Groningen project to help Ukrainian scholars get published moves to international platform

For over a year and a half, Young Academy Groningen’s Language Buddies project has helped Ukrainian scholars get their work published in English-language journals. Now, it’s merging with the international platform AuthorAid. 

‘I think it was really great that such a wonderful small-scale project could happen in my own university and I could be involved in it’, says student assistant Maddalena Fazzo Cusan. ‘But I think AuthorAID can and will be able to reach a lot more people, has a lot more resources, and provides a much larger pool of volunteers.’

Academic English

Professor of political philosophy Lisa Herzog came up with the idea for the project after speaking to a colleague from Ukraine. ‘There’s this big problem that they face because of their lack of good academic English’, Herzog explains. ‘Their articles get rejected and so they’re not visible in the international academic community and cannot contribute to it.’

The project first launched in late 2022, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with YAG assembling a database of volunteers which was opened up to at-risk Ukrainian scholars. ‘It tries to match people who are on the privileged side, but are aware of the problem, with people who are on the disadvantaged side and can benefit from a bit of help’, Herzog says.

They set up a UG webpage and used social media to try to get the word out. ‘Given the scale that this project was running on, I feel that it has been quite successful’, Cusan says. ‘We have 146 volunteers in our database and we had 65 completed matches.’


The vast majority of those who filled in feedback forms were positive about the project. ‘One question asked whether you think the collaboration with your buddy would continue and quite some people said “yes” or “I would really like it to”’, says Cusan. ‘Seeing that this project may have created this academic friendship between two people that might continue is very rewarding.’

Around twenty scholars were unable to be matched as no one in the Language Buddies database had the expertise necessary, which was another motivator for moving things to AuthorAID. In fact, Cusan says that ‘the plan has always been to upscale it’, including at-risk scholars from other places like Palestine and Yemen, but they simply lacked the resources to do so.

The best way forward, they concluded at the beginning of the year, was a transfer. ‘We all had a sense of, let’s try to not just stop, but merge it into something else’, says Herzog. The project was ‘worthwhile’, she feels, ‘but now handing it over to an established organization that has all the structures in place, it seemed the right thing to do.’


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