The document needs thorough English language editing.. “Avail the services of English language expert”…No… “The document need to be verified by a native English language speaker for spelling, grammar and quality of English” When my research paper on a very specialized domain in medicine came back with the above recommendations from the journal, I was genuinely baffled and tried to understand whether the English of the paper was “so bad”.
The methodology I have adopted was that I have given it to five of my doctor friends and asked them to read and provide their honest opinion on whether they could make sense of my paper. Also requested them to point out if there are any major issues with the language of the paper. As anticipated, all my doctor friends could perfectly understand what I wanted to convey and two of them stated “nicely written”. I have given it to a native English language speaker as suggested by the journal and eagerly waited for the inputs and corrected version. Not to forget that I had to spend about 10% of my monthly salary as professional fees. The nature of corrections done were like cutting down the length of statements, passive voice to active voice, changing few adjectives,stuffing with few finer words along with some editing with respect to punctuations. I have read both the versions of the paper and they absolutely made the same sense to me.
After hearing similar experiences from many of my friends i started wondering What should be the appropriate level of English in a scientific work? If a scientific finding with a huge potential is presented in accurate but reasonable quality English, should it be fine to publish it? Or Is it appropriate to demand for literary quality of English from a scientist of a specialized domain like medicine/engineering/agriculture?
Are we looking at the scientific beauty of the work ? or
We are more concerned about the literary beauty of scientific work…….