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Transcript - Publishing in a multilingual world

A conversation with Sarah Frances Gordon

Published onFeb 06, 2023
Transcript - Publishing in a multilingual world
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Jo: Welcome to another episode of the show, and thanks for joining us. We're here with Sarah Frances Gordon, who is the editorial manager at the JournalCue Laure Egoria Makana University, Ibido Americana, in Mexico City, Mexico. Could have said that in Spanish as well, welcome Sarah. Feel free to rephrase and re pronounce correctly where you're working and what you do.

Sarah:  So I work in a bilingual journal in which we accept articles in English and Spanish, and it's called Cue Laure Ibero Americana, or in English psychology, Ibero Americana. And the journal is now 35 years old. It is as old as me. I'm 35 and I work at University Da Ibero Americana in Mexico City. And it is a Jesuit university, which means a private Catholic university. So the university was founded in 1943, and it's the oldest, I think, private university in the country. And the Jese je universities across the US. Canada, Asia, Spain, Wales, South America. There are a lot in Argentina. Brazil, chile. Columbia. Porto, Paraguay. Peru. Uruguay. Venezuela. And so we're just part of that family. 

Jo: Also in Africa, and other parts of the world, Asia, Europe, anywhere.

Sarah: India, Indonesia, one in Japan. It's like Lebanon, Philippines, South Korea, Central America, europe. None in Africa that I can see. 

Jo: Okay. Do you have to be Catholic to either work at or attend the university? 

Sarah: No, you definitely don't. So religious affiliation is not a requirement for work here, nor are there requirements to study. It's just a university that follows the Jesuit Spirits, which aims to educate students along the idea that your individuality is linked to your social action and your community works and how you serve others. And that is important to educate not only your mind, but also your spirit and sense of giving back to the community. 

Jo: Well, that's so nice and makes me think about what's the purpose of research in the first place. And there's probably several purposes. And here we have a whole university family of a particular purpose. So what are the disciplines that you would find embedded  in the university where you're working in Mexico City? 

Sarah: So at the university, we have the psychology departments, which is the department I am in. We have a law department, design department, architecture department, communications, gosh there's, everything. We have one of the largest libraries in the country. Fantastic. Very beautiful. What else? We have a neuropsychology laboratory, which is fantastic. We have a lot of facilities. 

Jo: So do you also have life sciences represented?

Sarah:  Yes. 

Jo: Okay. And how would that then apply to the purpose that universities are meant to foster? Because life sciences cannot be very much applied. I'm coming from a fundamental research-biology angle. Why I'm getting drawn to that question. So the question is, does the university also offer courses in fundamental research? 

Sarah: So there are research courses. We also have a new department, which is the department of Social Action and Social Service, whose purpose is to help students, during their bachelor's degree, have to not only go to classes, but also be involved in social projects.

Jo:  All right.

Sarah: Which is important. And we also run different projects at the university, and a lot of our researchers focus on social goods. For example, at the journal that I'm working at the moment, which is Open access, and there's no AP Fees, which has article processing charges, so you can submit for free, publish for free. And that's funded by the university. And our special number, we have two numbers this year that will come out in the next month. And the one is on violence against children in Mexico during the Pandemic. And the other one is on the extended effects of criminal incarceration in Latin America. And that one, we have contributions from Argentina, Mexico well, I can't remember at the moment, Argentina, Mexico, I think mainly. So we're also looking at social issues that previously have been underrepresented, social issues that are important.

Jo:  And it interestingly or maybe not so coincidentally links to your research background, which is in trauma relief, trauma as is, and violence against women research.

Sarah: Yes. Agreed.

Jo: Is it that you chose that position to work for a journal that also covers those topics? 

Sarah: Yes. So probably I'm working where I should be because I'm working in an institution that believes in social action and social good and serving the community. And a lot of my research before so I did a PhD in psychology, and it was on violence against women and it affects on women in the general population, not just survivors of violence. And then I did a postdoc in political Science with the Agenda and politics, mercy, citizenship rights in Zimbabwe and same sex relationships of women in South Africa. And now I'm working in Mexico at External. And a lot of so obviously I'm following the things I'm passionate about, a lot of the stuff we publish, and a lot of our special numbers are about social issues that have been underrepresented. For example, during the Pandemic, we had a fantastic issue which was on the psychosocial impacts of COVID-19 in the Mexican population and was a special member. And we had contributors from all over Mexico. We had an advance just to find out what is the psychological impact of COVID-19 and all the research that was going through there. So we do a lot of important things, I think. 

