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The Long View

When the Annals was launched in 1911, penicillin did not yet exist. As Editors, we are taking the long view on the COVID-19 pandemic. While the journal has persevered through many global crises, the present moment is clearly not business as usual.

We recognize these are exceptional times that are creating unusual burdens for individuals and communities. Many people are taking on additional duties as they cope with self-isolation and social distancing; cancelled classes, school and childcare; caring for and assisting older people and those with underlying health conditions; and the very real needs of students, staff and colleagues in our institutions. Those with caring responsibilities are facing more demands on their time, not fewer. These caring responsibilities are diverse and include friends, neighbors, colleagues and students—not just family members or dependent children.

We have chosen not to suspend our journal activities or operations for a set period, given the uncertain duration of this crisis. Instead, we are slowing things down, in order to stay nimble and responsive to differential challenges, capacities, and needs of our staff, contributors, and community members. Editorial decisions and copy-editing will be slower than usual; the window of reviewing will be extended and adapted to personal circumstances; responses and communications may be uneven or delayed. The months ahead will test all of us in different ways. Through difficult times, we ask for your patience.

Most important, we ask that our readers put care and community first. Peer review and academic publishing is, at its core, an act of goodwill—it requires sustained, thoughtful engagement with others, a kind of relation-building. We fully recognize and respect that not all members of our community are in a position to submit or review papers at this time. If you are able to engage in peer review, we will work with you to fully take account of your circumstances.

In the months to come, we expect to see trials and tests like never before, requiring us to pull together as a community. In this community, we find strength and hope. Reflecting on the recent words of Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach, we take some inspiration: “in the years to come, let them say of us: when things were at their worst, we were at our best.”

Editors, Annals of the American Association of Geographers

Ling Bian, David R. Butler, Katie Meehan, Kendra Strauss