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Sociocultural theory provides an explanatory framework for understanding human activity in the community of practice. This paper aims to address science researchers’ scholarly writing for publication processes from a sociocultural perspective. The author conducts a study via in-depth reflective interviews with three Chinese science postdoctoral researchers in America in an attempt to find their specific mediated actions and dynamic processes in writing for publication. In light of Engeström’s (1987, 1999) activity system, this paper, drawing on the interview data, explores the four mediating factors: objects/goals, artifacts, community, and roles, which afford and constrain the goings-on in the researchers’ writing for publication activity. Results reveal that in order to achieve their publication goal, the three researchers comply with the publication norms, mediate with a diversity of cultural artifacts, socialize with different people from academic and editorial communities, and fulfill their dual social roles. All these mediated actions are essential components of their writing processes that contribute to their international-refereed publications. The current study, exploring the link between writing for publication and activity theory, will inform L2 writing research in more encompassing ways.


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