How to cite this article (APA 6th ed.):
Cárdenas, M. L. (2017). Editorial. HOW, 24(1), 6-9.

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Welcome to the first issue of our twenty-fourth volume. It comes out within an environment of tensions and anxiety due to the indexing policies announced by Colciencias-Publindex and which have been questioned by Colombian scholars due to the implementation of evaluation criteria that are very much disadvantageous for publications in the area of human and social sciences. Those policies were issued in 2016 despite the critique and suggestions raised by editorial committees and academic communities of different Colombian universities and associations.

As examined in the latest edition of HOW, we are concerned about national policies for the publication and evaluation of academic journals

and global trends such as the “publish or perish” trend which clearly embraces the prominence of publication and the pressure in academia to quickly and frequently publish academic work to sustain or advance one’s career and thus contribute to progress in science. Publishing is nowadays considered an important factor in Colombian policies which expect, among other goals, to ensure more international visibility of the production of the knowledge produced by its scholars (Colciencias, 2016). Hence, Colciencias is responsible for guiding the design, orientation, and evaluation of national policy of science, technology, and innovation and its corresponding implementation. This way, Colciencias purports to contribute to the competitive and equitable development of the country at social and economic levels and to strengthen the capacity of the country to show an integral behavior in the international sphere in aspects concerning science, technology, and innovation. To this end, Colombian academic publications face—now more than ever—ranking pressures and most of their editorial teams resent Colciencias’s policies which, in their opinion, lack equitable parameters and fairness in the application of evaluation procedures. This can be illustrated by noticing the changes Colciencias (2016) plans to introduce in the coming evaluation processes. To date, journals are ranked on the basis of general criteria for indexation: Scientific quality (Committees and articles derived from research and innovation), editorial quality, stability and visibility (in databases and indexing systems). However, new policies are being arranged to give more attention to the impact of the journals via citation metrics which are managed by private international companies specialized in ranking publications. (Cárdenas, 2016, p. 37)

According to Colciencias-Publindex, the quality and, hence, high classification of a journal depends upon its presence in the two main international systems in charge of ranking—JCR (Journal Citation Reports, led by Thomson) and SJR (Scientific Journal Ranking, managed by Scopus)—and the data obtained from Google Scholar for the calculation of the h5 index. Even though the new policies will be fully applied in the mid-term, we should be aware of the four categories that are part of Colciencias-Publindex’s system of classification for Colombian academic publications. They are, from the highest to the lowest: A1, A2, B, and C. In order to be ranked in the top two categories, a journal must be included either on the JCR or the SJR. If not, the journal will be classified in one of the lowest two categories and resorting to its h5 index (Colciencias, 2016).

To our surprise, and that of most Colombian journals in the area of social sciences and humanities, having achieved the standards of scientific rigor in terms of editorial processes and teams and the inclusion in well-known databases and indexing systems is not enough to be classified in the levels considered for the new Colombian system. Notwithstanding, academic journals are committed to demonstrating that the high impact of periodicals should not only be assessed on the basis of citations. On the contrary, their role in generating communities of practice and their participation in different indexing systems has led us to question the imposition of national policies and to not give up in our search for other options outside the two main monopolies that rule our rankings worldwide. In doing so, we do not underestimate the importance of other systems which care for the dissemination of knowledge among mixed and international audiences. That is why we are happy to announce our latest achievement regarding the visibility of the HOW journal in international scenarios: We recently received an invitation to submit our journal to ERIC - The Education Resources Information Center. After the process of a positive evaluation, we were notified of the inclusion of HOW in ERIC, a comprehensive open online library that indexes material on education research. This, no doubt, shows that ERIC acknowledges the seriousness and rigor of HOW and, in turn, the inclusion of HOW in such a respectable indexing system let us reach a wider readership.

As on previous occasions, this achievement is the result of the collaboration of the advisory and editorial committees, our assistants, the ASOCOPI’s Board of Directors, the guidance received from the PROFILE Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development Journal, edited at Universidad Nacional de Colombia – Bogotá Campus, and the affiliates of ASOCOPI.

This edition contains eight articles dealing with pedagogical processes and teacher education.

The Research Reports section gathers five articles: four regarding pre-service teacher education and one related to the socialization of a novice teacher of English. First of all, we have the results of a study concerning the history of teaching English in Colombian high schools over the period 1962-1994. The documentary analysis carried out by Jesús Alirio Bastidas informs us about issues that shaped ELT (English language teaching) in Colombia, to wit: teaching planning, objectives, syllabi, methods, and materials.

Next, the article by author María Cristina Sarasa depicts a narrative inquiry into a group of Argentinian pre-service English teachers’ identity. We can find out how students’ narratives disclosed the exercise of their agency concerning the program’s curriculum by deciding how and when (not) to invest, reinvest, or divest their personal time in scheduled courses. After that, Colombian authors Doris Correa and Sandra Echeverri report on an inprogress investigation focused on the gains and challenges encountered by two groups of English as a foreign language pre-service teachers in developing a situated view of academic writing through a systemic functional linguistics genre-based instructional unit.

The following article, authored by Ana Clara Sánchez Solarte, Gabriel Vicente Obando Guerrero, and Diana Ibarra Santacruz, accounts for the results of a study whose goal was to determine the views of undergraduate students at a public university in Colombia regarding the English as a foreign language courses they must take as a requirement for graduation. Finally, we can get acquainted with the article by Claudia Patricia Mesa Villa, who presents the analysis of the induction (as a socialization process) of a Colombian novice teacher of English.

The second section, Reports on Pedagogical Experiences, contains two articles. In the first one, Carlos A. Mayora shares with us an experience implementing a small-scale narrow listening scheme (one of the varieties of extensive listening) with intermediate learners of English as a foreign language in a Colombian university. In the second one, Adrian J. Rivera and Catherine M. Mazak give a picture of Puerto Rican university students’ perceptions on translanguaging and how their language attitudes influence their perceptions of an instructor’s translingual pedagogy.

The third section, Reflections and Revision of Themes, includes a contribution by Mary Mily Gómez Sará, who reviews the background of foreign language bilingualism in Colombia, as well as the Colombian bilingualism plans and policy launched between 2004 and 2016. The article draws on the most common criticisms from the academic community and sheds light on issues that need careful attention should Colombia want to attain higher levels of competence in the English language via its educational system.

As can be witnessed in the articles included in this number of the HOW Journal, scholars in the ELT field continue working towards documenting teaching practices, language policies, and the perceptions of members of the educative community with a view to contributing to the existing knowledge and to enhancing teaching and learning experiences. ASOCOPI and HOW look forward to the sustained support of the Association’s affiliates and the Journal’s readership so that we can ensure the periodicity of our publication and reach pre and inservice teachers throughout Colombia and overseas.

We very much hope you find this new edition interesting. We also look forward to your support—by spreading the word about our publication and/or sending your manuscripts for the coming issues.

Melba Libia Cárdenas
Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Bogotá
Guest Editor


Cárdenas, M. L. (2016). Challenges of the HOW journal in spreading teachers’ works in times of ranking pressures. HOW, 23(2), 35-57.

Colciencias. (2016, May). Documento No 1601: política para mejorar la calidad de las publicaciones científicas nacionales (versión para discusión). Bogotá, CO: Author. Retrieved from