Write English well? Help get published someone who doesn’t

The following post is from Prof. Corey Bradshaw, who writes for his blog, Conservation Bytes. Corey’s experience with international collaborators, in particular in China, so mirrored mine that I thought I should share. Over the last year, I have discovered the joy of working with some of the excellent scientists in China; they truly are brilliant at what they do and I would encourage anyone to work with them. Spending time in China and writing papers with Prof. Yunwei Dong, Prof. Kunshan Gao, and their research groups has (and continues to be) an amazing experience.


imagesI’ve written before about how sometimes I can feel a little exasperated by what seems to be a constant barrage of bad English from some of my co-authors. No, I’m not focussing solely on students, or even native English speakers for that matter. In fact, one of the best (English) science writers with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working is a Spaniard (he also happens to write particularly well in Castellano). He was also fairly high up on the command-of-English ladder when he started out as my PhD student. So. There.

In other words, just because you grew up speaking the Queen’s doesn’t automatically guarantee that you’ll bust a phrase as easily as Shakespeare, Tolkien, Gould or Flannery; in fact, it might put you at a decided disadvantage compared to your English-as-a-second- (-third-, -fourth-, -fifth- …) language peers because they avoided learning all those terrible habits you picked…

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