ratio of publication possibility of their
research articles.
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Research questions
1-What are the common elements on the basis on which research articles are
rejected and not published by top journals??
2-What are the challenges faced by non-native writers in publishing papers in
reputed English language journals??
3-Do academic writing skills play important role in acceptance of research articles
for publication?
4-What remedial measures can be adapted to avoid manuscript rejection?
Participants
6 researchers were intensively interviewed for data collection. Though the number
of researchers is not many, they represented groups like: those still doing PhDs
and they have to publish papers in high profile journals in order to defend their
theses and the academic staff (asst. and associate professors) who are looking for
promotions in their career.
The tool
As mentioned, primary data collection tool is interview. In addition, data through
related literature/studies review plays additional role id analysis.
Data collection
Table-1 Data gathered through interviews were classified into sub themes as
under.
Sub-theme-1
Importance of quality publication
Sub-theme-2
Reasons of manuscript rejection
Sub-theme-3
Main reason of rejection
Sub-theme-4
Non-nativeness : a reason
Sub-theme-5
Effect of rejection on the writers
Sub-theme-6
Strategies to cope with rejection
Responses of questions by the researchers/authors were based on their own
experiences. It should be mentioned here that the interviewees were research
scholars, asst and associate professors.
Analysis
Thematic analysis has been the main analytical approach in this study/paper. In
other words, theme wise analysis has been carried out as per the sub-themes
categories shown in table-1 as above.
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Importance of quality publication
Interview responses confirm that quality publications mean a lot to the researchers
of all kinds. For research scholars, it is an important criterion to defend their PhD
while for researchers (academic staff) quality publication is a mark of excellence
which usually boost them in getting contract renewed, having increments or
getting academic promotions.
Reasons of manuscript rejection
Many reasons of manuscript reasons could be possible. Hence, the most familiar
reason (may be genuine or not) is that the manuscript is beyond the scope of the
journal(s).This is rejection at the first stage, decision taken by the handling/chief
editor. The manuscript has not been reviewed by peer reviewers. It has also been
noticed that different criteria can be attributed to rejection of a manuscript,
however sometimes there is no justifiable justification from the editorial board.
Among the most popular reasons of rejections are: methods, concepts,
conclusions/contributions. Implications, language and non-nativeness (undeclared
reason). It is assumed that non-native writers/researchers can’t author quality
papers, however, in rejection messages/mails, such issues are not disclosed.
Main reason of rejection
Main reason(s) cannot be stated as there could be in one case, and the other in
other cases. However, the paper should look good as a whole, and it must
contribute to the field it has been written in. Sometimes, plagiarism suspect
become a main reason, which has an indirect connection with non-nativeness
thinking that the second language authors may not use standard English and as a
matter of linguistic barrier, there is a fair chance of plagiarism.
Non-native factor: a reason
Though it is a hidden cause, it appears genuine. Only a very few ESL authors are
able to publish in highly indexed journals such as Web of science/SCCI or Scopus
indexed reputed journals. If at all, one succeeds in getting articles/papers
published, the journal(s) might be located in the authors’ country. The fact is that
every second journals in Clarivate database (English language related journals) is
either located in the US or UK. Canada, Australia are lacking far behind, therefore
it seems extremely hard to get through the process of publishing in quality
English language journal(s).
Effect of rejection on the writers
There are many who are negatively affected by repeated rejection, however, there
are a few who are benefitted by such rejections. Rather they improvise their
papers and try in better journals with more confidence.
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Strategies to cope with rejection
Keeping the reasons of manuscript rejection, there is a need that writers should
take care of technical things more than the content. It has been noted that
presentation skills are more important than the content in the papers. It is the same
case like cooking tasty food and not presenting nicely which attracts more
customers in a quality restaurant than an ordinary one which issue even much less
bills. In other words, graphs, tables and other technicalities should also be
strategically managed.
