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Geopolitics and Science

13 April 2021

In 2020, a scientific paper about Ny-Ålesund by Eric Paglia did discuss geopolitical aspects of international science. Now there is a new publication by Thorbjbørn Pedersen, which is quite provoking on the Norwegian scientific policy in Svalbard.

Pedersen T. (2021) The politics of research presence in Svalbard. The Polar Journal. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/2154896X.2021.1883900

In this paper he adresses the visibility of non-Norwegian financed research as a safety risk for Norway, when national symbols are portrayed. Wooden shoes, a foreign flag during festivities or statues of Chinese lions are not discussing the sovereignty of Norway over Svalbard. They are simply showing foreign investments in an international setting of science. But because there have been new regulations written down in a Norwegian strategy for Ny-Ålesund and because many countries still question the Norwegian view on the exclusive economic zone of 200 miles around Svalbard, a reader might conclude that there is a geopolitical tension for foreign science on Svalbard. That feels a bit strange in the scientific community. Fortunately, the financial support by the Norwegian government for improved cooperation among scientists is very positive.


There have been three papers in response to this paper published. The overview of all four is given here.



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