The publication practices of scholars in one research intensive institution in Russia

Smirnova, Natalia (2024). The publication practices of scholars in one research intensive institution in Russia. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis contributes to the field of academic writing for publication by exploring publication practices of sixteen scholars at a university in Russia, a previously under-researched geopolity. With the dominance of English, the world of academic publishing has undergone significant changes; hence, this ethnographically-oriented study reports on the issues Russian scholars face because of these changes when publishing in Russian and English. The thesis pays attention to both text and context, combining interviews with the analysis of paired texts in English and Russian as well as paired text histories (THs).

The findings are presented in three ways. Firstly, findings grounded in scholars’ interviews highlight the experiences scholars face when they publish in two languages. Secondly, findings based on publication records and detailed CVs of these scholars indicate the key languages and publication output types in knowledge production. In knowledge circulation, findings based on a participant-generated corpus supported by interview accounts provide insights into why scholars choose to cite works written in a particular language in their Russian- and English-medium texts and across three disciplines. Finally, findings based on three paired THs make visible the role of literacy brokers and scholars’ agency in responding to their citation requests.

Overall, this thesis contributes to knowledge in four ways: 1) by extending the empirical evidence through documentation of issues surrounding publication practices of scholars working outside the ‘Anglophone centre’; 2) by illuminating the role of language choice in knowledge production and circulation; 3) by demonstrating the significance of brokering and specific ways in which what gets cited impacts knowledge circulation globally. A fourth and methodological contribution is a paired approach which allows the decentring of English in multilingual text production.

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