Effect of English Proficiency and Research Funding on Acceptance of Submitted Articles to Stroke Journal
Science is a shared and global undertaking that requires cumulative contributions from scientists from all around the world. Peer-reviewed publications, which are an essential part of the dissemination of scientific research, provide information on innovative interventions and discoveries,1 guide funding agency grant-making decisions, constitute a major criterion in academic faculty promotion, affect the receipt of career milestone awards, and can be pivotal in the allocation of public health resources.2,3
As the channels through which peer-reviewed publications become accessible to the scientific world, journals are science’s gatekeepers, wielding tremendous influence on whether various scientific works receive broad readership and recognition. Given that the English language has become the international lingua franca of scientific communication, with most high effect journals being published in English,4,5 authors’ native language may be a barrier to the publication of otherwise scientifically worthy articles, thereby limiting international knowledge exchange among scientists. Indeed, it is conceivable that novel ideas or projects not properly articulated in English may be inadvertently assigned low-priority scores, whereas less innovative, but well-written articles (ie, from countries with high English proficiency) may receive high-priority scores and eventually be published. Another nonscientific issue that may affect an article acceptance could be economic: articles from countries with relatively lower overall research funding may be held to a higher threshold of acceptance, based on a perception of potentially less developed scientific culture and rigor.
Worldwide, the journal Stroke is generally regarded as the premier scientific journal covering cerebrovascular disorders. For Stroke, priority scores depend on the experimental design, effect, innovation, and quality of the article, but other factors also influence the acceptance rate as highlighted in a previous report.6 A better understanding of language barriers and economic factors influencing the acceptance rate would be informative for Stroke readers, …