The European Association of Science Editors (EASE) is an international community of individuals and associations from diverse backgrounds, linguistic traditions and professional experiences in science communication and editing.

Kudos dissemination survey

Science communication facilitation platform Kudos are developing a new product – Kudos for Research Groups and have a survey they would like participants for.

Kudos hope that this platform will enable them to support a much wider range of research outputs including conference papers, presentations, posters and research objects including data images and code. All types of ‘additional’ research output which EASE supports and believe should make greater contributions to the body of acknowledged literature. It seems Kudos share this belief.

The aim is to provide a cohesive central point through which research groups, institutes, labs, departments and units of assessment can collaborate on joint dissemination plans for their projects and track their progress.

To help with these aims, Kudos have developed a survey to better understand the needs of the research community, shape the platform in a way which will be of most use, and invite people to be involved in beta testing.

The survey is open until 5pm bst, Friday 22nd June.  Your input will be welcomed.

Contribute here:  www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Kudos_Dissemination_Survey

– Monday 19th June, 2018 –

How to choose the best academic translator for your research

In our second guest blog post, we welcome back Avi Staiman, CEO of Academic Language Experts, to discuss how to identify an appropriate translator for your work.

If you would like to write a post about aspects of your work that would make an interesting read for our members, please get in touch.

How to choose the best academic translator for your research: Mother tongues, native speakers and everything in between

Looking for an academic translator for your academic research can be a daunting task. Whether you are looking to translate your book in order to reach a new audience or want to publish your article in a journal which is not in your native language, it is critical to pick the right translator for your manuscript. Where to start? With all the options available, how do you pick the right one? The goal of this blog post is to present a series of criteria to help you narrow down your search for the perfect candidate for your project.

The first step in picking the best translator is finding someone who is highly proficient in both the source and target languages. Translators describe themselves in a variety of different ways which can be confusing so we will start by defining the most commonly used terms.

  1. Native language: Your native language is the language of the surrounding culture you grow up in, which is often the language you think in.
  1. Mother tongue: Your mother tongue is the language you grow up speaking at home. For many people this is the same as their native language, but that is not always the case, especially among children of immigrants.
  1. Fluent or proficient speaker: This level can be acquired in a second language through intensive study. This level is typically insufficient to ensure consistently natural-sounding language use in writing.

The importance of native language

It is rare but possible for a child to become fluent in more than one language if more than one language is spoken regularly and fluently in their surroundings, but after around the age of six, becoming fluent in a new language with all its nuances of syntax and tone becomes virtually impossible. Some children may grow up with multiple native languages but only ever use one of them at school or professionally—and therefore never develop the full vocabulary and range required to write well in the other languages. Other people may have no highly developed native language, either because they aren’t sufficiently exposed to language at a young age, or because they lost some proficiency in the intricacies of their native language as they transitioned into exclusive use of a second language.

In my experience, fluency and proficiency are insufficient for purposes of academic editing, translation or publication. Even if a translator can master the terminology and vocabulary of a second language, it is very difficult for people to free themselves entirely from the syntax of the language they think in. Even if your translator is fluent in the target language, if it is not his native language, he will likely bring over traces of his native language which will give him away as a non-native speaker and distract from the content of the writing. Thus, it is extremely rare for someone to be both a native speaker and a great writer in more than one language. Beware of translators offering translation services into multiple languages and be sure to ask them what their true native language is.

Look for a translator who is a native speaker of the target language

If you want your translated text to sound natural, you need a translator who is a native speaker, not just a “fluent” or “proficient” one. When looking for a translator, many people mistakenly believe that what they are looking for is a native speaker of the source language—and of course it is true that translators must be proficient in reading and understanding nuances in the languages from which they’re translating. However, the product of the translation is a text in the target language, not the source language, so it stands to reason that if you want an excellent translation in a specific genre, you need a translator who can write an excellent text in that genre in the target language.

This means that your translator must be a native speaker of the language in which the translation (not the source) is written and a skilled writer in that language. In fact, translators of a given language may be overly committed to being faithful to the source text, when what really matters is that the published text is clear and well written without the distraction of unnatural-sounding language. Most academic journals are looking for clear and coherent texts that stand on their own. You may also want to consider using a language editor to edit the work of the translator as we discussed in our previous post.

