Thirty Rewarding Years of Population in French and English,1989–2019

Social science research today is largely international, with scholars of different nationalities working together and often travelling to each other’s countries. For the widest possible communication and publication of their research findings, their language of choice is English. However, they also need to publish in their national languages. This ensures that their findings are available to a wider non-academic audience, policymakers in particular. It is also crucial to maintain a research culture in these national languages. 

How are scholarly journals to meet these possibly conflicting national and international objectives and ever-higher standards of research quality and dissemination? Some European demography journals, originally published in, say, Italian or German, are now published only in English. Some allow their authors the choice between English and their national language, but within a few years many of these journals have become ‘English only’. Others have opted for bilingualism, publishing research articles in both their national language and English. This editorial choice ensures wide dissemination for the research findings in English among international readers and those less fluent in the language. It also enables researchers to write in their first language and still be read outside that community. Such a choice is, however, more expensive and labour-intensive. But it is this high standard of full translation that Population has set for itself since 2002. 

As early as 1989, 30 years ago this year, we published some of our articles in an annual English Selection, a separate issue containing translations of articles previously published in French. To appear in the English Selection was a clear recognition of high-quality work likely to be of interest to a wide readership. Evidence of this can be seen in the first issue’s table of contents. 

This pioneering decision for a social science journal ensured Population’s international recognition. Building on this success, the journal became fully bilingual 13 years later. Authors have the option of submitting their articles in either French or English, to be translated by us and published in both languages.

Contact: Population Editors in chief

Online: October 2019

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