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Logics of spatial location of research: review and prospects

MarionMai
June 21, 2022

Logics of spatial location of research: review and prospects

What are the spatial patterns of development of research? At the level of a given country, to what extent is the distribution of research activities dependent on the urban hierarchy? Is there a relationship between the size of cities and the type of scientific activities that develop there?
These three apparently simple questions do not admit of any stabilised answers in the current academic literature.
This is due, firstly, to differences in definitions, since it is necessary to agree on what is meant by 'research activities' and on the methods and data that make it possible to measure their distribution. This can also be explained by the impossibility of providing answers that are valid at all times, in all places and for all types of scientific research, especially since the geography of research that can be observed today on the scale of a given country is the result of location logics that may have varied over time and space. As the urban hierarchy is not stable over time either, the co-evolution between research geography and urban geography must be taken into account. Finally, it reflects the limited communication between historians, economists, sociologists, and geographers interested in research activities - leading to seemingly irreconcilable positions in understanding and explaining the spatial logics of this sector of activity.
By considering existing knowledge on this subject, by working to unravel the terms used and by taking the case of contemporary French and British national research systems as a case study, this presentation offers to shed light on the spatial determinants of research and the reasons for the overrepresentation of these activities in certain categories of cities. It thus highlights the factors that explain, at the national level, the gap between the hierarchy of cities in terms of their research and the urban hierarchy expressed by the distribution of the urban population at a given date.

MarionMai

June 21, 2022
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  1. LOGICS OF SPATIAL LOCATION
    OF RESEARCH: REVIEW AND
    PROSPECTS
    MARION MAISONOBE, LABORATOIRE GÉOGRAPHIE-CITÉS
    MARION.MAISONOBECNRS.FR
    Winslow Homer, 1895, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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  2. AN « INNOVATIVE ACTIVITY »
    ▪ Innovative activities concentrates in large metropolitan areas because research productivity
    is higher in large metropolitan areas (Bettencourt et al., 2007)
    VERSUS
    ▪ The largest cities became larger because these cities were successful in adopting many
    successive innovation (Evolutionary theory, Pumain et al., 2006)

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  3. From Pumain et al., Cybergeo, 2006

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  4. RELATION TO CITY SIZE
    Innovation stage according to Pumain et al. 2006
    From Pumain et al., Cybergeo, 2006

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  5. Metropolitan advantages from Bettencourt et al., 2007

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  6. MAPPING THE GEOGRAPHY OF RESEARCH
    • R&D Employment
    • Patent data
    • Publication data
    • Citation counts
    Locales with at least one WoS publication between 2000 and 2013 (articles, reviews & letters)
    Crédit: L. Jégou et M. Maisonobe

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  7. APPROACH BY INSTITUTION: EXAMPLE OF UNIVERSITIES IN A LONG TERM PERSPECTIVE
    William R. Shepherd: Historical Atlas, New York, Henry Holt and Company, 1923, in the Public Domain

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  8. APPROACH BY INSTITUTION: EXAMPLE OF MARINE BIOLOGY STATIONS
    Clerc-Rampal, G. (1913) Mer : la Mer Dans la Nature, la Mer et l'Homme, Paris: Librairie Larousse, p. 129
    Photograph from the Freshwater and Marine Image Bank, University of Washington

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  9. SPATIAL DECONCENTRATION OF SCIENTIFIC PRODUCTION
    THE CASE OF FRANCE
    From Grossetti et al., EPJ Web of Conferences, 2020

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  10. Proximity between the geography of
    universities and the geography of Research in
    France
    ▪ «The distribution of researchers in higher education, because it is globally linked to that of students
    (correlation coefficient of 0.995!), is increasingly modelled on the upper level of the French urban
    structure. » (Brocard, 1991, p.73);
    ▪ During the 1990s, «higher education facilities tended to become as widespread as the facilities in
    which compulsory education is completed » so that in the late 2000s, « all major complete higher
    education hubs are less than two hours' drive from other centres in their region or neighbouring
    regions» (Baron, 2010).
    Madeleine Brocard. La science et les régions : géoscopie de la France. In: RECLUS-La
    Documentation Française. 1991. ; Myriam Baron. Les transformations de la carte
    universitaire depuis les années 1960 : constats et enjeux. In: Le Mouvement Social, vol.
    233, no. 4, 2010. pp. 93-105

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  11. Maisonobe, Marion.
    «Regional Distribution of
    Research: The Spatial
    Polarization in Question». In
    Handbook Bibliometrics, par
    Rafael Ball, 377-96. De Gruyter
    Saur, 2020.
    https://doi.org/10.1515/97831
    10646610-036
    SPATIAL DECONCENTRATION OF
    RESEARCH:
    THE EUROPEAN SCALE FOR
    DIFFERENT METRICS

