Language is still a major barrier to the transfer of scientific knowledge even though English is increasingly used as the global language of science, a study has found. The research, published in the journal PLOS Biology, highlights a practical problem that scientists in many parts of the world, including francophone Africa, have long struggled with.
Its authors took a close look at scientific documents on biodiversity conservation published in 2014. The documents — more than 75,000 in total — were written in 16 different languages. For about every ten documents, roughly six were in English and three in other languages.
The numbers suggest that English remains a leading language within scientific communities. But the results also underline the fact that a great deal of research is still conducted in languages other than English, and that they end up having little visibility.