Jo: Yeah, for sure. What I'm wondering now is how is the transition for you? How long have you been working in the journal? 

Sarah: I've been working here for four years and one month. 

Jo: Okay. How is it different from being an active researcher, looking at the actual data and processing the data to now collecting and curating and assessing other researchers' work through the journal? Would it be possible for you to explain a bit how that works for you to address the topic that you're so obviously passionate about from a different angle? That makes sense.

Sarah: So I love research. And as you were saying earlier, I am a generalist and I love all the research. So during my PhD in my postdoc and my masters, I undertook research. I did the research design, the data collection, the data analysis. I even did all my transcriptions myself, the write ups, the thesis, the publishing. So I love all aspects. To be involved in the editorial side is very interesting and very enlightening as well, because a lot of researchers write a journal article and they submit their work and then they don't know what happens after that. It disappears behind the person of journals or peer review. So it's nice to know everything that goes on. The peer review process, the editorial stages, what happens before production, what goes into creating a journal article, what our digital persistent identifiers are? Why are they important? And all the different aspects that as researchers, we take for granted. And we get angry when our articles aren't back from peer review after a month. And we don't realize that there are people frantically running around trying to find anyone to review it. And we're trying to double blind our journal. We use double blind peer review where the author and the reviewer doesn't they don't know who each other is, so it's completely anonymous to maintain credibility and quality and prevent bias. So we're all running around trying to do those things. So it's nice to know all the processes that go on behind the curtains. 

Jo: So some aspects of that we just recently co chaired guide for Researchers what happens during peer review. So once you submit and as we address that now as the mystic sphere and manuscripts are gone in the hands of the editors and reviewers and publishers. Yeah, so we will place a link to that guide as well. But then some other aspects as you also mentioned, like the type setting, layout thing, all of that is a whole lot of work going on in the background.

Okay, so bilingual, running a bilingual journal, isn't it double the amount of work? 

Jo: It's a lot of work. It was a lot of work, right? For example, on the website of the journal, you can toggle between English and Spanish and every page has an English and Spanish version, depending. And you can submit your article by the system in English or in Spanish, depending on what you've written. And every issue, the editorial is published in English and Spanish, both side by side, so that anyone can read the editorial. And then we publish English articles if you receive them. Mostly we publish Spanish articles. Occasionally we receive English articles. I wish we would receive more English articles, but we could publish them because we accept English articles. 

Jo: Okay, so just to balance the ratio. 

Sarah: To balance the ratio. Because obviously in Mexico, to publish in English is an extra amount of work. We know this whole English only Anglophone journal world. When you have to publish in English, you want to have a translator. And then when you go to peer review, when you do your revisions, you've got to have someone help you edit it and it's additional work and an additional burden. So often we receive just Spanish submissions. Next year we will launch a project to try to boost English submissions. So we are still working on that because obviously as much as we hate it, people read English articles and they have greater discoverability in terms of international reach, even though the discriminatory language practices in Anglophone journals are well documented. 

Jo: We just had a discussion also on record for this podcast. So by the time this is published, you'll probably already be able to access the other one as well. About translating research and opportunities, drawbacks, benefits, whatever that comes with it, it's extra work for sure. Somebody needs to pay for that extra amount of work that goes in. Also the assessment of the there's always some interpretation that comes with translation or recontextualization where information may be added or lost in the process. So I just personally feel that it's also important to nurture the culture of research in the mother tongue of the communities or the home language or the regional local language. But also of course, we all agree that it's necessary to have like not that we have one lingua Franca and Spanish, Portuguese are huge language groups in themselves, but we need to find ways but these global challenges to cross, like to exchange information across these language groups and barriers and they're interesting. I think your journal has a long track record of facilitating bilinguality, some sort of summary, but it's an access point. But the question now, and I look at four that at least translate the title metadata and the summary are abstract and that's already quite an amount of work to do. But it's so beneficial because it often allows us to look at our own research from another perspective. Isn't it funny that my company is called Access to Perspective, coincidentally mentioning that oftentimes it also allows to see it from a different angle again and then also to open up the results to the regional communities and stakeholder groups and then also in Anglophone institutions where there's research to be done in other world regions. I personally think it should be obligatory and default to translate in that target region. Language is one or more. It's not a significant amount from what I've seen, but maybe that's something we can also advocate for increasingly. So what do you think would be okay, basically from you wanting to receive more submissions from the Spanish speaking community in Mexico and other countries in Latin America? The benefit would obviously be for them to gain more visibility, to access more of the Anglophone knowledge discourse or scholarly discourse around several topics. So you feel like I'm going with this so there's not enough of all of this, even though you already have so much with the journal set up and you do assign persistent identifiers. So in theory the discoverability would be there even for the Spanish speaking or Spanish language articles. But then it's not being made use of.

