METM10 presentation     Thread: Research

The journal article publication strategies of Spanish researchers: preliminary survey results

Sally Burgess, Ana Moreno, Jesús Rey Rocha and Irene López Navarro for members of the National Team for Intercultural Studies of Academic Discourse (ENEIDA) – Spain

Background: Contrastive analyses of English and Spanish research writing span two decades. Recently, interview and questionnaire-based studies have turned their attention to the scientists themselves. Despite interesting findings, these studies examine researchers in individual institutions. We focused on scientists from various fields from three Spanish institutions, their publication strategies and use of support services as part of a larger project that will relate the information to the writers' actual texts and writing strategies.

Methods: Interviews with twenty-four researchers provided us with insights into their actual situation and allowed for the design of a structured questionnaire comprising thirty-six questions in six thematic areas. The questionnaire is being piloted with some 200 scientists selected by stratified random sampling from the total population of staff (with doctorates) at a Spanish National Research Centre, the University of La Laguna and the University of León.

Findings: The interviews suggested that in some fields (e.g., history, linguistics and psychology) authors seem to have a more acute need for assistance with publishing than in others. The pilot study results (available in September) will contribute to a better understanding of the publication strategies of Spanish researchers and how these relate to their background and previous publication experience. We will present findings on their level of satisfaction with the support services available to them, especially those provided by their institutions and by author's editors and translators.

Conclusions: The questionnaire will allow us to identify author types with the greatest need for assistance. They will also uncover those strategies that tend to be preferred by the respondents and that they identify as involving the least effort and the greatest level of success.


Sally Burgess teaches at the Universidad de La Laguna. Her research focuses on the cross-cultural analysis of academic criticism and rhetorical structure in research articles and book reviews and, more recently, on citation practices. She also conducted a study of the publishing behaviours of Spanish-speaking scholars working at the University of La Laguna and the needs of those who seek to publish internationally.

Ana Moreno teaches at the Universidad de León and leads the ENEIDA group. Her pioneering work in comparative analysis of published English and Spanish scientific writing showed the way to increasingly reliable comparisons of scientific writing and to better grounded studies on the possible difficulties of Spanish researchers who write academic texts in English. Dr. Moreno was the plenary speaker at METM07 in Madrid.

Jesús Rey Rocha is at the Group for Scientific Activity Studies, Centre for Human and Social Sciences (CCHS) of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), Spain.

Irene López Navarro is a sociologist employed at the Group for Scientific Activity Studies, Centre for Human and Social Sciences (CCHS) of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC).