I'm an assistant professor in a non-English country. I work in control system and signal processing. I write publications in my native language. But I want to get experience in publications in English. But I think my English is not so good. So I have small questions. Does anyone know courses or sites where I can practice? I know about Arxiv.org, but I am not sure it's best practice for my problem.

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    Bear in mind a lot of journals where the editors don't speak English as first language often use grammar checking software at proof reading stage of an article, so the level required of grammar and vocabulary of the article which you submit might be a lot less than what you think it is.
    – Tom
    Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 12:02

4 Answers 4


I am personally not aware of any open online courses although I would be surprised if none existed. I can, however, point you to some other good resources. First there is the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) which has guides and resources for teaching so it is not a course in itself but contains very useful material. I can also recommend a couple of books on writing in English for non-native English writers.

The first is

Robert A. Day and Nancy Sakaduski, 2011. Scientific English. A guide for scientists and other professionals. (publisher link)

Hilary Glasman-Deal, 2010. Science Research Writing For Non-Native Speakers Of English: A Guide for Non-Native Speakers of English. Imperial College Press (link from publisher page)

and then of course

William Strunk Jr and E.B. White, (many editions over the years). The Elements of Style. Longman/Pearon. (publisher link)


There are 2 approaches to learning academic writing in English and I'd recommend both of them.


The best way to learn the conventions for academic writing in your field (and it does vary between fields). You should read a lot of publications to gain familiarity of how to explain complex topics in your field. The more you read, the more confident you'll get with writing in English yourself.

Get Feedback

You can also improve by getting feedback on your writing. It can be difficult if you are in a country where English is not the national language. Still you should be able to get friends and colleagues to give you supportive feedback. You can even get your students to contribute to papers and learn from each others English. Another option is to hire a proofreader to check one of your manuscripts. You can use any suggestions and edits as an opportunity to learn why it needs to be changed. Every time you get a proofreader to help you, you can improve on your writing skills.

Your writing does not have to perfect to submit articles to journals. As long as they can be understood in terms of the science, they can be reviewed. Minor issues with grammar and terminology can be sorted out during the review process. Reviewers should point out minor issues that need to specifically addressed, such as confusing or ambiguous sentences. These can be sorted out during revisions and resubmissions.


What I do for languages is to read a book out loud (in Spanish etc.) whilst listening to a native speaker talking about something on a Youtube video and then try to copy their pronunciation. If I see a word I don't know, I write it down in a notebook and then look it up.

However, whilst this is good for vocabulary, it's also important to try and get feedback from real people (preferably native speakers). You could join an English language learning group on Facebook and then try to match with people.


There are many ways to learn language and you will need to experiment the way that works best for you. The "best" English used in articles is actually not very fancy as scientific communication needs to be as understandable as possible. Since you already know quite a bit of English, judging from your question, the next step is to eliminate wrong phrasing and specific grammar errors. This is best done using feed-back, that is, writing a paper or a summary of a paper in English and have someone edit it. That is quite painful. You need to first find the person and maybe pay them. Then you have to listen to criticism of something you worked hard to write. But it is worth while. There are now also more editorial houses etc that offer help with this editing.

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