Sarah: I think multilingualism and research is a very complex issue and obviously having a language like English to translate and make science communicable between different countries, it's important. However, there are, how will we say, language discriminatory practices and journals. And you touched on discoverability is always an issue, I think. So it's not just about publishing horn English because it's also about people being able to understand and read more about the research that's happening in Latin America, in Spain and the neighboring US. That is done in Spanish. A lot of researchers, when they do their literature review, they just look at the articles in English even when they're writing a literature review on a social phenomenon in Mexico, they just read the articles about the migrant situation in Mexico that are published in English and there are many articles that are published in Spanish. So it's also about the discoverability and that often research that is published in different languages is ignored by the English Speaking community. They almost utter it in those accounts and that, I feel, compromises research in general. So I'm with you in the belief that we need multilingualism in research and we need to translate more of our work. And I also think the same as you, that it should be ethically obligatory, like what's the word? Yes, obligatory. Ethically obligatory to publish research in the language in the country where the field work is done. And if you're publishing in an international journal that would be in Spanish or if you do your field research and I don't know, it depends. In Mozambique, you publish it in Portuguese and English. Or passive cozumel Italia. You publish it in Zulu and English. It depends. Obviously these are just beautiful ideals that we have, but I think it's important researchers and different angles.

Jo:  And that's very much possible. I mean, the accuracy of machine translation from Spanish to English and vice versa is astonishing. The accuracy is high. Yeah, of course, taking into account that it should always be manually checked for accuracy also from the research aspects specific. So I'm not saying we should 100% rely on machine translation, but it can be a gate opener, an access point, and it's just a matter of two or three mouse clicks. I'm saying this because your journal and other journals also claim to be international, have studied that. So it's happening and it's just a matter of as more and more journals are embracing the practice of providing an infrastructure interface for submitting authors to have a bilingual or multilingual entry mask for the data, the title asteroid, metadata and possibly even the full article. But there's an amount of work we don't know that's a decent budget to tap into.

I was questioning. I was poking a little bit in that direction because if you advocate for all of you, if you encourage the Spanish speaking community to please consider writing articles in English. Now, don't we serve a system we want to change? 

Sarah:True, very true. It's a tightrope you have to balance. You have to balance on it, and you have to make sure you don't go, you don't only publish in English, you don't only publish in Spanish. It's the tightrope of trying to maintain a culture of multilingualism and research. 

Jo: The other thing is if, okay, so now people would still stick with you as a journal, but once they flip to English, don't you see it also as a possibility that they might leave for another English speaking journal? Prestige occupied journal, not saying that yours doesn't have any prestige. Isn't that like, yeah, couldn't that happen? And wouldn't that be a loss for the region as a regional scholarly infrastructure to be utilized by the community? 

Sarah: Okay, I suppose we're an open access journal, so we're not reliant on APCs. So I don't think of it as so much a loss of revenue as I'm happy that researchers in Latin America are publishing in high impact journals, and I'm happy when they contribute to low impact we don't have an impact factor because we're not a scopus at the moment. But I'm happy when they contribute to local journals as well. So I'm happy if people are publishing about the area and their work and making it discoverable. And they're also publishing in different languages and doing whatever they can do to get their research out there. And if their research is about social issues and about the general population, then if their research is more discoverable and it helps them get a research ground which helps better serve a community or better develop, I don't know, medicine or psychological intervention or anything or a policy in their local country. I see that as a win for everyone. 

