Dr Subhan Zein has conducted research in the broader discipline of Applied Linguistics. Many of his research publications cover early language learning, language teacher education, and language policy.

Coming from a mixed indigenous background, he has incorporated insights of indigenous communities into his research covering topics such as multilingual education policy, language revitalisation, translanguaging, and multiliteracies. For example, in his research monograph, Language policy in superdiverse Indonesia (Routledge, 2020), he develops Revitalisation Planning as a holistic, integrated, and systematic concept of language preservation that places emphasis on participation and empowerment of indigenous communities.

Language Policy in Superdiverse Indonesia

“Subhan Zein’s approach to language policy and language revitalisation is erudite and original. Add to that his comprehensive knowledge of and proactive recommendations for cultivating and sustaining the rich, complex, dynamic language diversity of Indonesia. The result: an intellectual tour de force that will be a reference and resource for Indonesia and for language policy and planning scholarship for years to come.”

Nancy H. Hornberger, Professor, University of Pennsylvania, USA

Dr Zein is also interested in linguistic varieties as they relate to language policy. His examination of the interaction of linguistic varieties has resulted in the conceptualisation of superglossia as a complex, dynamic, and polycentric sociolinguistic situation. The concept, appearing in Language policy in superdiverse Indonesia (Routledge, 2020), has been evaluated by Dr. Howard Manns (Monash University, Australia) in a book review:

Some scholars might bristle at the introduction of the new term ‘superglossia’, having weathered diglossia, polyglossia and others. However, by the end of the book, I was convinced superglossia has substance—reflecting the complex series of ‘hubs and peripheries’, as Zein describes it, that make up the Indonesian linguistic context.”

Dr Zein has also covered other areas of research including English as a lingua franca, World Englishes, language ideologies, and language assessment. For example, three chapters of his which examine the intersections of language ideologies, English language education, and English varieties will appear in two handbooks published by Wiley Blackwell and Oxford University Press. 

Since 2018, Dr Zein has maintained a research productivity rate of publishing 1 book and several journal articles and/or book chapters per year. For example, he published 3 books last year (2022), and 3 more books are forthcoming this year (2023). He has published 11 books in total (six research monographs and five edited volumes). Three of the six monographs are sole-authored. So are a great majority of the 17 book chapters and 18 articles which he has written.

He is the author of: Language policy in superdiverse Indonesia (Routledge, 2020), English as a subject in basic education (ESBE) in ASEAN: A comparative study (British Council, 2022), and Country profiles: English as a subject in basic education (ESBE) in Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam: Recommendations for policy and research (British Council, 2022). He is also editor and lead editor of five academic volumes, including Early Language Learning Policy in the 21st Century: An International Perspective (Springer, 2021) and Early Language Learning and Teacher Education: International Research and Practice (Multilingual Matters, 2019).

Dr Zein’s books have been published by Routledge, Springer, Multilingual Matters, and the British Council.

His book chapters have appeared in various volumes including Routledge Handbook of Teaching English for Young Learners Handbook of Research on Teacher Education: Innovations and Practices in Asia, and Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of World Englishes.

Meanwhile, his articles have been published mainly in Q1 journals; for example, Language Teaching, Journal of Education for Teaching: International Research and Pedagogy, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Asian Englishes, and Applied Linguistics Review.

There are more than a dozen unsolicited reviews of his work, appearing in Q1 journals such as ELT Journal, Language in Society, International Journal of Multilingualism, Journal of Education Policy, Language Policy, among others. Some of his works have been used as university core readings and in the evaluation of teacher professional development programs.

Dr Zein has only contributed to research grant applications in the past 2.5 years, playing a role as either Principal Investigator or Research Hub Coordinator. His grant application success rate is 100%, with a total amount of £ 407,837 (US $ 490,907.28) being allocated to projects focusing on Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and international school settings in the Global South. He has collaborated with research leaders in the field including Professor Yuko Goto Butler (University of Pennsylvania, USA), Professor Joseph Lo Bianco (University of Melbourne, Australia), and Professor Sue Garton (Aston University, UK). In various roles, he has coordinated the work of distinguished scholars and researchers from a wide range of geographical contexts such as Australia, China, England, Indonesia, Japan, Palestine, Paraguay, New Zealand, Tanzania, Turkey, USA, and Vietnam.

He has been appointed as AsiaTEFL Book Series Editor-in-Chief to succeed the outstanding Professor Bernard Spolsky. Dr Zein has also been invited to serve in the Advisory Board of British Council’s English as a School Subject International Project. He has been invited to deliver lectures as well as plenary and keynote speeches at 23 international conferences, symposiums, and research summits in various countries including Brazil, China, Colombia, England, Georgia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam. For example, he delivered a keynote speech at International Conference on Applied Linguistics, Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, in Bandung, 27-28 September 2022; and he has also presented at the 2022 SEAMEO RELC International Conference, as well as in universities including Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Tbilisi, Georgia; Universidad de Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia; and Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP), São Paulo, Brazil.

Dr Zein’s research record is highlighted by the number of citations he has accumulated. Although he is an early career researcher, his Google scholar citations have reached 1054 while my h-index is 17 and my i10-index is 24 (accurate as of 1 April 2023).

In recognition of his research, Dr Zein has been awarded Australia’s Best Researcher in the field of English Language and Literature under The Humanities, Arts & Literature category. He has held the award for two years running (2021 and 2022).