Thread: Knowledge updates

Why authors’ editors and translators are needed more than ever in the evolving research publication environment

Karen Shashok, Granada, Spain

Rationale Hypotheses: The role of authors’ editors and translators who edit is evolving as a result of changes in the communication needs of researchers and other potential users of our services. The resources to enable researchers and others to communicate effectively may not be keeping up with current needs.

Purpose This talk will explain how research communication is changing, and how these changes increase the needs of researchers and other science communication stakeholders for editing and translation support.

Presentation content Researchers and institutions need to communicate in different media, and need to produce different types of information in addition to research reports. Despite the availability of a variety of online options for language and editing help, much material gets published that may fail to communicate effectively because of problems with translation, writing or editing. The increase in the need for author editing and translation with editing is a result of three factors: 1) The international research community is growing rapidly and becoming truly global. 2) The disappearance of free editorial support from academic publishers means that authors must look elsewhere for help; this may keep the playing field in the publication game tilted in favor of resource-wealthy researchers. 3) Resources provided locally by authors’ institutions may be inadequate to enable scientists from emerging research communities to participate effectively in their international communication networks. As newer types of publication become accepted as legitimate contributions to -œthe literature-, communication support may be increasingly required for material other than the traditional research article. In addition to providing communication services, authors' editors and translators can be an important source of training in skills that can enable researchers to meet their readers' expectations for clarity, content and ethical aspects of research publication.


Karen Shashok has been a freelance translator and editorial consultant since the mid-1980s. She has written about translation, author editing, peer review and editorial ethics and has provided training for researchers and editors in Spain and the Eastern Mediterranean region. As a member of professional development organizations for journal editors, she has tried to bring the perspective of researchers and editors from emerging and resource-limited research communities to the attention of western, English-speaking gatekeepers and experts in research ethics.