Date of Award

12-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

David Hanauer

Second Advisor

Gian Pagnucci

Third Advisor

Curtis Porter

Fourth Advisor

Mary Jane Curry

Abstract

This qualitative study investigates the publication practices of multilingual humanities and social sciences scholars in Taiwan. The purpose is to identify the forces and issues that have influenced participants’ publication decisions in general, and with Taiwan-based English medium journals (TBEMJs) in particular. The dissertation is embedded in the semiotic habitat of Taiwanese higher education (HE), which is theorized as a complex sociolinguistic system (Blommaert, 2010, 2014) beyond the Anglophone center and impacted by its own history and globalization influences. Researchers’ activity in this system is described in terms of center-directed mobility and margin-directed locality along indexical scales of education, institution, rank, and publications. The metaphor of a rhizome explains the knowledge economy at the “subterranean” level of the “semi-periphery” and its interaction with the Anglophone center.

Participants include 14 multilingual humanities and social sciences researchers. They represent various disciplines from 12 universities in Taiwan, and had published in one of four TBEMJs. Data include transcripts from one-on-one interviews, participants’ curricula vitae, and policy documents. Interviews lasting one to two hours were conducted in English and/or Mandarin. The audio recordings were transcribed in the original languages, and Mandarin portions were translated into English. Participants’ responses were summarized and researcher reflections recorded to identify themes; codes were assigned. A table was used to track participants’ references to codes in relation to their education, institution, and rank. Codes related specifically to TBEMJ experiences were identified for focused analysis.

Participants’ general publishing practices were influenced by the assessment regime through institutional evaluation policies. Their experiences were shaped by when they entered HE and the type and location of their institutions. Forces and issues influencing participants’ publishing in TBEMJs are reported in five findings: (a) Rejection from “international” publications, (b) Citation index, (c) Time pressure, (d) Suitability, and (e) Relationships. Integrated into findings were evaluation policies quantifying research output based on publications’ citation index status. This politics of citation indexes created a “citation index complex,” which seems to override research dissemination choices. Based on findings, practical steps that institutions and journals can take to raise the profile of TBEMJs, in Taiwan and beyond, are suggested.

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