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Profile Issues in Teachers` Professional Development

Print version ISSN 1657-0790

profile vol.20 no.2 Bogotá July/Dec. 2018 

Editorial introducción

Challenges in Sustaining a Peripheral Journal

Melba Libia Cárdenas*  , María Claudia Nieto Cruz** 

* Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia,

** Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia,

The role of high-quality peripheral journals, which all face huge challenges a decade into the 21 st century, is fundamental in the development of science. (Salager-Meyer, 2014, p. 81)

Scientific knowledge reaches its audience mainly through consultation of scientific textbooks and scientific journals. The first provide established knowledge while the second aim at presenting state of the art topics of recent delivery and that need to be socialized within a scientific community. Furthermore, journals, in turn, are of a different nature. Those originating in first world countries are classed as “mainstream” journals, whereas those originating in developing countries are known as small/peripheral periodicals (Salager-Meyer, 2014). Notice here the distinction between the two. For many scholars and people involved in the editorial industry, developed countries produce journals while developing countries produce periodicals.

“Mainstream” journals are the publishing goal for many researchers worldwide. These very competitive milieus demand the fulfilment of a series of high standards from researchers but also offer them great visibility. This visibility is, nowadays perhaps more than before, mainly ensured through the incorporation of the journals’ contents into powerful, worldwide managers of information and knowledge such as Thomson Reuters (2018), a leading company concerned with spreading “intelligence, technology, and human expertise” and which is present in more than 100 countries. Among its most salient traits, we find that Thomson Reuters offers a comprehensive series of indexes that cover a wide range of scientific knowledge (e.g., the Science Citation Index, the Social Science Citation Index, or the Arts and Humanities Citation Index). Most of the indexed articles are in English, and users generally pay a fee to access or download contents.

Small/peripheral periodicals are in general the target for researchers in local contexts. Local journals publish articles in the local language of the country or region of the researchers, occasionally in English and under some circumstances in bilingual issues. The command of English seems to be an issue for local researchers, a fact that may hinder their participation in mainstream publications. The publishing houses are usually academic agents as universities and associations that assure their presence basically because of their academic interest and commitment of the editorial boards that have to struggle for budgets and infrastructure.

With this in mind, we may review the characteristics of Profile to try and decide whether it is a mainstream or a peripheral journal. If the language of publication is the first consideration, Profile publishes in English and has done that from the very first issue. Now, with respect to indexes, the articles published by Profile have gained presence in the following indexing systems and databases:

Some databases provide a classification of locally produced scientific journals like, in Colombia, Publindex; others feed Latin American or Ibero-American sources like SciELO and REDIB and even others open the path in Europe via databases like ERIHPLUS and Dialnet. Profile is part of local and international citation indexes and adheres to the demands of international guidelines: provision of instructions for writers, the use of descriptors and metadata in English, internationally acknowledged peer review, and a strong academic committee. Furthermore, the official website of the journal operates under the Open Journal System (OJS) which allows readers free access to consult and download all published articles.

The fact that the Profile journal is having an international impact (despite starting its history as a local endeavor) can be attested by the growing number of articles by authors outside Colombia, including not just Latin American countries, such as Chile, Mexico, and Argentina, but countries from other continents as well (e.g., India, Iran, and Turkey in Asia or Spain and the UK in Europe). In 2017, there was a supplement entirely dedicated to articles from Spain and Turkey (see, Vol. 19, Suppl. 1). Therefore, our challenges are to continue being an important referent as regards Colombian, Latin American, European, and why not, worldwide researchers working in the same area of knowledge and to sustain a journal in a developing country with limited resources. Our academic field goes beyond international boundaries and unites us as teachers and researchers interested in the spread of knowledge created in one context but possibly applicable in another.

Another instance of the increasing perception of the journal as an international publication is the interest from scholars around the world to serve as members of its scientific or review committees. Currently, 58 of the 70 members of both committees are from outside Colombia. This undoubtedly has an impact on the evaluation and selection processes as the diversity in points of view of the journal’s reviewers helps us produce content that is more in tune with current global discussions. In that sense, we value the work of our reviewers not just for their willingness to participate, but also for their assistance in making the contents of the journal relevant for a wider audience. Precisely, Brazilian Professor Maria Helena Vieira, one of those dedicated scholars, has reached her retirement and has decided to leave the review board of the journal. We do not want to let this opportunity pass without acknowledging Professor Viera’s contribution to the journal for over a decade. We wish her the best in her upcoming projects.

We have reviewed the characteristics of Profile to try and decide whether it is a mainstream or a peripheral journal. We have analysed the parameters under which it operates and we can say that these correspond to a high-quality journal, a journal from the periphery that is putting forth its best effort to produce science that is validated by local and international communities.

This edition contains fifteen articles. In the first section, Issues from Teacher Researchers, we have gathered thirteen articles. We start with Chris Banister’s study from the United Kingdom. In his article, the author depicts a teacher-researcher’s experience of scaffolding his business English learners in identifying, formulating, and exploring language learning puzzles using the principles of exploratory practice. Learners’ enthusiasm for puzzles and the tensions that emerge, along with practical recommendations for teacher-researchers in similar contexts, invite us to inquire into the distinctions between puzzles and problems.