Jo: Right. Yeah. I have the advocate against the journal impact sector because it's purely an exclusively perceived, driven and like but that's the only thing I want. Like, we can leave the discussion there. And it's just like, it's funny because the person who came up with the sort of measuring or calculating what's now known as the impact vector wrote a paper about it, Eugene Garfield, and he literally said well, he's used many sentences. Unfortunately, he didn't say in one short sentence, do not use the impact factor. But basically, that's what the whole paper says in between each and every line. It's too complex, it's not comparable, it doesn't mean anything, the number you get. So don't get obsessed about it. Basically what the take home message is with many arguments that don't say that so explicitly, unfortunately, anyway. But yes, we have that. But taking your point is discoverability first because also what we do with Africa Archive, the preprint server or platform with Nexus platform for African researchers we started this to increase discoverability of African research output and when researchers approach as well, there's also Bio Archive, there's also other preprint service. Why should I submit with Africarxiv? I was like if it's for you about Discoverability only you serve us on our mission by submitting wherever just what you said. If it serves you to engage with the Bio Archive community then go for it. For the discoverability aspects it actually does make a difference because different indexing platforms like Scopus of Web Science, Google Scholar, the Lens dimensions with several that are now to be utilized and they all have different approaches to indexing. But still, as long as you have your eye on your article, discoverability should be there one way or the other and that's your win. But if you want to build community either for a region like with us, with Africa Archive or by submitting to a regional journal like yours, then you build and strengthen the community in that region or on that discipline level and that's like by Archives for biology and biosciences. So that's basically a personal choice for me. And it's good to have a diversity of options to choose from. And I'm just saying and emphasizing and I think that we're pretty much in line. It shouldn't matter. Like prestige shouldn't be the decision factor, but rather which community serves my interest and the purpose of my research test at this point. And then the next paper can be submitted wherever else. Whatever. I feel dramas not as they because if we have so many journals on the market, it's so confusing and some charge ABCs, others don't. Some journals are recommended or almost obligatory to submit based on the incentive or policy system that the university has. So yeah, I mean there's a level of redundancy also where to submit to and like many journalists offer the very same services or the very same scope of research interests. So wouldn't it be better for a journey? And Jr is probably doing that. To come back to the core of why the journal exists in the first place is to curate content for a particular region on a range of topics and to be specific about that and not to create redundancy and compete with prestigious impact factor levels instead. Just thinking out loud here.

Sarah: I agree with you also with regards to impact factors. Impact factors are tied to language. So the higher your impact factor, the higher the probability you only publish in English and the higher your impact factors, the probability is that your journal is related to a colonial institution that was privileged during a Pacific time in history. So you can also think of it like that. So impact factors we need to also think about why are some journals, why are the impact factors so high? And what gives them the opportunities and time is safe to have an impact factor that high. You also can think about it in terms of that. If we put our critical thinking cap on and we can ask ourselves how many of these journals are only published in English and how many are there journals of high impactors that publish in other languages other than English? Are there journals with high impact factors that are only published in a language that is not English? So there's also that to consider when you look at impact factors. I agree with you. If it's about discoverability, it depends on your mission with your research. Your mission with your research is to get a lot of discoverability or it is to grow a community or get exposure. So you can apply for a grant, so you can fund a project for an intervention and then you later use that to help a community or make a scientific discovery, then that's important. Whichever purpose your research is going, you should use. And in our journal, we focus on the Spanish speaking communities wherever they are in the world. So that's our area. So for example, the issue that will come out, we have two that are coming out in the next couple of months. We look at the extended effects of criminal incarceration for family members in Argentina, Mexico, we also look at violence against children in Mexico, a lot of our researchers entering the pandemic about that. So obviously our focus is different and we also focus on multilingualism. So all our abstracts are in English and Spanish and we make sure that every editorial is translated into English as well, so that the person who writes the editorial for that issue has some discoverability. And that's a manageable goal because an editorial is maximum four pages, minimum two. So that's a manageable goal that we can do. Also, I think the journalists need to think about what their mission is and what kind of vision they have. And there are only a few psychology journals in Mexico, so I feel like we're not saturating the market. With regard to other comments, I can't remember what your other comment was, sorry. 

Jo: Yeah, I also can't but I don't mean to criticize or challenge you in particular about journals in general because there's so many, literally hundreds and thousands of journals. Funny when you go through some databases, like the Dodge Director of Open Access, journals. I often direct people there to search for a journal to publish in and then you also have a price list on the site and then to look at Disciplinary research topic. There's 5000 channels on that topic and that sounded pretty niche already.

