Language Policy

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 273–288 | Cite as

Publishing strategies of young, highly mobile academics: the question of language in the European context

  • Laurie Anderson
Original Paper


This paper examines links between publishing strategies and the academic mobility of multilingual entry-level scholars in the European context against the backdrop of European Union (EU) policies and research on academic labor market characteristics, skilled migration and scholarly publishing. An analysis of language of publication, patterns of co-authorship and mode of publication in the publishing records of 157 former fellows from a highly selective EU-supported post-doctoral program in economics, social and political science, history and law, indicates considerable disciplinary variation (e.g. ‘English-only’ co-authoring in economics; substantial multilingual publishing in the other disciplines). On the basis of semi-structured interviews with fellows publishing in from two to four languages, policy forces influencing language choice are identified and three patterns of multilingual publishing linked to projected and actual career trajectories are described. The study provides evidence of the impact of national and EU-level policies and practices on publishing choices during the doctoral and post-doctoral phases, while highlighting the role of disciplinary identity and related social practices. It also underlines the need to assume a critical perspective on the equation often drawn between English-language publishing and ‘internationality’.


Scholarly publishing Multilingual scholars Academic mobility English as an international language European Union English language policy Life-course perspectives on academic careers 


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I would like to thank Ramon Marimon and Karin Tilmans, director and coordinator of the MWP, respectively, for the opportunity to observe this unique community of international scholars; the interviewees, for their willingness to share their reflections; Nicky Owtram, Nicki Hargreaves, and three anonymous reviewers for feedback on earlier versions of this paper; Chiara Righi, Martina Failli and Matteo Campriani for assistance with data transcription.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SienaArezzoItaly

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