That English is the lingua franca of today's science is an indisputable fact. Publication in English in international journals is a pre-requisite for a research paper to gain visibility in academia. However, English proficiency appears to be taken for granted in the scientific community, though this language can be a hurdle for a number of authors, particularly from non-native English-speaking countries. The influence of English proficiency on the publication output of Brazilian authors has never been assessed. We report our preliminary data on the relationship between the English proficiency of 51,223 researchers registered in the CNPq database and their publication output in international journals. We have found that publication rates are higher for those authors with good command of English, particularly written English. Although our research is still underway and our results are preliminary, they suggest that the correlation between written English proficiency and research productivity should not be underestimated. We also present the comments of some Brazilian scientists with high publication records on the relevance of communication skills to the scientific enterprise.