In the context of academic publication, there is a need to recognise the validity and acceptability of texts written by non-native authors that, whilst eschewing formal error, may nevertheless still fail to correspond to the pragmatic expectations imposed by criteria of nativeness. In this article I describe what I take to be a form of linguistic imperialism at work in the processes of academic publication, most specifically as these refer to the manner in which the English of research reported in written format by nonnative speakers of English is treated by reviewers and editors. The article challenges the assumption that native standards of English should be the basic criteria of linguistic quality in international academic publication. Since a fundamental aim of such publication is effective diffusion of content, this paper proposes that journals be more open to variants of English that may not fully comply with the expectations of the 'standard' language, and it calls for language consciousness-raising on the part of all those involved in the writing/revising/publishing process with a view to ensuring a fairer and less linguistically exclusive publishing scenario. © John Benjamins Publishing Company.