Sarah: Yes, I also worry about that. There's a lot of predatory journals at the moment out in the world. I'm sure you get those emails that say dear Dr. Jo, please consider and the English is terrible and they ask for you to publish in the upcoming number and they mention their very high APC charge which is voids and dollars and I'm sure you get those emails.

Jo:  Well, not so much because I'm not like researching on topics that are so like I do research and I publish on open science primarily so that's not so prone to phishing email but like predatory journals is one of my least favorite topics to talk about. 

Sarah: Oh, sorry. 

Jo: No, please don't, because I feel there's so much first of all, there's many African journals where there are decent journals and editorial teams which are heavily understaffed, often overworked. But they try their very best to serve their communities and they are often the only option where the researchers can publish because of peer review vices and those kinds of things. So that's one thing. And then, like Zoech, for example, the director of Open Access Journals also has an indexing list or indexing service for journalists and they actively encourage African Southeast Asian, Latin American journals to apply. But then they also have quality assurance measures to be indexed, obviously. And then some of those are transparently listed on the website. But then one thing is all you need is a physical address which is not so typical to have in some African countries so often as a decision point not to be indexed in the director of open access journals or to be labeled as a predatory journal. Like it can go both ways. So my other because what is the reason to be labeled as predatory? Name one exorbitant fee as an APC. Let's talk about nature for a minute. How dare they charge £9500 per submission. Like seriously, how does that make sense no matter how high the prestige might be like what the heck and how is that not exploiting the system? There was a huge uproar when they announced that now things are quieted down. People are just quietly accepting and finding the money and scratching it together from wherever. But how is this not predatory behavior of a stakeholder in the system? The other thing is not doing so for a peer review. Every journal on this planet has problems just mentioning it to find reviews because it's just humanly impossible to process the amount of articles that are being submitted and need to be peer reviewed. It's just the system is broken, it's not functional. I mean not the academia as a whole, I wouldn't say academia as a whole is broken, it has many flaws but we just need to accept that we need to restructure and restructuring is happening. But there's many high impact factor dramas that are stuck with peer review management and not because they're so bad, just because the market is so thin and maybe also they don't have the right policies in place. It's not uncommon sometimes to wait, not for one month is pretty quick to process a review or process. But there's many instances where I heard from researchers that they have been waiting for a year, year and a half, sometimes two or three years. And imagine the PhD students need to graduate and they need to get a publication out before or to graduate in the first place. Like who's thinking of them as predatory behavior. But then who would accuse a hand factor journal of being a predatory journal? Like, that's the colonial aspect again, of course that's what's happening. Like corruption is not in the west. Corruption you only find in Africa. It's everywhere. We have different groups or the same thing.

Of course, I know what you mean and of course there's always people who try to take advantage of opportunities. We also need some mature researchers to do our very own research on, okay, which service provider do I need to publish and to do a thorough check. I mean, it's not difficult to go through a journalist's website and not blindly submit or whatever, I don't know, just publish where you know, there is trust in the institution which also applies to journals and publishers. 

Sarah: I agree with you, definitely. And if you want to upset a group of researchers, you can discuss religion or politics, but don't discuss APCs of nature. Half the group will say nature does amazing things and there they have a whole team of people and they pay for everything and the other group will say burn them to the ground and then everyone will fight.

Jo:  No, it's not so much every journal of nature, another nature, another nature family that charges such but it's just a question like where is this number coming from? How did they justify they've been called up? Not by other people publicly. They never responded to my knowledge. Like what? It doesn't make sense, but people are just choking. Some are joking about it, others are swallowing the vegetables and I got running with it. But it's like wherever you spend so much money is one less PhD student that you can pay for a month or two, one less undergraduate that you can provide a lab space for. One less librarian in the house, one less, you know, library tool filled with books. I mean, the money is in the system and if it goes only one way to the publisher it's missing on the other end, like a simple amount. Okay.

