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Letter to European Science Foundation

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1Département de Linguistique Appliquée
Et de Didactique des langues
Directeur : Claude Springer

2Dr. Rüdiger Klein
EUROCORES Programme Coordinator
European Science Foundation
1, quai Lezay Marnésia
BP 90015
F-67080 Strasbourg Cedex

3Strasbourg, le 22 mai 2006

4Dear colleague,

5The Editorial Board of the journal ALSIC (Apprentissage des langues et système d’information et de communication) which comprises 45 people from universities in 9 different countries was astonished to note that the French part of the European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH) did not include this journal in its selection. ALSIC, an on-line journal established in 1998 by teachers/researchers from varied backgrounds in different disciplines, but having in common an interest in language learning and the use of information technology, (part of a specific domain of applied linguistics) which is called differently according to countries and traditions: "computer-assisted language learning (CALL), in English or "Language Learning and Information Technology".

6As a first step, European experts identified the principal research journals in this field, notably ReCall, CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning) classifying them at the B level, as well as the American revue (LLT) Language Learning and Technology (which was classified in category C), but nowhere was the journal ALSIC mentioned. However, it so happens that we have very close ties with these journals, that the editorial boards have several members in common and that we have organised many international conferences together.

7Our review procedures are at the same high level and we often use the same expert members. In any case, ALSIC is recognized on an international level much as the others are, and it is referenced in the data base MLA International bibliography. It would therefore be extremely harmful for francophone research if a journal like ALSIC were to be overlooked in France? since it has a well established international reputation and its fields of research have been taken into account in other European countries. Insofar as the European Union claims to have a policy of being open to European research work of high quality in various languages, it would be a shame to not apply this policy in this case and to not react to the biases of certain indexes such as AMCI (Kiefer et al., 2004 : 8) We are agreed that scientific criteria were not applied correctly as far as the French/francophone side is concerned.

8As the French linguistic experts themselves admit, "the list of linguistic journals is based on a bibliometric search which is weaker than that [...] of those used for other humanities (and social disciplines), research based "during Summer 2000". The authors add that the initial research states that certain areas of linguistics are under-represented (SHS, 2004 : 63-64). Our particular area of research was thus excluded from the corpus. This omission repeats the one that ALSIC endured from "CNRS périodiques" which recently disappeared but whose selection criteria for support to journals were important for the choice of journals to be judged.

9In fact, since our journal is open to any and all interested parties CNRS périodiques decided that our expert files were not acceptable, because we did not subscribe to their profile "lecteur-payeur” (reader/payer) files sent in 2001 and 2002)". As you well know, the directives for French research (Berlin agreement, 2003) and more recently, those of the European Union have taken the position that free access to research results is vital and would permit, for example, access to journals which can be judged scientifically as opposed to an economic model. That our journal has survived in free access is proof of the dedication of its francophone researchers. to the field of computer-assisted language learning. The ESF’s pionneering work is thus required to ensure that the scientific selection keeps well in mind this openness and all its independence in the context of pressure groups and commercial editors.

10However, if the current situation is confirmed, the following would occur in our field:

  • Recall is published by Cambridge University Press (as of 2000), CALL by Taylor & Francis; both are classified in category B

  • LLT, which is an open access journal unanimously recognized as of top quality in the international context (Chanier, 2004 : 40) is classified as C category.

  • ALSIC, a French language open access journal was not even considered.

11Which raises several questions:

  • were open access electronic journals evaluated and classified?

  • if so, why was ALSIC not considered?

12We are highly appreciative of the great effort necessary to implement this program, which is of highest importance as much for European scientific and technical information as for the value of its research quality. We thus wish to bring to your attention the problems relating to our domain. We urge, in order to counter these problems, so that our journal may have a truly scientific evaluation which would allow it to find its place among its peers.

13With thanks in advance for your attention to our request.

14Sincerely yours,

  • Claude Springer (for Alsic Editorial Board)

  • Demaizière Françoise, université Paris 6, FR, rédactrice en chef de la revue Alsic

  • Pothier Maguy, université Clermont 2, FR, rédactrice en chef adjointe

  • Springer Claude, université Marc Bloch Strasbourg, FR, directeur de publication

  • Chanier Thierry, université Franche-Comté, FR, co-créateur de la revue, premier rédacteur en chef, membre editorial board de LLTJ et Academic Advisory Panel de ReCALL

  • Blin Françoise, Dublin City University, IE, éditrice de la rubrique Pratique et recherche, membre du Academic Advisory Panel de ReCALL

  • Anne-Laure Foucher, université Clermont 2, éditrice de la rubrique Analyse de livres

  • Poussard Cécile, université Montpellier 3, FR, éditrice de la rubrique Analyse de logiciels

  • Nicolas Guichon, université Lyon 2, responsable de la rubrique "Points de vues, échanges"

  • Emmanuelle Duchiron, co-responsable de la rubrique "Toilthèque"

  • Elke Nissen, université Grenoble 3, co-responsable de la rubrique "Toilthèque"

  • Rézeau Joseph, université Rennes 2, FR, responsable de la prospective de la revue Alsic

  • Delphine Renié, Institut canadien du service extérieur (ICSE) / Canadian Foreign Service Institute (CFSI)

  • Cazade Alain, université Paris 9 Dauphine, FR, président de RANACLES

  • Depover Christian, Université de Mons-Hainaut, BE

  • Fischer Robert, Texas Sate University, USA, rédacteur en chef de Calico

  • Marie-Madeleine Kenning,, University of East Anglia

  • Kern Richard, University of California, USA

  • Lamy Marie-Noëlle, Open University, GB, membre du Academic Advisory Panel de ReCALL

  • Laurier Michel, université de Montréal, CA

  • Mangenot François, université Grenoble 3, FR

  • Narcy Jean-Paul, université Paris 3, FR

  • Paramskas Dana, University of Guelph, Ontario, CA

  • Portine Henri, université Bordeaux 3, FR

  • Sabatier Paul, Laboratoire d'informatique de Marseille, CNRS, FR

  • Véronique Daniel, université Paris 3, FR

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Les liens externes étaient valides à la date de publication.


Chanier, T. (2004). Archives ouvertes et publication scientifique. Comment mettre en place l'accès libre aux résultats de la recherche ?. L'Harmattan : Paris.

Kiefer, F. Mustajoki, A., Peyraube, A. & Vestergaard, E. (2004). "Building a European Citation Index in the Humanities". In (SHS, 2004). Pp. 8-10

SHS (2004). Les revues en sciences humaines et sociales, Lettre du département des sciences de l'Homme et de la Société, 69, mai. CNRS : Paris

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« Letter to European Science Foundation », Alsic [En ligne], Archives, mis en ligne le 09 juin 2006, Consulté le 31 mars 2017. URL :

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