For what you are about to receive, you’re welcome

January 5, 2017

Mark Readman thoughtfully provided an 11-point guide to help selfish academics ensure that they stand out at a conference (“How to act like a superstar scholar”, Opinion, 15 December). But might I offer a 12th point?

  • Universalise, don’t localise.

You speak the greatest language, spoken all the way around the world, right? So your research is universal, too. Don’t suggest that as your findings come from here in the anglophone UK – or Australia, or New Zealand, or the US – they might apply only here. That kind of humble “we need research in other countries” stuff is for all those foreigners in your audience.

Your findings are already universal, like your language. Speak grandly. Speak universally.

Also, don’t for a minute think that your findings might have arisen just because we do things oddly here. And remember, if anyone questions the wider applicability of your research to their country, simply say: “Well, I don’t know the circumstances over there, so I’ve no idea.” That way, you localise them, not yourself.


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Reader's comments (1)

The craven and despicable decision of most European universities to teach in a language which they suppose to be English is a disaster. On the evidence of European conferences which I have attended, most scholars are unable to express themselves adequately in "English" But their governments impose this requirement, so that grant applications, which have sadly become the be-all and end-all of most universities, must be made in "English". It is hard to imagine a more effective for of intellectual suicide.

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