We are delighted to announce that we have integrated the language editing software, Writefull, into the online submission system of Journal of Applied Ecology.
Writefull is an automatic proofing and editing AI tool trained on published articles from STEM subject areas. It screens text for correctness of grammar, spelling, vocabulary and punctuation, as well more subtle language issues such as style, word order, and phrasing. Submitting authors will be able to use this service free of charge at the initial point of submission via our submission site, or manuscripts can be recommended for screening by Writefull when a final decision is sent out.
The expectation for authors to publish in English can be a significant barrier for researchers whose native language is not English. It can also lead to significantly longer times in peer review if Editors also have to return papers to authors where the language isn’t of the required standard.
We have already published an Editorial outlining our commitment to supporting applied ecologists from underrepresented geographic areas and, subsequently, have introduced a range of initiatives aimed at reducing these barriers, such as a statement on inclusion on the initial point of submission, recruiting only from the Global South for our Associate Editor Mentee programme, ran a workshop on addressing ‘helicopter research’ on ecology at the 2021 BES Festival of Ecology, and introduced an annual open access Virtual Issue which promotes important new research from the Global South.
By integrating Writefull into our submission system, we will be able to offer greater language and writing support for those that need it and, by offering it earlier in the review process, provide training opportunities and greater confidence for author groups without a fluent English-speaker.
We are constantly looking at ways to improve the experiences of our authors, reviewers, Associate Editors and Senior Editors – we hope that this change will benefit these audiences whilst at the same time contribute to our ongoing work to support a more diverse community of ecologists