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Confidence in geography

Denise Pumain
Translated by Alvin Harberts
This article is a translation of:
Confiance dans la géographie
Other translation(s):
Confianza en la geografía

Full text

1As is often the case, the state of the world offers a kaleidoscope of contrasting situations and developments. In the space of eighteen months, the covid-19 pandemic has travelled across all continents in three or four waves, prematurely claiming several million lives, deepening inequalities, fuelling certain conflicts and giving rise to new controls and new defiance. At the same time, the rapid development of vaccines now provides the most privileged with effective protection and opens the hope of a resumption of freedom of movement. Just as much as the humanist awareness of solidarity, it is the effects of global interdependence on geopolitical interests and the drain on public finances that are leading to the activation of responses that have been put off for too long: harmonization of corporate taxation in the places where they actually carry out their activities and derive profits from them, reorganization of WHO governance, greater attention to the principles of sustainable development, at all levels but mainly in a multitude of local initiatives to improve the quality of the environment against waste of energy and resources.

2Beyond the general imperatives of geoethics to protect territories and work towards more socio-spatial justice, geographers are discussing the ethical issues raised by the explosion of geo-spatial data uses and technologies for their capture and analysis, in an international committee chaired by Gary Langham and Michael Goodchild. The use of artificial intelligence must be very well supervised to avoid the damage that can be caused by ecological error or the re-identification of personal data that are in principle anonymized.

3But geoethics is also the incredible assiduity and pedagogical inventiveness of researchers and teachers, who under extremely difficult conditions have continued to supervise their students, while producing and accepting to evaluate a science whose quality is assured by peers. The decrease in the intensity of publications is noticeable but not alarming: Cybergeo published 47 articles in 2019, 37 were published in 2020, and already 17 in this first half of 2021. The journal has covered a wide range of topics, from social geography and urban mobility to refinements in metrics and methods to the geography of sport. The openness is evident with the requirement to inscribe each article in the current international debates and a notable progress in the number of those dealing with Algeria and other African countries, but also with the Caribbean area adding to Latin and North America, China, Lebanon, alongside the sustained follow-up for Europe and the world. For the first time, an article translated into Chinese (on the right to the city in Africa) appeared. The interest in open science continues with two important articles each year in the GeOpenMod and Data Papers sections (on real estate prices versus incomes in European cities, the delimitation of large cities in the world, the history of information dissemination in the Netherlands, or the politics of AOC in the Côte d'Or). Above all, we have clarified the difference between scientific articles and other contributions, by removing from our site the "debates" and "e-topics" sections and integrating them into the Cybergeo Conversation blog. The blog has also hosted several challenging texts to interpret some of the trends of the pandemic-related crises.

4This is why, despite the success of catastrophist writings and all kinds of collapses, we still proclaim our confidence in open science and geography.

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Electronic reference

Denise Pumain, « Confidence in geography », Cybergeo: European Journal of Geography [Online], Editorials, Online since 08 June 2021, connection on 18 August 2022. URL :

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About the author

Denise Pumain

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Licence Creative Commons
La revue Cybergeo est mise à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

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