Will ChatGPT’s Free Language Editing Service Level the Playing Field in Science Communication?: Insights from a Collaborative Project with Non-native English Scholars

Christina St-Onge
Francisco Olmos-Vega
Fury Maulina
Jennifer Klasen
Lorelei Lingard
Madawa Chandritilake
Merel de Heer
Soort article
The Writer’s Craft
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ChatGPT has been widely heralded as a way to level the playing field in scientific communication through its free language editing service. However, such claims lack systematic evidence. A writing scholar (LL) and six non-native English scholars researching health professions education collaborated on this Writer’s Craft to fill this gap. Our overarching aim was to provide experiential evidence about ChatGPT’s performance as a language editor and writing coach. We implemented three cycles of a systematic procedure, describing how we developed our prompts, selected text for editing, incrementally prompted to refine ChatGPT’s responses, and analyzed the quality of its language edits and explanations. From this experience, we offer five insights, and we conclude that the optimism about ChatGPT’s capacity to level the playing field for non-native English writers should be tempered.

In the writer’s craft section we offer simple tips to improve your writing in one of three areas: Energy, Clarity and Persuasiveness. Each entry focuses on a key writing feature or strategy, illustrates how it commonly goes wrong, teaches the grammatical underpinnings necessary to understand it and offers suggestions to wield it effectively. We encourage readers to share comments on or suggestions for this section on Twitter, using the hashtag: #how’syourwriting?


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