Geography: A different sort of discipline?

Ron Johnston*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Debate continues about the inter-relationships between human and physical geography and their different research and publication practices. Relatively little data about these are available, however. Using an analysis of all publications submitted by UK geographers to the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, this paper identifies a substantial difference between human and physical geographers in their publication strategies. Most physical geographers place their research papers in specialized inter-disciplinary journals and make relatively little use of geography outlets: most human geographers, on the other hand, publish in geography journals. Comparisons with other disciplines - in the earth and environmental and social sciences respectively - also identify differences between geographers and their peers. The overall conclusion is that, with regard to research and publication at least, UK geography cannot be presented as a single academic community with strong internal ties, but rather as a conglomerate of separate communities writing for different audiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Human and physical geography
  • Publications
  • UK audiences


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