A discourse community, as Swales (1990, p. 9) defines, is a “socio-rhetorical network that exists” to achieve particular shared goals, and to gain these goals, members of the discourse community need familiarity with the particular inter-communication mechanisms or genres which are characteristic of that community. Central to the idea of discourse community is genre, which is “a class of communicative events, the members of which share some set of communicative purposes” (Swales, 1990, p. 58). Moreover, genres can be described as activities of a discourse community which, according to Swales, are “determinant of linguistic choices (1990, p. 42); therefore, examining the conventional modes of expression of a particular genre can be very illuminating. These modes of expression could be spoken or written (among other modes such as electronic or multimodal). Written modes of expression, in particular, academic writing is of paramount significance in academic communities since it is a prerequisite for participation in higher education (Bruce, 2008, p. 1), and it is a medium “through which scholars attempt to negotiate with and persuade other scholars of the legitimacy of their arguments” to be recognized as accepted knowledge within their disciplines (Hewings, 2001, p. 10). Also, of all genres “within academic writing, it is the research article that has attracted the most attention” as the primary medium for presenting claims of new knowledge (Hewings, 2001, p. 12-13).
Research Article and Post-graduate Education
Moreover, “academic discourse refers to the various ways of thinking and using language that are present in the academy” (Hyland, 2009a, p. 1). The study of academic discourse is a young but rapidly rising field. Academic discourse is gaining more reputation as more students in higher education need to communicate within their academic communities, as scholars’ careers are tangled with their success in publishing, and as social institutions, media, and advertising are influenced by the language of science more than ever (Hyland, 2009a, p. viii). This empirical language of science based on logic and argument is the basis of scientific progress and construction of knowledge.
Researchers all around the world are required to publish in order to improve their tenure, as their academic success is tied to their success in publishing in English as “the global academic lingua franca” (McKinley & Rose, 2018, p. 1). Similarly, post-graduate students need to present their research through dissertation and finally deliver their investigation by publishing it in English. However, a huge number of scholars and post-graduate students throughout the world are not native speakers of English. This presents a colossal task for the researchers and students alike, since they live, study, and communicate in a non-English context, but are required to present and publish their research in English. Moreover, academics around the world are required to “publish in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals as a prerequisite for promotion, and career development” (Hyland, 2009a, p. 67); therefore, the RA can be described as the “principal site of disciplinary knowledge-making” and the “pre-eminent genre of the academy” (p. 67). This “pre-eminence stems from the value attached to the highly regarded peer-review procedure as a controlling and regulating system for transforming thoughts into knowledge, and the prestige attached to a genre, which establishes a discourse for scientific fact-creation” (p. 68).
Of all genres within academic writing, it is the research article (RA) that has attracted the most attention as the primary channel for presenting claims of new knowledge (Hewings, 2001, p. 12). Moreover, despite competing electronic publishing alternatives such as websites, the research article continues to be “the pre-eminent genre of the academy” and “the principal site of disciplinary knowledge-making” (Hyland, 2009, p. 67) and what Montgomery (1996, p. 2) describes as the “master narrative” of our time. One reason for this prominence can be the worth given to the highly regarded peer-review procedure as a controlling and regulating system for transforming thoughts into knowledge (Hyland, 2009, p. 68) as authors try to “have their arguments become part of the disciplinary consensus where new findings” are contextualized within the framework of the previously published literature which efficiently displays a current status of the existing consensus (Hewings, 2001, p. 12). Another reason is the prestige ascribed to a genre which creates a means for a scientific generation of facts as more academics around the world are required to “publish in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals as a requirement for promotion and career development” (Hyland, 2009, p.67), a point also acknowledged by other scholars (e.g., Hartley, 2008; Swales, 1990).
English Native Editing
English academic journals have very high language publication standards. While native researchers might be able to match these criteria, non-native researchers and scholars can use native editing services to improve their research article’s language quality to meet the standards of the high-impact English academic journals. These services are offered by websites such as Enago or Editage; however, if you are an Iranian scholar, you can use Lingaline for English native editing services and also receive a certificate to prove that your manuscript was edited by an experienced native American/Canadian editor.
Bruce, I. (2008). Academic writing and genre: A systematic analysis. New York, NY: Continuum International Publishing Group.
Hartley, J. (2008). Academic writing and publishing: A practical handbook. New York: Taylor & Francis.
Hewings, M. (2001). Academic writing in context: Implications and applications: Papers in honour of Tony Dudley-Evans. Birmingham: University of Birmingham Press.
Hyland, K. (2009). Corpus informed discourse analysis: The case of academic engagement. In M. Charles, D. Pecorari, & S. Hunstan (Eds.), Academic writing: At the interface of corpus and discourse (pp. 110–128). New York: Continuum International Publishing Group.
McKinley, J., & Rose, H. (2018). Conceptualizations of language errors, standards, norms and nativeness in English for research publication purposes: An analysis of journal submission guidelines. Journal of Second Language Writing 42, 1-11.
Montgomery, S. (1996). The scientific voice. New York: The Guildford Press.
Swales, J. (1990). Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings. New York: Cambridge University Press.