Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Public Health, School of Health, Gonabad University of Medical Sciences, Gonabad, Iran

2 Department of Health Education, School of Health, Gonabad University of Medical Sciences, Gonabad, Iran,

3 Department of English, School of Medicine, Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar, Iran


BACKGROUND: As nonnative speakers of English, Iranian health researchers/authors often need
to publish in English; however, published manuscripts may reflect a need for language editing. The
study is aimed to investigate the language accuracy of Persian authors’ articles published in Iranian
health journals, and to explore whether these journals take steps towards an acceptable level of
Standard written English.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this descriptive study, fifty original articles were selected from
five health journals (from April 2017 to April 2018) with nonnative editors/proofreaders based on
convenience sampling in 2019. The articles were carefully read several times; errors were identified
according to Gass and Selinker’s model and classified into four categories and further expanded
into 22 subcategories.
RESULTS: The results showed 4322 errors in the 50 articles, where the “grammatical errors” obtained
the highest frequency, with punctuation errors (n = 989) ranking first, and errors in using auxiliary
verbs (n = 19) the last in frequency. The descending order of the errors emerged as follows: the
grammatical, mechanical, lexical, and discoursal errors.
CONCLUSION: All categories of errors contributed to textual unintelligibility, attributable to either the
authors’ inadequate English proficiency or their native language interference. Most errors could have
been corrected by the journal editors. Professional development courses and hands‑on workshops
are advised for both nonnative authors and journal editors/proofreaders in Iran to help authors keep
to the conventions of scientific writing.


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