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  12. CHANGE IN THE GLOBAL CONCENTRATION OF
    PRODUCTION BY CLASSES OF CITIES
    Most publishing cities 2000* 2003* 2007* 2010* 2013* Trend
    Top 10 17.1 15.8 14.7 14.0 14.1
    Top 20 24.6 23.4 22.2 21.3 21.6
    Top 30 30.2 29.0 27.5 26.6 27.1
    Top 50 39.1 37.7 36.0 35.1 35.6
    Top 100 52.8 51.3 49.8 48.7 49.2
    Top 200 69.7 68.3 66.7 65.3 65.1
    Top 500 89.6 88.4 86.7 85.0 84.4
    Top 1000 96.7 96.3 95.5 94.6 94.2
    Total 100 100 100 100 100
    Share of the global total of publications (%)
    Source: Science Citation Index Expanded (articles, reviews and letters)
    *mobile average over three years
    Results of the NETSCIENCE project, Labex SMS, Toulouse, 2016 – D. Eckert, M. Grossetti , L. Jégou, M. Maisonobe, B. Milard
    See also: Les ancrages nationaux de la science mondiale: XVIIIe-XXIe siècle, Dir. M. Kleiche, 2018

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  13. SCIENTIFIC PRODUCTIVITY AND CITY SIZE
    THE METROPOLITAN ADVANTAGE: LEGEND OR REALITY?

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  14. From Nomaler, Frenken & Heimericks, Plos ONE, 2014 – US data
    What about productivity?

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  15. Marion Maisonobe.
    Géographie des activités
    de recherche et
    hiérarchies urbaines.
    Centralités et hiérarchies
    des réseaux et des
    territoires. Forthcoming.
    ISTE Editions.
    Michel Grossetti, Marion
    Maisonobe, Laurent
    Jégou, Béatrice Milard,
    Guillaume Cabanac.
    Spatial organisation of
    French research from the
    scholarly publication
    standpoint (1999-2017):
    Long-standing dynamics
    and policy-induced
    disorder. EPJ Web of
    Conferences, 2020.

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  16. THE CRITICAL MASS EFFECT IN QUESTION
    • Following the reports of University Alliance (2009 & 2011), we found no evidence of a size
    effect regarding the spatial distribution of scientific activities between urban areas
    (Grossetti et al., 2015, Handbook of geographies of innovation)
    • The spatial distribution of academics explains the spatial distribution of scientific activity
    (volume of publications per urban area) :
    • In France with a very good R2 (95%) - Grossetti et al., 2020
    • In the UK with a very good R2 (88%) - Maisonobe, forthcoming
    → Agglomeration perimeters shared in Maisonobe, Jégou & Eckert, 2018, Cybergeo

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  17. P. A. Balland, C. Jara-
    Figueroa, S. G. Petralia,
    et al. Complex
    economic activities
    concentrate in large
    cities. In: Nat Hum
    Behav, 4, 2020. pp.
    248–254
    Does complexity concentrate in metropolitan areas?

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  18. DISCUSSION
    • Influence of urban perimeters (Arcaute et al., 2015)
    • Regression method (OLS) (Leitão et al., 2016) + zero values (Finance & Cottineau, 2019)
    • Residuals (low R2)
    • Other determinants than the city size (spatial logics by institution)
    • Other ways of measuring a spatial concentration and its evolution
    • Promising method: a dominance tree approach to systems of cities (Louail & Barthelemy,
    2022)

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  19. POLICY IMPLICATIONS
    • Policy makers firmly believe in agglomeration effects favouring the metropolitan areas:
    « As the share of highly educated people tends to be larger in bigger cities, the productivity
    effects of city size and human capitals can thus reinforce each other » OECD, The Metropolitan
    Century, 2015, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264228733-en
    • Demonstrating the lack of critical mass effects has important consequences as it invalidates
    the benefit of concentration of research funds and excellence policies targeting the biggest
    cities

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  20. The World is spiky
    Florida, 2005
    « The concentration of creative talents in a few hotspots able to
    connect to the global system of cities is intensifying from the

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  21. Maisonobe, M., Jégou, L., & Cabanac, G., Peripheral Forces, Nature Index 563, S18-S19 (2018)
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07210-6

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  22. Taken from
    Maisonobe, 2021
    Handbook
    Bibliometrics

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  23. The GeoScimo website in french and english
    GEOgraphie de la production SCIentifique MOndiale
    URL : https://www.irit.fr/netscity
    An online tool (beta version) to
    analyse and map contemporary
    scientific networks at the city level

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