Obligations of English Speakers

It's not just foreign-born researchers whose lack of English proficiency hurts their careers.1 Many Americans have the same problem. Every year, I read grant applications from young (and sometimes rather senior) American scientists who MIGHT actually have good ideas. However, the syntax is so fractured, the flow of ideas so random, and the use of jargon and cliche so pervasive, that I am utterly stymied in my attempts to understand the science. When undergraduates interested in research ask me about the single most important class they should take, I invariably answer, "a rigorous course in English composition."

Jim Jarvis, MD
Department of Pediatrics
University of Oklahoma
College of Medicine
Director of Pediatric Rheumatology
The Children's Hospital of Oklahoma


In response to Sam Jaffe's article,1 It is my opinion that editors of scientific journals and their associated publishers should protect their worldwide international...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?