Sarah: Don't worry, I will make this point and then we will move on to another topic. One of the reasons I just like predatory journals is that in Latin America, a lot of the research policies are that journals have to be open access and that you can't charge APCs because it's a moral and that we believe that research should be freely available, especially if it's really produced. Therefore there are a lot of journals you can submit to. You don't need to pay an APC when they send out these emails. There are so many journals you could submit your manuscript to and you wouldn't need to pay anything. And also when they. Targets authors from Latin America. It's upsetting because a lot of our research policies we submit to open access journals. So that's one of the reasons I just like it. There's fantastic research in Africa. Obviously, I'm South African by birth and I studied at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Cape Town, Delambox University. And we have fantastic research which is probably not very well known by others, but we have fantastic research facilities in Southern Africa and fantastic journals and fantastic research centers. So I suppose I don't see predatory journals in the same way as you. I don't immediately think about the journals, of course, because for me, African researchers are the pioneers of ebola research, of malaria research. So for me, I see it. I don't think of it like that. But I suppose if you're thinking about all the biases, yes, I understand that point. It just didn't even occur to me because when I think of the research from back on, I just remember, you know, the malaria research and all the very important research that's being done when the pandemics started. I mean, a lot of the research that the World Health Organization drew was all the above research on quarantines and how to manage pandemics epidemics withdrawn from African researchers. And also now with monkeypox, where suddenly people are becoming interested in monkeypox because it's spread to the US. Spread to a path not all of the US. I don't want to scare people listening like, you know, they found one taste in one space or something and all of a sudden people are, oh, there's a new disease. It's not new. It's been in Africa since it was the 1930s. When am I wrong? I think so. There's been a lot of research on it. There's research that's been published every year on it for many years now. And obviously they're drawing on that research that's been done. 

Jo: That's also funny just briefly on our corona situation because decades long research has led to the development of those vaccines which are now also written or marketed by those who best know what they're doing, the pharmaceutical industry. But how are they not sharing the revenue and allowing the global population to benefit from it? Sharing the revenue, that should be like a threshold of how much a company can earn from a virus that basically affects humankind around the globe and then not sharing the knowledge that has been gathered and accumulated from research labs around the world. And now one company with a few thousand staff members is the only institution and entity that can benefit from that financially. Doesn't make sense to me. But Germany was the only major opponent liberating the patents anyways. 

Sarah: Why? 

Jo: I think the argument was like, I don't know, like those in the south, they don't know what they're doing, they don't have the equipment. That was the only argument. Fear of losing money, basically. 

Sarah: That's very funny. Obviously, vaccine inequity, if vaccine inequity remains. Vaccine inequality will just lead to the continuation of the pandemic and more mutations. It seems very simple to me that it needs to be lifted in developing countries so that people can be vaccinated. Pandemic can stop mutating and killing and disabling others with long clovers. But obviously the pharmaceutical companies usually control these decisions and not the people. 

Jo: Yeah, and you don't have to be an immunologist to understand that logic of how it would be better anyways. Not going to politics. But it is very political. So research is always politically correct. Like if you think you're here on neutral ground 52, let go of that sort of misconception. Research is always political. Has been, will always be. So just be a good size. 

Sarah: It is always political. You're right. 

Jo: Which comes back to purpose orientation. So as a researcher, wherever you work, if we just remember why we got into research in the first place, that helps us research integrity at large. If they only do research on topics that we actually care about and find useful and important, or not get the biggest funding. Okay, but let's get back to the whole bilingual I was going to ask. Brazil is pretty close. Is there any section with Portuguese? Just because it's so close as a language to Spanish and also geographical wise. 

Sarah: I wish we had a Portuguese section. I haven't learned Portuguese. Yes. Maybe I'll learn Portuguese. In five years there'll be a Portuguese section.

Jo:  Because I feel so bad for Brazil. I mean, it's a huge country, so I bet they have hundreds, probably of research institutes, so there might be their own happy community altogether. And then there's Angela. Mozambique. In Africa, of course. Portugal. Tiny country, but not so tiny, but relatively so. Yeah, I was wondering and then Latin America is the only country, pretty big one, but the only country that speaks Portuguese. So are they always the others or is there knowledge exchange between the Portuguese community and the Spanish speaking community? 

Sarah: Thankfully, a lot of Portuguese and Brazilian academics speak Spanish, so a lot of our peer reviewers are Portuguese. Portuguese spiels. We have published work from Brazil before, but in Spanish. Yes. And so occasionally I work with people who are in Brazil. But is there a lot of interaction? Not as much, obviously, because of language barriers. But we do work, we do have some Brazilian peer reviewers because we try to make sure our peer reviewers and our editorial committees are as diverse as possible as we can possibly make them. So yes, there is some exchange, but obviously not as much as we'd like. But then maybe I will learn Portuguese. I think we'll be a Portuguese section. 

