November 23, 2016

ASHA's changes to their scholarly publications

At the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention last week (16 November) I was invited as a panelist at the Researcher-Academic Town Meeting  to respond to Ray D. Kent's presentation regarding the new report: Planning for the Future of the ASHA Scholarly Journals. Here is the text of my presentation:
Thank you for the invitation to speak on behalf of the rest of the world at the Researcher-Academic Town Meeting this evening.
Congratulations to ASHA for your
  • 80 year history of scholarly publications
  • over 2 million downloads of articles per year (ASHA, 2015) - disseminating translational research to inform research and practice world-wide
  • innovations and response to the rapidly changing climate of research publications
Dr. Kent outlined the “Global base of contributors and readers for the ASHA journals”. To contextualize:
  • There are over 7,000 languages spoken in the world. 
  • There are 381 languages spoken in the US with 20.8% speaking a language other than English at home (Ryan, 2013). 
In preparing for this presentation I analysed the authorship of the 190 articles published within Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research in 2015:
  • 73% (72.6%) of manuscripts were written by authors who provided a US affiliation 
  • 7% (6.8%) of manuscripts were written by authors from the US who collaborated with authors from other countries o predominantly English-speaking countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK o But also: China, Japan, Norway, and Taiwan 
  • TOTAL = 80% written by/with US authors 
  • 20% (20.5%) of manuscripts were written by authors from other countries: Australia (4), Belgium (5), Canada (6), China, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, The Netherlands (7), Turkey, and UK 
The majority of papers reported that their participants spoke English; however, there were some papers where the participants spoke Cantonese, Catalan, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian, Turkish.

So while Dr. Kent described the “Global base of contributors and readers for the ASHA journals”, there is more to be done with only 20% of papers published in JSLHR in 2015 being written by authors outside of the US.

There is a welcome emphasis in the ASHA Scholarly Publications innovations on being more global.
  • Resources for authors: including online resources about Quality of a manuscript’s English-language and the possible development of a Chinese language toggle for ScholarOne (ASHA, 2015, p. 42) 
  • Abstracts available in a range of languages including Spanish 
  • Peer review help desk, knowledgebase, academy 
  • Increase of strategic content development 
  • Journals Board that includes one international member 

These changes will support us to move beyond the monolingual English or bilingual English-Spanish mindset. We are in a profession that values communication as a human right, and support Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This right includes the freedom “to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas” – and this call is for all people and all languages. ASHA innovations to scholarly publications will support knowledge translation and dissemination from research to practice that will benefit Americans with speech, language, hearing, and communication needs, as well as those throughout the world.