RESULTS, CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
Results
It has been found that there are numerous reasons of manuscript rejection. Among
many other reasons, academic writing skills can be one in addition to the non-
native factor. These are interrelated as it is generally believed by the original
owners of English (native speakers) that writing good and standard English may
not be easy for ESL/EFL writers.
The findings and results show that manuscript rejection is not an outcome of an
issue. It may be the result of many flaws at the same time. One of the reasons of
manuscript rejection in the English language field is inadequate writing skills
(criterion varies) while for others factors include affiliation, country and non-
nativeness. Interestingly ESL writers are on the panel of peer reviewers in many
highly indexed journals, and they may accept or reject manuscript submitted by
even native writers, but these ESL peer reviewer face a huge difficulty in
publishing their own papers in the same journals. The results are somewhat in line
with the study carried out by Flower dew (2001) related to attitudes of journal
editors to nonnative speaker contributions. (pp121150). Hence it is important to
mention that this study was conducted 18 years ago which is a long duration in
which perceptions of editors towards non-native English authors might change.
Conclusions
It was concluded that non-native writers face numerous issue during publication
process especially in the field of English language. Main factors of manuscript
rejection are: poor academic communication in English, lack of novelty and
contribution, non-native factor and editors’ preference of a manuscript by a native
writer. However, non-native factor is not usually mentioned, a recommendation is
made of editing, though. The findings are quite in line with Powel (2012) who
referred to the challenges faced by ESL writers. Hartono et al (2019) also
confirms the same results by exploring the lecturers’ language problems in
writing English papers for international publications in Indonesian context.
CHALLENGES FACED BY NON -NATIVE WRITERS IN PUBLISHING PAPERS IN REPUTED ENGLISH LANGUAGE JOURNALS
PJAEE, 17 (4) (2020)
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Limitations of study
The study takes samples from Asia in general and specifically from South East
Asia, Gulf and Middle East regions. The journals of these areas are included in
the study and the research scholars who faced rejection and whose papers have
been declined from publication have been included in this research. The study
covers samples from EFL research domain excluding other social sciences or
humanities disciplines.
Implications
The findings are expected to contribute in many ways: the researchers will be
benefitted by the outcomes and accordingly deal with the expected issues. In
addition, editors/publishers will take care of issues raised through this study.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This study was supported by Universiti Malaysia Terengganu Scholarship of
Teaching and Learning Grant (55199/11)
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Appendix-A (Interview with researchers/writers whose manuscripts were rejected)
Researcher’s Name: ------------------------------------------------------------------------
Qualification: --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Research Topic: -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Area/Domain/subject: ---------------------------------------------------------------------
Main Reason for Rejection (as commented by the journal(s): --------------------
=========================================================
Q. 1 Why do you think research publication is extremely important?
Q.2 Did you submit your manuscript to a high profile language journal, and why?
Q. 3 Did you revise your manuscript to submit to the same journal which rejected
your manuscript?
Q. 4 Did you compromise and got your manuscript published in low ranked
journals?
Q. 5 What was the main reason/issue stated in the rejection mail/ letter?
Q. 6 Do you think the rejection reasons were genuine and justified?
Q. 7 Did the rejection letter degrade or boost up your morale, and how?
Q. 8 What plans have you made to overcome your shortcomings as regards to
research writing to meet the criteria of publishing your paper in the journals?
Q. 9 What is your opinion about observing strict policy of quality and standard
maintenance by journals as regards to publication criteria?
Q. 10 What barriers do you feel researchers face on the way of writing a research
paper acceptable to high profile journals?
Q. 11 Did you get your paper edited by some senior professor before submitting
to the journal?
Q. 12 Did you take professional help in writing/editing from online paid
services?
Q. 13 Did you utilize editing service of some popular journals prior to
submission. If not, why?
Q. 14 Do you think academic writing issue is the main reason of rejection of
manuscript prepared for high profile English language journals?
Q. 15 Do you feel the issue native and non native authors adversely affect the
acceptance possibilities?
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