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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Duchêne, Alexandre / Coulmas, Florian

CiteScore 2016: 0.53

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.505
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.716

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Volume 2012, Issue 216


The linguistic implications of academic performance indicators: general trends and case study

Michele Gazzola,
Published Online: 2012-07-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2012-0043


This article analyzes the new system of indicators adopted in Italy to evaluate universities' research activities, and it shows that this system provides an implicit structure of economic incentives which de facto is likely to favor the use of English in scientific communication. This is due, among other things, to the use of bibliometric indicators and databases skewed in favor of English. This article also analyzes the rising phenomenon of programs taught entirely in English in Italian universities, showing that the introduction of programs in English does not seem to respond to a real demand by students or to a demand for language skills in the Italian labor market. Rather, it is related to the use of the number of foreign students as an indicator of university performance. The focus of the article is on the respective use of Italian and English in Italian universities, but general remarks are also relevant to other countries and the European Union as a whole. This article emphasizes the effects of academic performance indicators on linguistic diversity and thus their role as a language policy tool. In addition, it addresses the question of the quality of indicators currently employed.

Keywords: language policy; research assessment; journal impact factor; bibliometric indicators; international student mobility; university rankings

About the article

Published Online: 2012-07-07

Published in Print: 2012-07-19

Citation Information: , Volume 2012, Issue 216, Pages 131–156, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2012-0043.

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