Six communicative purposes in the discourse of editors of scientific journal

Omar Sabaj Cristian González About the authors

The present article focuses on the identification and characterization of the communicative purposes of the editor's discourse of scientific journals, which we have called "editorial genre" independent of the labels given to them by the users of the journals. A recent study done by Sabaj, Matsuda and Fuentes (2010) on the characteristics of scientific journals indicates the wide diversity of genres in which science is produced and communicated. The reasons of the existence of these genres are the communicative purposes they convey in the discursive community that produces and uses them. The objective of this study was to identify these communicative purposes in the discourse of the editors of Chilean scientific journals. Although these texts have characteristics in common with all journals (they only appear once and always at the beginning of the edition), their individual communicative purposes have not been described in detail. In a previous analysis of the scientific production in Chile, it was determined that, of 14,460 data entries analyzed, 10.7% (that is to say 1,552) correspond to the editor's discourse. Using a book of codes, six communicative purposes were identified in the texts that constitute the editorial genre in scientific journals. The data shows that the editorials in scientific journals can be organized within the following six communicative purposes: 1) Thanks, 2) Opinions, 3) Discourse from the journal about the journal, 4) Homages, 5) Information about community events 6) Presentation of the articles that appear in the edition. The results allow us to conclude that the communicative purposes as well as the labels (textual classes) that are used to determine the editor's discourse vary throughout the different scientific areas. The results of this research are useful for those who are interested in the analysis of discourse in scientific contexts and in the dissemination practices in the scientific community at large.

Discursive genres; editorial genre; scientific journals; communicative purposes

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