Research and science in French in 2021

The Acfas conference, the largest French conference in the world, which was presented in default mode from 3 to 7 May, is an opportunity to focus on the place of research in the French language and the importance of promotion. Writing in French for a researcher whose mother tongue makes it possible to express each idea more clearly and with greater accuracy. However, the truth is that English is the number 1 language of sciences in the world. Internationalization of research, a major trend in scientific production, is a factor that supports the ubiquitous existence of the English language. In this regard, the United States is by far the most important cooperating country for Quebec, followed by France.

For the scientific community in Quebec, publish in journals such as The scalpelAnd the Science or nature It means excellence in research. In general, posting in English gives more clarity and enhances opportunities for peer-quoting. The work of Vincent Larivière, of the University of Montreal, shows that researchers, from all fields of knowledge, type more and more in English on their keyboard. This phenomenon appears to have also been observed in students’ scientific productions.

When I assumed my position as head of scientists in 2011, I launched the Relève étoiles competition, awarding each month the Fonds de Recherche du Québec (FRQ) that I administer to emerging students based on publications in each of the three. The main sectors are natural sciences, engineering, health sciences, social and human sciences, arts and arts. While in the early years of the competition, winning essays were sometimes in French, today they are rarely.

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I think the research in French should be promoted further. This is why FRQ recently launched publishing in the French competition, where publishing efforts in our language will be honored by the research community on a monthly basis. Awards related to the names of the builders of our scientific edifice, namely the Gisèle-Lamoureux Prize for Publishing in French from the Quebec Research Fund – Nature and Technologies, the Alice-Girard Prize for French Publishing from the Quebec Research Fund – Health and Louise – the Dandurand Prize for Publishing in French from the Quebec Research Fund – Society and Culture . It is imperative that our research is better known in French here, in Quebec and around the world. Who knows, for example, that more than twenty years ago, FRQSC supported nearly forty journals in the social sciences and humanities, arts and literature, peculiar to the French language, and could be accessed for free? Spokes research platform in North America?

Besides scientific journals published in French which should be promoted better, there are many means to popularize science in the French language. That we think about Quebec Science, to me Curium For the youngest or for explorers and trick Even for the youngest, to articles from Agence Science Presse, including those in Rumor Detector, to developing critical thinking, to La Conversation en français, etc. And what about science journalists in our daily newspapers and major magazines, such as L’actualité, which deal with topics that affect us by referring to the results of research work.

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Quebecers are confident in research and have an appetite for science. We should increase the exposure of scientific content in French, encourage our researchers to talk about their science with the general public, and exchange views in French on the scientific process, everywhere in Quebec. Many of them do so and it is important to better promote this dialogue between science and society in the French language.

Quebec exists as a space for broadcasting in the French language, but there is also the whole Francophonie, which is home to 300 million people around the world. The Government’s International Vision also intends to enhance Quebec’s role in Francophonie, which will provide great opportunities for our researchers to form research collaborations, intensify their participation in large international networks, and even to administer them in the French language. The FRQ will be there to further develop partnerships with organizations that fund research in la Francophonie. In this sense, organizations such as the International Organization of la Francophonie and the University Agency for La Francophonie will be important partners.

As the chief scientist of Quebec, I hold an advisory role to the minister in charge of research and science, and often collaborate with other political offices and other ministries. I encourage the use of scientific information within the government apparatus. Given the importance of political or governmental decision taking into account scientific expertise, I am one of the founders of the International Network of Senior Scientists and Scientific Advisors (INGSA). Through this network, which mainly brings together members from Anglo-Saxon countries, I am given the mandate to strengthen the function of “scientific advice to governments” in French-speaking countries, in this case in French-speaking Europe and Africa. So far, few workshops have been organized and generated a lot of interest. Other projects of the Scientific Council are taking shape in Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and the countries of the Maghreb. Montreal will also host 4e Edition of the INGSA Network Conference from 29 August to 2 September, in which the last day is devoted entirely to scientific advice in French.

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In the era of digital information technologies and increasing effectiveness thanks to artificial intelligence, how can we stimulate the discovery of scientific content in the French language, so that it is more available, more accessible and better known in the world? Environment? The scientific content in the French language deserves to be better evaluated so that Quebecers can appreciate the high quality of the sciences that are conducted in Quebec … and in French moreover!

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