Look for a translator who is familiar with your field

Besides native-level speech and writing skills, it is also critical for your translator to be familiar with your field and its terminology. Even well-educated native speakers may have difficulty reading, let alone writing, technical articles if they’re not familiar with the field. Your translator doesn’t necessarily have to be an expert in your exact field, but he or she needs to be familiar enough with writing in your field to know how to identify precedents—and where to look for them—to find out how terminology is used. It is a good idea for you to make sure the translator understands your use of key terminology at the outset; to this end you may choose to provide a set of terms and meanings or even a list of terms to avoid.

Ask for a phone interview

When looking for a translator, you can learn a lot from a phone interview. Listen for unnatural grammar or speech patterns. Ask what the translator’s top language is and what kinds of texts he or she has translated before. Don’t find out too late that you are the translator’s guinea pig to learn about your field! This would be a good time to ask what you can do to make the task smoother for the translator – can you provide a list of terms? A bibliography? Examples of similar texts?

Conclusion

Above all, you want to avoid having to subject your academic translation to further edits, which will almost certainly be required if the translator is not a native speaker, and which will likely lead either to further interruptions in tone and flow, or to what is essentially a full rewrite. A well-written article should return from peer review without major language comments and critique. Rather than rely on edits after the fact, make sure from the outset that your translator is a native speaker and an experienced writer familiar with your field.

Avi Staiman
Avi has worked as a translator and editor in various fields of humanities and social sciences, and is the founder of Academic Language Experts.

–  Wednesday 22nd May, 2018  –

“Why do I need an editor? I already have a translator!” Should translated texts need to be edited?

In our first EASE member guest post on our blog, Avi Staiman considers a question he is often posed  as a language editor.

If you would like to write a post about an issue of your work that you think would make an interesting read for our members, please get in touch.

Here is Avi, with our debut guest post.

“You can translate and edit my text, right?”

Those of us who work as academic translators periodically receive questions like this from our clients (or, more often, imply that it is their expectation without actually saying it). Is there a concrete answer to this question? The short answer: it depends.

On the one hand, a qualified and experienced translator should be adept at crafting good text. A translator, after all, is a writer. She creates a new text in her native tongue, on the basis of a source text in a different language (in my opinion, academic translators should always translate into their native language). This new text should, of course, reflect the content of the original text accurately. But in its sentence structure, flow, syntax, and sometimes style, it is a wholly new creation.

Like any other good writer, a good translator should review and proofread her own work thoroughly and meticulously after ‘sleeping on it’. But scientific editing is a process that goes beyond proofing one’s own work. A second pair of eyes can notice many things undetected by the writer – typing errors, stylistic inconsistencies, redundancies or structural shortfalls.

Some translations do require editing in order to ensure accuracy and precision. Moreover, even the best translators, as they ‘think’ in two languages, inevitably leave occasional traces of the source language in their writing. Even an excellent translation can be further refined and polished. Indeed, famous authors, award-winning translators, and other literary giants have editors who play a crucial role in producing and polishing their work. Just as we would not expect an author to also edit his or her own book, so too, it seems reasonable that we should not expect a translator to be their own editor either.

So how do you know if you need an editor for your text? It all depends on your specific goals and context.

When do you need an editor?
When advising colleagues about whether to have a translation edited, I often suggest the following rule of thumb: If your manuscript is the type of text that you would have edited in its original, then you should probably have the translation edited as well. This is usually true even if the source text has already undergone editing itself, since the translation is a new creation.

Most academic books, journal articles, and literary works are edited at some point – even when they are written by eloquent, talented authors writing in their own language. A well-written article or book rendered into a new language by a top translator is just like any other piece of good writing – it is the most important step toward your goal, but it still needs to go through one more stage in order to cross the finish line.

When might you not need an editor?
The same rule of thumb applies in the other direction: If you would not use an editor for the type of text if it were written in your native language, a good translation of the same piece may also not require editing (even if it could still benefit from it).

