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Keywords:

  • academic publishing;
  • Anglo-American hegemony;
  • Web of Science;
  • journals;
  • bibliometrics;
  • Belgium

Because research on the publication practices of academic geographers has been limited to the quantification of journal articles cited in easily searchable databases such as Thomson Reuters' Web of Science or Elsevier's Scopus, the question remains whether journals that are not indexed by these databases flourish or perish under the increasing pressure to publish in outlets with the highest impact factors. To answer this question, we have compiled a database with the complete bibliographies of all Belgian professors that have been working in Belgium in the field of human geography over the last 40 years. Based on our quantitative analysis of 810 articles published in 304 different journals, we come to the conclusion that human geographers from the Dutch-speaking north of the country are currently publishing more in English-language journals and in journals indexed by the Web of Science than their colleagues in the seventies or the eighties, but less in the Dutch and the French languages and in Belgian geographical journals. In the French-speaking south of the country, this evolution is less pronounced, but still present. Even though we applaud the tendency to publish in English and in Web of Science journals because it increases the academic rigour of scholarly research, we are afraid that it hampers the role of academic geography in geography education and society as a whole.