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Submission letters for academic publication: Disciplinary differences and promotional language
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2014 (English)In: Journal of English for Academic Purposes, ISSN 1475-1585, E-ISSN 1878-1497, Vol. 14, 106-117 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

One of the occluded genres in academic publishing is the submission letter that accompanies a journal article. Research from the 1990s shows that a wide range of disciplines preferred a simple, concise and modest form. The genre has survived the transition to electronic publishing, and a number of publications by authorities with editorial experience have recommended a more promotional discourse. This suggests that the submission letter may have undergone the 'marketization' process often noted in academic genres. This article reports a study of the published requirements of journals in various disciplines, the perceptions of senior researchers, and the practices of three informants over the last twenty years. We find little evidence that marketized discourse has actually spread in this genre since the 1990s. Competitive fields, primarily biomedicine, used a promotional discourse as early as 1988, and have continued to do so, and others were more modest at that time, and have not changed. Editorial pressures and standardization of submission requirements might cause change in the expected direction. Our pedagogical recommendation is that the genre matters in some disciplines, and that its rhetoric has to be discipline-appropriate. More generally the results confirm the importance of discipline-specific conventions, even in occluded genres.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 14, 106-117 p.
Keyword [en]
Research publication, Occluded genres, Biomedicine, Reviewing practices, Submission letter
National Category
Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-105896DOI: 10.1016/j.jeap.2014.02.002ISI: 000336873000010OAI: diva2:733380


Available from: 2014-07-09 Created: 2014-07-08 Last updated: 2014-07-09Bibliographically approved

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Shaw, PhilipKuteeva, Maria
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