Internet Geographer


Posts tagged knowledge economy
Mapping The Global Knowledge Economy

The geography of published and codified knowledge has always had stark core-periphery patterns. Just look at the below map of where academic articles are published from (taken from a new co-authored paper with our Geonet team). 

However, increasing digital connectivity has sparked many hopes for the democratization of information and knowledge production in economically peripheral parts of the world. If you can access the sum of the world's knowledge at the tip of your fingertips, are there any reasons for these sorts of patterns to persist?

Sadly, we find that there are. We examined the geography of coding (through Github) and the geography of Internet domain registrations, and find that contrary to the expectation that digital content is more evenly geographically distributed than academic articles, the global and regional patterns of collaborative coding and domain registrations are more uneven than those of academic articles. While connectivity is an important enabler of digital content creation, it seems to be only a necessary, not a sufficient, condition; wealth, innovation capacity, and public spending on education are also important factors.

You can access a full discussion of our results in our new article below: 

Ojanperä, S., Graham, M., Straumann, R. K., De Sabbata, S., & Zook, M. (2017). Engagement in the knowledge economy: Regional patterns of content creation with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Information Technologies & International Development, 13, 33–51.

Kapuścinski Public Lecture - Uneven Geographies of Power and Participation in the Internet Era

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 11.50.17

You can watch the whole lecture at the link above. For anyone interested in more about the topic, the following pieces could be of interest:

Graham, M., Straumann, R., Hogan, B. 2016. Digital Divisions of Labour and Informational Magnetism: Mapping Participation in Wikipedia. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. (in press) doi:10.1080/00045608.2015.1072791.(pre-publication version here)
Graham, M. 2015. Information Geographies and Geographies of Information New Geographies 7 159-166.
Graham, M., De Sabbata, S., Zook, M. 2015. Towards a study of information geographies:(im)mutable augmentations and a mapping of the geographies of information Geo: Geography and Environment.2(1) 88-105. doi:10.1002/geo2.8
Graham, M., Hogan, B., Straumann, R. K., and Medhat, A. 2014. Uneven Geographies of User-Generated Information: Patterns of Increasing Informational Poverty. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 104(4). 746-764. (pre-publication version here)

Mapping the geography of academic knowledge

Our team recently had the opportunity of working with some submission data from Sage journals. Amongst other things, the data tell us where authors of articles come from, and primary discipline of the journal they are submitting to.

We therefore decided to map out the geography of submissions for journals in five categories: Communications, Clinical Medicine and Critical Care, Cultural Studies, Engineering and Computing, and Management and Organization Studies.


A few broad patterns are apparent here. First, we see way more academic content coming from the Global North than from the Global South. Africa in particular is notable for its absence. Most countries on the continent fail to register even a single journal article submission.

Second, there are only two countries that register a consistently large number of submissions in every category: the UK and the US.

This relates to the third point: that a handful of Asian countries (i.e. China, India, and Iran) register a high number of submissions only in STEM subjects.

We can also look not just at the raw number of submissions, but also the acceptance rates of submissions by country:


Here we see that Northern Europe and North America have relatively high acceptance rates across the board. Relatedly, not only do a lot of countries in the South have particularly a low number of submissions, they also have very low acceptance rates for the small numbers of submissions that they do have: further deepening the geographic divides in knowledge production.

Sanna Ojanperä, Stefano De Sabbata, and I plan to explore some of these patterns in more detail in an article we are writing. But, in the meantime, please let us know if there are any questions about these preliminary patterns; or if there are any questions you would like to see addressed.

Some related work:

The Geographies of Science

Graham, M., Straumann, R., Hogan, B. 2016. 

Digital Divisions of Labour and Informational Magnetism: Mapping Participation in Wikipedia.

Annals of the Association of American Geographers

. (in press) doi:10.1080/00045608.2015.1072791.(

pre-publication version here)

Graham, M., De Sabbata, S., Zook, M. 2015. 

Towards a study of information geographies:(im)mutable augmentations and a mapping of the geographies of information

Geo: Geography and Environment

.2(1) 88-105. doi:10.1002/geo2.8

Graham, M. 2014. 

The Knowledge Based Economy and Digital Divisions of Labour

. In 

Companion to Development Studies, 3rd edition, 

eds V. Desai, and R. Potter. Hodder


"Towards a study of information geographies" A full list of our maps
We very recently published a paper that brings together a lot of the internet mapping work that we’ve been doing:

Graham, M., S. De Sabbata, and M. A. Zook. (2015) “Towards a Study of Information Geographies: (im)mutable Augmentations and a Mapping of the Geographies of Information.” Geo: Geography and Environment, doi:10.1002/geo2.8. (HTML version here)

A more detailed description and abstract are available in my earlier post about the piece. But what I didn’t do there is upload all of the maps and visualisations that we include in the paper. So, here they are. Make sure you check out the (open access) paper if you want to know more about the methods, findings, and implications.

NB. Here’s a talk on the same topic that I did for BBC Radio 4 last year (in case you’d like the non-visual version).