Academic socialisation into scholarly publishing: perceptions and experiences of Vietnamese doctoral students in Australia
Writing for scholarly publication involves doctoral students' socialisation into their disciplinary writing practices. It can be a challenging task for many doctoral students who are usually novice scholarly writers. With the dominance of English language in international publishing, doctoral students who use English as an Additional Language (EAL) may encounter additional challenges in getting their research published. Previous studies on EAL doctoral students' socialisation into scholarly publication have been mostly conducted in non-Anglophone contexts and North America. Since empirical studies on this topic in the Australian context are scant, this study seeks to investigate scholarly publication practices of Vietnamese international doctoral students in Australia. Drawing on Lave and Wenger's concepts of Legitimate Peripheral Participation (1991) and Community of Practice (1998), and Bourdieu's Forms of Capital (1986), this study explores Vietnamese doctoral students' perceptions of publishing in English, their encountered challenges throughout the process, and the factors enabling their socialisation and attainment of publication during the candidature. Employing a multiple-case study design, this study uses questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and publication-related documents to collect data from 10 Vietnamese doctoral students from six universities in Australia. These participants were either currently studying in or recently graduated from Australian universities, and included those who were successful and unsuccessful in publishing their research during candidature. Data were analysed using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006).
Four key findings emerged from this research. First, while most participants were aware of their linguistic disadvantage, they did not regard English language as a barrier for them in international publishing because they perceived some factors that could facilitate success. Second, the importance of English language competence as linguistic capital was not valued equally among participants. While human and social science students consider their disciplines quite linguistically demanding, science students thought that their disciplines did not require sophisticated writing skills. Third, participants encountered various challenges both during manuscript preparation and post-submission process, including lack of discipline-specific knowledge and research skills, being unfamiliar with academic writing and the research paper genre, lengthy peer review process, and difficulties in handling reviewers' feedback. Those who could not publish their research encountered an additional challenge of insufficient supervisory support. Fourth, among the factors that contributed to successful publishing, supervisory support and guidance was considered the most crucial factor. While successful students were engaged in a network of scholars who contributed greatly to their papers, unsuccessful students seemed to be more isolated during their publishing journey. As such, this study has demonstrated that social capital, or the beneficial resources that doctoral students gained from participation in a network of scholars, was important for success in academic publishing.
The findings of the current study contribute to a better understanding of scholarly publication practices among Vietnamese doctoral students in the Australian context and can inform various stakeholders such as doctoral supervisors, academic language and learning professionals, university management teams, and policy makers in providing appropriate academic support to help EAL doctoral students on their journey to successful publications.