Jo: Okay, wait a minute. So what languages do you speak currently? English. 

Sarah: I speak English, Afrikaans, which is like Dutch, Zulu.

Jo: You South Africans often say that it's like Dutch, but isn't it? How close is it? I know you can understand each other. Was it like Norwegian and Swedish?

Sarah:  I don't speak Norwegian or Swedish.

 When I go to the Netherlands, I can order off the Dutch menu because I can read the Dutch menu, but I struggle to hear people, but I can read because a lot of the words are the same route. 

Jo: All right, well, that gives me an understanding. Okay, so Afrikaans. 

Sarah: And then I can speak San Zulu because I'm from Durban. And in Durban is by Kwazulu Natal. And I went to public school. And so we started learning Zulu, I think from age 8. And it was compulsory until we were 15. So I can speak some Zulu and then I can speak a tiny bit of Swahili, though I must be terrible now, but mostly because I speak Zulu. Once you learn one Banzu language, you can kind of tag the others onto each other. I think that's a bit like the land languages. And I speak Spanish because my husband is Mexican. Spanish is my second language. 

Jo: And that also explains why you moved to Mexico.

Sarah: Yes, that explains why all of a sudden I live in Mexico.

Jo:  Where life takes you sometimes. Okay, so coming back, maybe briefly, how long do you want? So with your research in trauma and violence against women, and we already talked about how you now sometimes look into researchers coming through as submissions. So you still feel that you're adding with the purpose to shed light on these issues to help women and people experience trauma. But for societies to blow around these topics and to better equip themselves, is it a bit resilient because violence will always be there, or is it to prevent a little bit of both? Do you feel you still have a stake in the game of the work that's been done on the ground? 

Sarah: I have a PhD, like I said, in a culture of arms against women and a psychological impact. I think that's what my dissertation of course, I'm trying to remember. And then I worked in research, and then I did a postdoc, like I said, which was on citizenship rights of women in Zimbabwe and same sex relationships of women in South Africa. And then during my PhD, I also had Margaret Mcmader education grants from the World Bank, their NGO and NRF. And I worked with a fantastic organization called Sisters to Sisters in Cape Town, which is made of African immigrants who also survived domestic violence. And I developed a support group program, and we pilot and I wrote a manual, a book, and then we piloted it. And then I also worked as a suicide counselor at Lifeline for a better, like, two years. And so I did a lot of development, volunteer, community work in my 20s. I'm now 35. Most of my 20s was spent doing that majority of it. And then I decided, okay, what will be my next adventure? I'm going to come to Mexico. I married my partner and I started this job, and I'm involved in research. And a lot of our research is on social issues, the stuff I care about. So I still think I'm involved in things I care about. I'm just on the other side of my name not on anything, but I'm on the other side of putting it through peer review, setting it, coding it, putting it up, things like that. So I'm still involved in part of it, I think. 

Jo: Yeah, that's for sure. I'm asking because you've been so passion driven with your research and do you feel content and that you have a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day and at the end of the week that you still contribute to what you care about? Do you feel the impact that you have with the kind of work you're doing today? 

Sarah: I feel like we're in therapy. No, it's good. I like it. I like it. You could have another career as a therapist, Jo. This is important. This is a good question. 

Jo: Let me answer for you. You do have an impact from the other side of the thing, being aware of that also how you now have a sort of power position and also with the experience from the occupation you had before. You have the insight, the necessary insight into the topics and the scenarios and now the opportunity to have and curate the research output, to allow it to have its own impact on society and to inform the stakeholders on the ground. Isn’t it?

Sarah: Yes. I would not describe myself as having a power position. I take the bus. I like that. I'm going to start telling people I have a power position.  I like that.

Jo:  You have a responsibility. Power is not necessarily a bad thing.

Sarah: I'm just teasing you. Yes, I read. I'm doing things that matter. I'm also a bit of a generalist. I'm interested in different things and I'm interested in research. And I feel like research has different impacts and there are different parts of research to be involved in and just, you know, you should no one should feel they're less important because they're not. The PI, the principal investigator on every paper, everyone who produces a piece of research and the people who help get the research published, the people who work at a journal are just as important. Research is incredibly important. And so I believe in research as just almost like a faith that it has the power to change governments and lives and people and that anyone who is part of it in any small way is doing a significant part. 

