The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of research-article writing motivation and use of self-regulatory writing strategies in explaining second language (L2) research-article abstract writing ability, alongside the L2 literacy effect. Four measures were administered: a L2 literacy test, a research abstract performance assessment, and inventories of writing motivation and strategy. Participants were L2 graduate students in Taiwan (N = 185; M age = 25.8 yr., SD = 4.5, range = 22-53). Results of structural equation modeling showed a direct effect of motivation on research-article writing ability, but no direct effect of strategy or indirect effect of motivation via strategy on research-article writing ability, with L2 literacy controlled. The findings suggest research-article writing instruction should address writing motivation, besides L2 literacy.