Grammarly machine for research articles

OPINION
By DR. DJUWARI
January 13, 2020

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IT is common for research journal publishers to use a software of grammarly machine. For English native speakers, writing academic articles is easier than the non-native speakers. To avoid grammatical mistakes, the journal publishers use a grammarly machine software. This machine is used for especially the articles written by the nonnative speakers.

We can find both the strengths and weaknesses. As an editor and reviewer since 1989, I have found a number of interesting comments made by the grammarly machine. In some ways, this grammarly machine is very accurate. For example, when it deals with punctuation and complicated sentences (wordy sentences), it can detect them accurately. I am really amazed with this result.
However, for certain aspects, this machine is weak. Not all of the specific terms of science have been adopted by the grammarly machine. For example, in linguistics, there is a term of interlanguage (language in the learning process). The grammarly machine gives a red line. It is stated that it is wrong. The machine suggests to change by giving the alternatives. It suggests to change the term of “interlanguage” into “international language.”
If we follow that suggestion, the essence of the scientific article must be misleading. The reasoning power is scientifically decreased. In other words, the scientific article becomes unscientific.
Another example, in economics, we have the terms "accounts receivable” and "accounts payable."  The grammarly machine suggests to change them into “receivable account” and “payable account.” In terms of head and modifier in English grammar, this suggestion is correct. But so far, that's what has always been used in economics: finance and accounting. All the keywords related to discipline of science above are declared incorrect. All the technical terms above throughout the text are underlined in red.
The most uniquely, when the scientific article deals with medical science, including dentistry that is more specialist. Few years ago, I often received consultations related to scientific articles in medicine. There were many errors as identified by the grammarly machine. Grammatically, they were low and did not meet the standard of scientific journals. Many were red underlined.
When I discussed it with the author face to face, I could get a clear answer. I asked for confirmation whether they were all wrong. Unfortunately, almost everything was not true according to the author. If they were changed based on the grammarly machine suggestion, they would be completely wrong.
Not to mention other weaknesses. For example, grammarly machine cannot analyze the organizational side of reasoning. In scientific articles, there is the term "moves". For this, we can read my book about thought organizations in abstract international scientific articles published by the Jakarta Index publishing company.
Every paragraph of scientific writing has a reasoning organization. For example, the main topic and the details. The main sentence can be either deductive or inductive (at the beginning and at the end of the paragraph). If the main sentence is at the beginning, it's a deductive type paragraph. If the main sentence is at the end, it is an inductive paragraph type. This is all the readers already know. There are also mixed paragraphs: the main sentence is at the beginning and at the end, although the way of writing is somewhat different.
Among several paragraphs, there is also the “moves”. It is important for scientific journal editors to understand. The systematic thought and flow can lead to the end in the form of research framework. The good or bad points of scientific articles are precisely in this section. Unfortunately, grammarly machine cannot detect it.
Foreign language editors always understand English written by a nonnative speaker. Editing the grammatical mistakes is easy but editing the organization is more difficult. The organization of scientific writing is more important because it is difficult to edit or revise if language editors do not master the fields or disciplines in the scientific article. The grammar machine cannot do it.

Dr. Djuwari is the director of language laboratory at STIE Perbanas Surabaya, the editor of some research journals in the Philippines and Indonesia. He is also a journalist in some newspapers in Indonesia; the president of international association of scholarly publishers, editors, and reviewers (IASPER).


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