When might this be the case? While there is no concrete rule, you might be able to get away without having a well-written text edited if it is not intended for publication. For example, texts intended for private communication; translated abstracts; lecture notes; and other materials intended primarily for transmitting information.

Similarly, if you are submitting your work to a publisher or journal with their own in-house editors, you might not need to find an editor yourself.

Finally, you may not want an editor in cases where it is critical that the translation be as literal a reflection of the original as possible – such as a questionnaire.

Of course, in these cases, too, the text should still be as polished as possible. You must be sure that your translator is a dependably excellent writer in the target language (and, if not – find a different translator!).

The bottom line
While it is reasonable to expect a translator to review, edit and proofread their own work, don’t expect a translator to be able to play the full roles of both translator and editor. In some cases, it may not be critical to have an editor and professional translation may suffice. However, any text intended for publication should be translated and edited before it is submitted for publication. Also, don’t be short-sighted. You may only be working on a draft for a limited audience now (such as a doctoral thesis), but if you plan to use the text in a published paper later, it may still be worth investing in editing.

Avi Staiman
Avi has worked as a translator and editor in various fields of humanities and social sciences, and is the founder of Academic Language Experts.

–  Tuesday 20th March, 2018  –

Matarese & Shashok – Response to Moher et.al’s Core Competencies statement

Two of our members have written a response to Moher et al.’s ‘Core competencies for scientific editors of biomedical journals: consensus statement’, published in BMC Medicine in 2017, from their perspective as authors’ editors.

Valerie Matarese and Karen Shashok’s correspondence article in F1000Research offers some “insights into the types of competencies researchers from diverse geographical, cultural and linguistic backgrounds would value in journal editors.

The paper discusses several issues, including the definition of journal editor, competencies which were considered then removed during the Delphi process, inappropriate text re-use, and suggests the role of journal editors could encompass some author-editing skills, to give more nuanced feedback on writing and language beyond “blanket “acceptable/unacceptable” assessments”.

Valerie and Karen’s paper is published now, is open for peer review, and can be found at: https://f1000research.com/articles/7-109/v1

– Friday 26th January, 2018 –

Hindawi services for institutional repositories

The open access publisher Hindawi have announced a new service for institutions, whereby they will automatically deposit a copy of an article with affiliated authors into the institutional repository as soon as it is published.

The service is designed to reduce the burden on authors and institutions manually transferring files, and looks simple to set up, with Hindawi’s tech team on hand to help with any complications.

See full details on the Hindawi site here: https://about.hindawi.com/institutions/claim/

Hindawi made headlines last year when they left the STM Association as a result of the conservative and obstructive stance the organisation is taking with regards to open access (a position underscored with their open access Statement to the EU open access, published in December and now removed from the web).

This new service looks further their goals of supporting freely available reseach, and should be a very helpful facility for any staff involved in tracking and measuring the research output of their institutions or faculties.

Taylor & Francis to pay reviewers in fast track publishing service

Providing authors with faster peer review and rewarding reviewers for their assistance to publishers in achieving this goal are thorny issues, but one of the large publishers is trying a new initiative.

Taylor & Francis have described how their Accelerated Publication service for authors involves payments of $150 to each peer reviewer who submits their comments within one week.

There are no official details of the payment structure available on the T&F website as yet, but they do present the workflow for this Accelerated Publication service: http://taylorandfrancis.com/partnership/commercial/prioritized-publication/

In a Twitter conversation with science communication journalist Richard Poynder@tandfonline revealed the payment news and provided several details of the process and motives behind it:

“Hi there Accelerated Publication covers submission to online publication and is designed to meet the needs of a select group, primarily in the biomedical sciences. (1/6)

This service is designed to give authors more control over timing of publication to fit with grant deadlines, product launches etc (2/6)

Reviewers are paid an honorarium on completion of their review because we are asking them to complete within a set timeframe. (3/6)

This timeframe is clear in all correspondence to reviewers invited to review Accelerated Publication submissions, and they accept the invitation on this basis. (4/6)

Payment is completely independent of their recommendation to the editor and many papers are in fact rejected e.g. CMRO had rejection rate of 52% on Accelerated Publication submissions in 2017 (5/6)

Hope this explains but if you have any more questions please contact us on communications@tandf.co.uk, and we’ll come back to you as quickly as we can. (6/6)”

This is not the first time a large publisher has tried a fast-track system involving payments to peer reviewers. In 2015, Nature’s Scientific Reports set up a trial with Rubriq to offer a similar service, which saw one of their editors quit the journal in protest.

