Changes in publication languages and citation practices and their effet on scientific impact on Russian science (1993-2010)

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This article analyzes the effects of publication language on the international scientific visibility of Russia using the Web of Science (WoS). Like other developing and transition countries, it is subject to a growing pressure to “internationalize” its scientific activities, which primarily means a shift to English as a language of scientific communication. But to what extent does the transition to English improve the impact of research? The case of Russia is of interest in this respect as the existence of many combinations of national journals and languages of publications (namely, Russian and English, including translated journals) provide a kind of natural I experiment to test the effects of language and publisher’s country on the international visibility of research through citations as well as on the referencing practices of authors. Our analysis points to the conclusion that the production of original English-language papers in foreign journals is a more efficient strategy of internationalization than the mere translation of domestic journals. If the objective of a country is to maximize the international visibility of its scientific work, then the efforts should go into the promotion of publication in reputed English-language journals to profit from the added effect provided by the Matthew effect of these venues.

This content has been updated on June 2nd, 2017 at 11 h 57 min.