Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Tanita Saenkhum

Committee Members

Lisa King, Sean Morey


Linguistic bias in academic publishing, the idea that a manuscript would be rejected due to its language alone, is a growing area of concern and study. Scholars are particularly concerned that EAL (English as an Additional Language, often referred to as “non-native”) writers face this bias more than first-language English authors. The research on linguistic bias relies on understanding the perceptions about language that belong to reviewers, authors, and other parties involved in publication. This MA thesis project investigates peer reviewer perceptions of English language usage in the manuscripts that they review using the International Journal of Nuclear Security (IJNS) as the site of research. Data sources came from an anonymous online survey and peer reviews from published IJNS manuscripts. Findings show that the participants, reviewers for nuclear security academic research, do notice language usage in manuscripts and consciously decide how to respond to perceived errors. Reviewers also seem to expect authors to use some standard, correct language when writing English-language manuscripts for international, academic publication, but none defined exactly what the standard or correct language was. These results suggest that IJNS and other international, academic, English-language publications should communicate clearly with reviewers about what is expected of them regarding comments about language in reviews and what the publication’s understanding of correct language is. The larger conversation about linguistic bias may be more productively conducted if it is shifted to a conversation about standard and nonstandard language rather than focusing on the native/non-native author divide.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."