Jo: Yeah, the power and also the responsibility, because in every crisis, politics turns to science for help, what do we do now researchers? And either that or that. We can't really say for sure because that's not what we do anyway. But yeah, as you said, I think that's for sure. I mean, there's certain things we actually do know. Climate change is real. It’s human made.. So that's the fact. I don't know whether it's still denied or maybe there's no denying it. I saw this funny comic strip the other day where it went from like no, it's not real. So maybe we posted after and then before that we can still turn things around. But that's another discussion. I also think as researchers and as a scholarly community, we have a responsibility to society to serve and everyone in the game. Other research service units, publishers and funders and editors like all of us have our part to contribute, our role to play, to execute that responsibility and to inform people and policymakers on how to steer people not to screw the planets fully. 

Sarah: Boys are beat.

Jo: Let's end on a lighter note then. 

Sarah: Good.

Jo: Any suggestions? Okay, so what's your current plan? You've spent four and a half years. Sarah: Four years and one month. 

Jo: Sorry, more than four years. Are you going to take another four years? 

Sarah: Oh, we'll see. 

Jo: It's not that you're actively seeking somewhere else. We can still count on you to continue curating and facilitating.

Sarah: I'm always involved. We will see what I do. I don't know what I will do in the next few years. I will probably still be here. 

Jo: Okay, I'll check on you. Let's open a wish list. If you had three wishes for the position you work in, what would it be? You could implement it like tomorrow. 

Sarah: If I have three wishes, what are my wishes for? New jobs or new fields?

Job:  What are you working on now? Like for the journal, probably to add another language, like Portuguese. 

Sarah: To add Portuguese to get an assistant. I’ll work far too much. Okay.Those are my two wishes. 

Jo: Do you have a  third one? 

Sarah: Oh, I have a third one. Not very good of wishes or anything.

Jo: Nobody believes in that anymore. So people are really choosing based on the relevance of the journal and the venue for their research output. 

Sarah: Maybe more people are submitting articles. I say that but then you know I have 22 manuscripts in my system at the moment and I'm trying to allocate them, but yes, probably the third one. More manuscripts. More manuscripts that are good. 

Jo: A team and maybe some better automation of the system. Like the system that you're working with? 

Sarah: Yes, maybe another employee, Portuguese and maybe better manuscripts. 

Jo: Okay, well, just manifest. It will come your way. Maybe not. Just research. You're a psychologist, you should know this. I heard research about manifesting. 

Sarah: Every time I see anything about life coaches and manifesting and things regarding that on Instagram or anywhere else, I've grown inwardly inside and part of me dies. And whenever people ask me what I do and what I studied, I tell them I have a PhD in psychology and then they ask me if I'm a life coach. Part of me dies. 

Jo: However, I think it’s just that some of the coaches get it wrong with how Manifesting works because you still have to do the work. So you still have to add to your grant proposals or to your budgeting like in the system, year after year, maybe three years. You'll get your system. Maybe in just next month. I don't know. So it's just like having the goal clear in front of us. That's why I'm practicing now. I can't recall any anyways, we have more learning for future episodes and apparently there's extra research about it. So it works. 

Sarah: Okay. We can discuss it in private and laugh at it. I'm sure there's engineering, your cognitive behavioral thoughts. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the thing that works. So I'm sure from that perspective maybe it works, but I'm not really a fan of hippy loopy manifestations using the power of the secret kind of stuff. It upsets me. It upsets me that people pay for that when they should go to a good therapist and help them work through their problems. Not their problems, just anything. Everyone needs therapy. In my opinion, everyone could be more psychologically healthy. 

Jo: Sure. Right. All right, so we have a vision for you. 

Sarah: Okay.

Jo:  Thanks, Sarah. It's been a fun conversation and a lot of discussion points raised for the listeners enough to continue talking about. Well, welcome back anytime. If you want to chat again on records and we can also have a coffee and connect situation, just the two of us, without any listener. 

Sarah: Fantastic. Thank you so much, Jo. So great. Always talking to you.

Jo:  Gracias


Jo: How do you say goodbye again? Whenever I try to speak Spanish, Italian pops up. 

Sarah: That's okay, I speak no Italian. So we’re the same.

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