- Novice Writers and Scholarly Publication: Authors, Mentors, Gatekeepers ed. by Pejman Habibie and Ken Hyland
Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. Pp. xviii, 297. Paper: isbn-13 978-3-319-95332-8, us$119.99.
While writing for scholarly publication is considered a key dimension of academic work, the 'publish-or-perish' culture has become more and more of a cause for anxiety to scholars both from and outside the Anglophone 'center.'1 In order to improve their institutional world rankings, universities are putting stringent requirements on their faculty for knowledge production and academic participation, thus increasing the pressure for newly initiated academics to produce and disseminate scholarship in international journals.2 Against this background, Novice Writers and [End Page 219] Scholarly Publication, edited by applied linguists Pejman Habibie and Ken Hyland, serves as a timely guide for novice scholars by helping to enrich their understanding of academic publishing practices and to improve their academic writing abilities.
The fifteen chapters of the volume are divided into four parts, focusing on the perspectives of, respectively, scholarly publishers, authors, mentors, and assessors. Habibie and Hyland explore the risks and rewards of scholarly publishing in the introductory chapter. Despite the range of difficulties that young academics face, academic publication can bring numerous benefits to an academic's life and career, such as enhancing one's reputation, achieving credibility in a research domain, and boosting self-confidence and self-satisfaction. Overall, the opening chapter points out the significance of scholarly publication and previews themes discussed in the four parts.
Part I discusses perspectives on scholarly publication. As non-native English writers, we were intrigued by Hyland's topic in chapter 2: the 'myth' of disadvantages for English as an additional language (EAL) researchers. After considering two problematic assumptions (the native/non-native divide and the primacy of language) for non-Anglophone authors' publishing practices, Hyland claims that the notion of 'disadvantage orthodoxy' is unhelpful to both Anglophones and non-Anglophones, as it discourages EAL authors and minimizes the challenges that native speakers encounter. Providing a discussion supplementary to Hyland's views, Habibie, in chapter 3, looks at the native versus non-native English-speaking question. Habibie argues that research production demands a set of skills from novice scholars irrespective of their native language. In chapter 4, Tribble investigates the support that instructors of English for academic purposes can offer to novice writers. Drawing on recent studies and his experience, Tribble challenges the notion of 'nativeness' in academic English writing and highlights the potential of incorporating genre-informed instruction into apprenticeship models to empower junior writers.
Part II probes the perspectives of authors. In chapters 5 and 6, Fazel and Mur-Dueñas look at how native and non-native authors understand the experience of academic publishing. Through a case study of two Canadian doctoral students, Fazel explains that it is the novice status, rather than the nativeness, that matters most, as Anglophone authors also find scholarly publication fraught with challenges such as engaging with gatekeepers and responding to reviewers' critical feedback. To meet these challenges, [End Page 220] junior scholars need educational support and practice to familiarize themselves with academic genres and the publishing process. In contrast, Mur-Dueñas analyses non-native writers' academic publishing practices by drawing on her personal experience as a Spanish academic. Although L2 (second-language) status entails an additional burden, Mur-Dueñas considers other factors equally important for succeeding at publication, which include personal expertise in manipulating resources, perseverance, and the internationalization of one's discipline. In chapter 7, Xu investigates linguistic and genre approaches for explaining how multilingual novice writers view writing for publication. After analysing the pros and cons of both approaches, she contends that the two approaches can complement each other but that the latter is more beneficial to writers for developing a fluent and idiomatic control of language. In chapter 8, Casanave argues that L1 and L2 writers share common challenges in writing for publication such as familiarity with procedure, comfort level with academic English, and critical-thinking skills.