Thursday, September 06, 2007

A resurgence of French?

Elsevier has a site listing the top 25 downloaded articles in the various chemistry journals that they publish. I was surprised to find that in the 2nd quarter of this year, the top article, "Composition chimique des huiles essentielles d'Ageratum conyzoides du Burkina Faso" was in French, as was the number 6 article – “ Composition chimique, proprietes antimicrobiennes et activites sur les tiques de l'huile essentielle d'Eucalyptus tereticornis" and the number 22 article – " Proprietes antioxydantes de l'huile essentielle des feuilles de Clausena anisata (Wild) Hook", all on essential oils. Why the sudden interest in essential oils, why are the French leading this research, and why is it published in French?

Less I be accused of the "ugly American" syndrome - i.e., "why don't they publish it in English", it is well established that researchers wishing to reach the broadest audience will publish their results in English, and since these are apparently hot articles, I would have expected them to be in English. By the way, I did not see any other top 25 articles in French for all of 2006 as well as the 1st quarter of 2007.

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