AAAL 2022 Language Learning Roundtable

Writing for publication globally: Evaluation regimes, knowledges, digital practices

Mary Jane Curry
Theresa Lillis

Description of the colloquium


In the past 25 years, the core academic practice of writing for publication has received increased attention from applied linguists and literacy researchers, with particular attention being paid to pressures on multilingual scholars around the world to publish in English. Alongside documentation of the imperatives that drive multilingual scholars’ practices of publishing in English, a critical strand of research has identified key issues that have fundamental consequences for knowledge exchange globally: epistemological and linguistic biases against the work of scholars from contexts outside of the Anglophone-center (Lillis & Curry 2015); obstacles related to the uneven distribution of resources across contexts (Canagarajah 2002; Lillis & Curry 2010; Salager-Meyer 2008); scholars’ commitments to contributing as well to local and regional contexts (Curry & Lillis 2004); resource constraints, including the extra burden of writing in English (Hanauer & Englander 2011); and the consequences of journal practices (e.g., editing and reviewing) for enabling or constraining participation in knowledge production (Curry & Lillis 2018; Salager-Meyer 2014). While pedagogies on writing for publication have emerged, they do not always draw on this body of research (Corcoran et al.2019).


This colloquium features conversations between researchers on three important aspects of this consequential academic practice: the role of academic ‘evaluation regimes’ (e.g., Lillis 2018) and the policies structuring them nationally and transnationally; the status, legitimacy, and cultural value attached to knowledges produced outside of Anglophone-center institutions, in particular, the global South; and how digitally mediated practices are affecting academic publishing, instructional practices, and evaluation policies.


The colloquium organizers will first provide an overview framing of trends in research on academic publishing, followed by three conversations between two researchers from different global locations. Each participant will present their research, then participate in broader conversations about the topic.




Canagarajah, A. S. (2002). A geopolitics of academic writing. University of Pittsburgh Press.

Corcoran, J. N., Englander, K., & Muresan, L. M. (Eds.). (2019). Pedagogies and policies for publishing research in English: Local initiatives supporting international scholars. Routledge.

Curry, M. J., & Lillis, T. (2004). Multilingual scholars and the imperative to publish in English: Negotiating Interests, demands, and rewards. TESOL Quarterly, 38(4), 663–688.

Curry, M. J., & Lillis, T. (Eds.). (2018). Global academic publishing: Policies, perspectives, and pedagogies. Multilingual Matters.

Hanauer, D. I., & Englander, K. (2011). Quantifying the burden of writing research articles in a second language: Data from Mexican scientists. Written Communication, 28(4), 403–416.

Lillis, T. (2018). Resistir regímenes de evaluación en el estudio del escribir: Hacia un imaginario enriquecido. Signo y Pensamiento, 36(71), 66–81.

Lillis, T., & Curry, M. J. (2010). Academic writing in a global context: The politics and practices of publishing in English. Routledge.

Lillis, T., & Curry, M. J. (2015). The politics of English, language and uptake: The case of international academic journal article reviews. AILA Review, 28(1), 127–150.

Salager-Meyer, Françoise. (2008). Scientific publishing in developing countries: Challenges for the future. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 7, 121–132.

Salager-Meyer, Françoise. (2014). Writing and publishing in peripheral scholarly journals: How to enhance the global influence of multilingual scholars? Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 13(1), 78–82.



Trends in research on academic publishing; focus on equity and social justice in global knowledge production; framing of focal topics for the colloquium

Mary Jane Curry
Theresa Lillis
(15 minutes)


What do we know about evaluation regimes nationally and transnationally and how they affect scholars’ writing for publication practices, including languages used and knowledges produced and circulated?

Lynn Nygaard (Norway)
Haiying Feng (China)
(30 minutes)



Lynn Nygaard will explore evaluation systems, whose basic premise is that measuring scholarly output is possible. Yet decisions about exactly what to count and how to count it affect different groups differently because publication practices vary across the world and across academic disciplines. Drawing on an analysis of the Norwegian context, she will focus on the role of language(s) in both the Norwegian evaluation system and the Web of Science as examples of nationally and internationally used evaluation systems, critically exploring the impact of evaluation on scholarly publishing practices.


Haiying Feng will review the diachronic change in China’s national policies on academic evaluation over the past decade and discuss how this change structures and will structure Chinese scholars’ local and global academic publications going forward. She will draw on analysis of government policy documents and KOLs’ (Key Opinion Leaders’) social media posts to chart the nature of contemporary policy and how it is received by the Chinese academic community. Feng will argue that: a) the current policy change can be seen as a response to recent geopolitical challenges; and b) there are indications that individual researchers, university administrations and academic journals are turning to focus more on local publications and local society needs.



How are epistemologies and knowledge-making practices from the global South posing critiques to the practices and ideologies of the North, and what are the implications of these critiques for journal gatekeeping practices, systems of academic evaluation, and publishing practices and pedagogies?

Andiswa Mfengu (South Africa)
Federico Navarro (Chile)
(30 minutes)


Andiswa Mfengu will discuss the need for a paradigm shift in how knowledge is valued globally, including the online platforms that are used. Starting from the premise that knowledge production and exchange practices traditionally privilege the North, she will underline the epistemic injustices that are embedded within the current knowledge exchange system. She will explore socially just approaches that can be used to address these challenges from the perspective of the African continent.


Federico Navarro will also address the unequal international distribution of scientific labor, which locates knowledge production from the Global North and uses the English language as a supposedly zero point of observation. He will critically examine this position drawing from decolonial studies, geolinguistics of citations, and transnational composition studies. Based on an empirical study of citation practices, he will issue an invitation to assume the illegitimate peripheral participation of scholars from the South and to advocate for the creative and emancipatory use of multiple languages in the North.



How are changes in digitally mediated systems, platforms, practices, and resources shaping opportunities for academic knowledge exchange transnationally, through, for example, open access publishing and digitally mediated translation practices?

Melba Libia Cárdenas Beltran (Colombia), she/her/hers
Guillaume Gentil (Canada)
(30 minutes)



Melba Cárdenas will discuss how the open access movement provides an alternative that supports the building of an inclusive, democratic society of knowledge, shifting control of knowledge production away from commercial interests and the perpetuation of scientific elites. By embracing open access since its creation in 2000, the journal Profile has seen an increase in contributions from diverse geographical contexts, broadening the academic community the journal impacts. Drawing on a narrative study exploring how novice authors in Profile construct their authorial identities, Cardenas will discuss: a) the authors’ desire to contribute to local and global dialogs; and b) the authors’ commitment to reaching as wide a community of practice as possible, one that sees connections among teaching, classroom research, and publication.

Guillaume Gentil will explore online translation tools such as GoogleTranslate and DeepL, until recently the object of ridicule, which have been making impressive progress with the development of neural machine translation. Drawing on ongoing research into digitally mediated pluri/cross lingual academic literacies and his experience as a bilingual scholar, Gentil will point to the fast-changing affordances and challenges of digitally mediated translation for the production and uptake of multilingual academic texts. Examples of promising strategies, best practices, limitations, and pitfalls will open a conversation on ways to best harness the potential of digitally mediated translation for redressing inequities and combating linguistic and epistemological biases in academic publishing.



Concluding thoughts

Theresa Lillis
Mary Jane Curry
(10 minutes + open discussion 15 minutes)