We continue with four studies concerning teacher education. First, María del Rosario Reyes-Cruz, Griselda Murrieta-Loyo, and Moisés Damián Perales-Escudero report on research self-efficacy beliefs, research motivation, and perceptions of research importance and research obstacles of a group of professors and lecturers of foreign languages at three Mexican universities. We believe their findings will contribute to our understanding of the possibilities educators have to engage in research and the goals that can be achieved in light of researchers’ perceptions and teaching realities. Next, Leidy Yisel Gómez-Vásquez and Carmen Helena Guerrero Nieto tell us about a study carried out to trace the configuration of professional subjectivities by analyzing the narratives of four Colombian non-native English speaking teachers (NNESTs) who work in different universities and schools in Colombia. The framework of language policies allowed them to uncover the role knowledge and reflection play in teachers’ processes of acceptance or rejection and to what extent subjectivities are influenced by others. After that, Ferney Cruz Arcila, from King’s College London, United Kingdom, addresses the issue of teaching English in rural Colombia through the analysis of teachers’ narratives and field observations. Bearing in mind the perspective of language teaching as a socially sensitive practice, we discover that the examination of four examples of such practices inform us about teachers’ resourcefulness to make the most of their expertise despite having to contend with limited resources and their attempts to help students make sense of English. On the other hand, Mexican authors Virna Velázquez and Edgar Emmanuell García present an investigation on the effectiveness of strategies and decisions formulated in foreign language planning to ensure learners’ language achievement in a higher education context which trains learners to become English or French teachers or translators. This theme, which has not been explored much in scientific publications, sheds light on shortcomings in foreign language planning that need the educational community’s consideration.

The following eight articles focus on English language teaching (ELT) issues at different levels. In the first one, Colombian teachers Ingrid Rocío Suárez Ramírez and Sandra Milena Rodríguez report on language interaction among English as a foreign language (EFL) primary learners and their teacher through collaborative task-based learning. As can be read in their article, the examination of classroom interaction involved conversational analysis and showed interesting and unexpected patterns of interactions among students and their teacher as well as changes in the classroom dynamics informed by the monitoring of the authors’ research process.

The subsequent four articles address aspects of oral communication. Chilean authors Erika De la Barra, Sylvia Veloso, and Lorena Maluenda share with us their study on the integration of assessment while working on helping university students develop oral competences. Based on the principles of content and language integrated learning (CLIL), and through the design and pedagogical implementation of two rubrics, the authors could raise students’ language awareness in oral production and unveil their perceptions of such assessment alternatives. On the other hand, Colombian teachers Martin Javier Caicedo Pereira, Jhonny Alexander Lozano Bermúdez, and Luis Alfonso Vanegas Medina present a study conducted with both university and pre-university students. The authors’ account lets us know how they explored alternatives to encourage students to improve English oral accuracy and grammatical range through self-assessment of video speech drafts.

Afterwards, we can read the article authored by Fabiola Arévalo Balboa and Mark Briesmaster, from Chile. They gather the results of an action research study about the effect of a thinking routine in the development of coherence in speaking interactions on university students, an aspect that often intrigues teachers in their attempts to make learners competent in oral communication. Finally, we have Colombian teachers Eulices Córdoba Zúñiga and Emerson Rangel Gutiérrez’s contribution. In their article we can find the description and results of a study on the implementation of meaningful oral tasks to promote listening fluency in ten pre-intermediate EFL learners in the ELT program of a Colombian public university.

Next come two articles concerning writing and grammar. Self and peer correction to improve college students’ writing skills is the theme addressed by Mexican authors Irais Ramírez Balderas and Patricia María Guillén Cuamatzi. They describe college students’ writing development process via the use of self and peer correction and the promotion of error awareness along with the use of an error code and error log. A salient point in this article has to do with the importance of assigning class time to allow students to systematize their writing practices. Then we can read a report on an action research study authored by Colombian teacher Anderson Marcell Cárdenas, who aimed at helping English language intermediate students tackle grammatical errors in their speech. Although the fossilization concept is debatable, we can find how students developed awareness and attentiveness towards their mistakes and learning process.

We close this section with the contribution from Evelyn Gualdron and Edna Castillo on an extra-curricular initiative. The authors share with us experiences with a theater content-based methodology for L2 learning, supported by professionals in theater and in foreign languages, in an EFL theater interdisciplinary group at Universidad Nacional de Colombia. We are pleased to include their study in this edition because our readership can learn how commitment by student-teachers and graduates from a language programme has made it possible to sustain a theater group that has been active since 2008 and contributes to the development of language proficiency among actors of such initiative. We are sure the recommendations derived from the study can contribute to fostering similar innovations in ELT.

In the second section, Issues from Novice Teacher Researchers, we include another study regarding our publication. This time, we are pleased to report on a joint venture in which a novice teacher-researcher, Andrés Mosquera, the Director, and the Editor of Profile participated. We report on a descriptive study carried out in some articles published in the journal with the purpose of identifying trends in pedagogical approaches in foreign language instruction and research approaches employed by the journal’s authors and their connection with inclusive education.

Our last section, Issues Based on Reflections and Innovations, contains an article coming from a Colombian university. Erica Ferrer Ariza and Paige M. Poole present a teacher development program linked to curriculum renewal. Interestingly, the description of key aspects of diverse existing models of teacher and professional development also invite readers to ponder options to meet contextual needs and boost positive change among faculty and students.

The preview of the contents of the present issue together with the defining characteristics of Profile may invite you to continue participating in our readership and authorship. Our visibility depends not only on citation indexes but also on the appropriation we make of the contents, contexts and problems and solutions proposed by our contributors.


Salager-Meyer, F. (2014). Writing and publishing in peripheral scholarly journals: How to enhance the global influence of multilingual scholars? Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 13, 78-82. [ Links ]

Thomson Reuters. (2018). We are the answer company. Retrieved from [ Links ]

How to cite this article (APA, 6th ed.): Cárdenas, M. L., & Nieto Cruz, M. C. (2018). Editorial: Challenges in sustaining a peripheral journal. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 20(2), 9-14.

Received: April 30, 2018; Accepted: May 08, 2018

Creative Commons License This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License