Sunday, November 27, 2016

Don’t let the English language to completely take over the research” – Svenska Dagbladet

Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

It benefits simply the individual career to write in English.

the Swedish occupational researchers have for a long time, with concern over the fact that the research on working life (in the broadest sense) have ended up in the periphery. Its previous prominent position has been greatly weakened in terms of both the allocation of research funds samhällspåverkande force. The problems have been discussed intensively among researchers and has resulted in a number of opinion articles in the press and letters to the ministries and the funding agencies. The goal is to move forward and really be a research whose results contribute to a good working life and society.

in Order to be able to be such a force must the research carried out – and that is likely of interest to a wide public – visible. A good way is to actually publish the results of the research also in Swedish.

Probably the most occupational researchers argue that what they are doing is socially beneficial and important. Much will also be published in a never-ending stream of international journals. One problem is that these magazines are, in fact, available to researchers and other professionals at universities and colleges, mainly because it required any kind of subscription (which is usually associated with a high cost that the various universities are for), but also because they are written in academic English.

another problem is to navigate and find what one is interested in the large variegated flora of the (digitized) international journals, with articles about labour issues. It is simply so that you have to engage in a targeted and systematic search, since nothing "pops up in the knee". The international publication of the predominantly tax-funded research on working life is thus essentially an internal communication between research groups. Indirectly, by excluding the other stakeholders – including influential actors such as politicians, managers, trade unionists, employees or citizens in general who would benefit from that research will also be published in Swedish, preferably by so-called open access (i.e. available free of charge on the internet for all).

How is it then become like this? An important reason is that academies, research centres and individual researchers now seem to on a arena which is heavily exposed to new public management ideas, which – somewhat ironically – tends to lead to that research as soon as becoming a concern of a limited audience especially the uninitiated. Of course, it is important to our university exchange and dialogue. It drives the research forward and stimulates cooperation. Unfortunately, however, it is not only such noble motives behind the English publiceringshysterin often described in terms of publish or perish.

basically is it related with the reward system that allows a comprehensive publication of articles in English-language journals is worth more than publications in English. The CV is built on, a further step in the academic career can be taken and research grants will be easier to conquer. It benefits simply the individual career to write in English. But even the colleges encourage this when they are awarded state funds based on how successful researchers have been in to publish in reputable journals – which are mostly international ones. The current system’s rear is not at least to the universities ‘ third task – to share the knowledge with the surrounding society – tend to play second fiddle. To communicate and disseminate their research results in context in an accessible manner is not something that is rewarded in the academic world for the moment. It is not particularly meritorious for either the researchers or institutions. Indirectly, it seems to lead to a somewhat cynical approach to all the time wager on to publish where the dividend as well meriteringsmässigt which economically is the greatest. The publiceringshets that all researchers know of, in lower or higher degree, are to be found everywhere. It is not a unique Swedish phenomenon, far from it, and it would be naive to believe that a contribution such as this would change it here. But after all, it is important that the people involved begin to think about how and in what ways it should or should communicate and disseminate the hopefully useful and beneficial research conducted at our universities and colleges.

It is important to highlight that so far there are scientific journals (with peer review, peer review) in English which deserve more attention. Within the work life research is, for example, the journals Labour & Employment and Working life in transition. Both publish scientific articles in English which are possible to read for all who are interested. A central problem, however, is – as previously mentioned – that the scientific merits of writing for these journals is significantly lower compared with the corresponding English-language periodicals. A karriärmedveten researcher selects, therefore, often remove the publications in Swedish, despite the fact that both readership and social påverkansgrad would increase significantly if the results were published in a Swedish magazine. Most scientists say they want to make a difference, and that despite the currently worse meriteringsmässiga the value, choose to also publish their results in English is sending out signals that he or she actually cares about more than just his own career.


Ann Bergman, professor in work science at Karlstad university; Birgitta Eriksson, professor in work science at Karlstad university; Gunnar Gillberg, phd in work science, Gothenburg university; Kristina Håkansson, professor of sociology, Göteborg university; Lars Ivarsson, associate professor in work science at Karlstad university; Margareta Oudhuis, professor in work science, university of Borås, School; Magnus Sverke, professor in work and organisational psychology, Stockholm university, sweden; Eskil Wadensjö, professor of economics, Stockholm university


Marita Flisbäck, associate professor of sociology, Göteborg university; the Peter Mitchell, professor in work science at SLU Alnarp; Mikael Ottosson, associate professor in work science, Lund university, sweden; Calle Rosengren, phd in work science, Lund university, sweden; Christina Scholten, phd in human geography and economic geography, Malmö university, sweden

the FORUM FOR working life RESEARCH:

Lotta Dellve, professor in work science, Gothenburg university; Carin Håkansta, phd in work science, Luleå university of technology; Jan Johansson, professor of human work science, Luleå university of technology; Camilla Kylin, phd in psychology, Karlstad university; Peter Mitchell, professor in work science at SLU Alnarp; Calle Rosengren, phd in work science, Lund university

how to contact you … Debate:

Editor: Carina Stensson, Deputy editor: Carl-Johan Bilkenroth, e-Mail:, Phone number: 08-135149, Twitter: @SvDDebatt, Facebook: … Debate


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