The Arctic Yearbook –a perfect platform for Arctic & global studies

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to consider globalization’s dark side by bringing up new premises of security due to environmental degradation, climate change and pandemics as non-military threats that should be applied comprehensively. It also supports an importance of scientific research & its applications, digitalization, distance-learning /-working, and open access material for knowledge-building, when new & proper information is created and distributed for better understanding of global challenges & wicked problems. We could hardly consider better platform than the (online) Arctic Yearbook for this kind of situation, when everything is put online,
and while there is an excess of mis/disinformation being spread.

The Arctic Yearbook 2020, Climate Change and the Arctic: Global Origins, Regional Responsibilities? is with 23 scholarly articles and 8 briefing notes & commentaries that widely cover the theme. Peer-reviewed scholarly articles analyze climate change from science and policy viewpoints, many with an emphasis on Arctic geopolitics and resources, and discuss Indigenous and gender aspects of Arctic climate change, and the Arctic Council’s role in climate change mitigation.

When we decided the 2020’s theme with its two-dimensional nature – recognizing the global origin of climate change with the Arctic as a workshop for climate research, and possible responsibilities & problem-solving needed from regional point of view – we did not know what was coming: The pandemic requires and supports the importance of scientific research and its applications, digitalization, distance-learning /-working, and open access material for knowledge-building, when trying to solve global crises & wicked problems. In general, at the 2020s there is the existence of advanced high-technology for information, communication and digital distribution of
information & knowledge. At the same time, there is a growing need among students, scholars & scientists, and other experts, as well as decision-makers, for new information & facts, in particular novel scientific knowledge, as well as long-distance learning measures online and with guidance.

Here, the Arctic Yearbook has the capacity, expertise and structure of network, as well as the immaterial capital – i.e. a digital online library of rich collection of more than 190 scholarly articles and more than 130 briefing notes & commentaries in nine volumes (since 2012) with diversity of relevant themes (from human capital and innovations to governance, geopolitics and climate change) – online and with open access. This makes the Yearbook a leading international Arctic peer-reviewed journal in a few fields, such as IR, Arctic shipping, state policies, Arctic Council. Due to its open access nature, these articles share Arctic social science research far beyond the halls of academia, receiving tens of thousands of reads. An active social media presence – ca. 4000 followers – has allowed the Yearbook to further disseminate Arctic research to new audiences.

The Yearbook consistently provides high quality, peer-reviewed articles from diverse researchers of Arctic social science and the humanities. This year’s volume, Defining and Mapping the Arctic: Sovereignties, Policies and Perceptions will be launched in autumn 2021. Many early-career scientists and senior researchers, as well as students, appreciate the rich variety of themes of the Yearbook, and its style, nature, fast peer-review process, as well as visibility on social media.

The Yearbook’s application is built on several strengths as prerequisites for success – a kind of philosophy based on expertise, networking based on individuals, willingness & capabilities, and encouragement & innovations. Published by UArctic Thematic Network on Geopolitics and Security it has run on volunteer efforts since its initiation, and big thanks to Arctic Portal’s invaluable role in hosting the website. All this has allowed the Yearbook to remain independent, quick and flexible, and focused on publishing new research findings rather than being occupied with seeking funding.

All in all, as an international, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed online journal with open access the Arctic Yearbook provides accessible and reliable information in a sea of pay-walled articles and internet myths. It’s an asset for local – global interface at the current state of the world that deserves to be used by Arctic – academic and expert – communities, as well as by global audience.

Arctic Yearbook 2020: Heininen, L., H. Exner-Pirot, & J. Barnes (eds.) Arctic Yearbook 2020. Akureyri, Iceland: Arctic Portal. Available from ISSN 2298–2418

Text by Prof. Lassi Heininen, Editor of Arctic Yearbook, lassi.heininen(a)

Arctic Yearbook 2020 cover page.

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