Policies for portuguese and spanish: the world's second publication language in Web of Science
The article determines the profile and evolution of publication languages in Web of Science since the 1960’s, exploring its consequences to academic publishing and scientific communication inter pares. Findings show that Portuguese and Spanish (Iberian languages), absent in the early sixties, are now the second publication language in Web of Science, while traditional influential publication languages as German, French and Russian have decreased their output, and English remains the dominant idiom. The research collected data on all documents published annually in Web of Science, Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index between 1960 and 2015, resulting in a database that analyses 51 million scientific items. Discovering Iberian languages are the second publication idiom in Web of Science, the article discusses their high status in elite academic publishing, and its potential and consequences in terms of scientific and economic prestige, language policy, and possible incentives to balance English language hegemony. Especially in science publishing, idiom dominance tends to be presented as a neutral feature – an objectification of language envisaged as a natural means destined to a transparent communication. Challenging such naturalization, the article examines multilingualism in science publication as an asset that could be valued in determining science and language policies, contributing to the ongoing debate on language diversity in science.