This was part of a trial for conceptual journal-independent peer review services, where companies conduct a scientific review of papers, then pass them to a suitable journal where the decision process could be accelerated.  However, during 2017, Rubriq and Axiom Review, a company providing similar services, both folded due to lack of take-up. It seems that vision for payment and speed incentives was not right for the time or place.

T&F have been actively involved in trying to determine suitable means of compensating their reviewers for some time. In 2016 they published a white paper titled “Peer Review – a global view”, which investigated many opinions around the process,  one section of which addressed incentives. The survey identified strong support for free access to papers, waivers for open access and page fees, and recognition, in the form of certificates or a published list of names (with stronger support if the name was not directly related to the paper).

On the subject of direct financial compensation, their survey found a lack of consensus, with almost equal numbers of responses stating they would be “less likely”, “more likely”, and neutrally valenced. Deeper analysis of responses showed the:

“youngest age group (20-29 year olds) are most in favour of receiving payment and those who are 60+ are most resistant. Whether this attitude among younger scholars will change as they progress in their careers, or if the call for reviewers to be paid will grow in time, could be an area of future examination.”

T&F appear to have approached this controversial issue as carefully and diligently as possible before launching this service, so we are keen to watch how response to their version unfolds.

– Sunday 21st January, 2018 –

Call for EASE Council Nominations

At the next EASE Annual General Meeting (in Bucharest, 8th June 2018), it will be time to elect a new Council to serve EASE for the next 3 years.

Council comprises a President, the immediate Past-President, two Vice-Presidents, a Secretary and a Treasurer, and up to seven ordinary elected members.

Do you know someone who would be great on Council?

The Nominations Committee invites members to submit suggestions for nominations. Individuals must be nominated by another member (please ask your nominee beforehand and confirm that they agree to be nominated).

The term of office will be from June 2018 until the AGM in 2021.

Council meets in-person once a year, before the AGM, either at an EASE conference or a similar event. Other meetings are held by teleconference. Council members are reimbursed their expenses for travel and accommodation for the face-to-face meeting but positions are honorary and there is no salary or fee.

We are especially looking for people with a passion for one or more of the following areas:


To nominate someone:

  1. Each person must be nominated by two members.
  2. The nomination must be sent to the secretary at least 90 days prior to AGM
  3. Each nomination must comprise:
    1. Name, affiliation and contact details of the two nominating members
    2. A signed letter (sent as PDF or similar) from the nominee agreeing to the nomination, stating their areas of interest and what benefits they can bring to EASE Council
    3. The cv of the nominee

Deadline for nominations is 7th February, 2018

Each nomination will be acknowledged by the secretary.

If there are more nominations then places to be filled, a ballot takes place. If a ballot is required the secretary will send a ballot form 56 days before the AGM (before 13th of April 2018) – election by simple majority of votes cast in the postal ballot – in the event of a tie, the election shall be decided by the President’s casting vote at the AGM.

– 2nd November, 2017 –

New Style Author Toolkit!

Hot on the heels of the Peer Reviewer toolkit, comes a revised Author Toolkit!

In the same style as the PR Toolkit, I have organised all the resources in the toolkit into some main themes and collected them together in different pages.

The main themes of the modules are:

General Writing Tips
Peer Review for Authors
Publishing and Editorial Issues
Ethics for Authors
Other Resources

There is not much new in it yet, but I will be adding new content to the toolkit in the near future, especially an entire module devoted to Open Access, ‘predatory’ journals, pros and cons and more.

https://www.ease.org.uk/publications/ease-toolkit-authors/

Feel free to message me if you would like to be involved in expanding it, or have any comments/questions.

Thanks!

Duncan