At the end of this term as director of Finisterra, I remember the geographer Maria João Vilar Queirós, my aunt. In my memory of her prevails the huge library of geography books in her office and the countless numbers of Finisterra that occupied a prominent place in the room. In large part, it was in her memory that I decided to embrace the project of editing the journal (Queirós, 2016).

Since its foundation in 1966, Finisterra – The Portuguese Journal of Geography has been directed by eminent figures in Portuguese geography. The high scientific standards and the uninterrupted publication over the years have contributed to Finisterra asserting itself as the journal of reference in Portuguese geography.

The task of Finisterra’s management, currently, presents itself as a legacy of great responsibility, to which is added the complexity of the process of internationalization, the competition to attract high quality scientific production in a highly professionalized publishing world characterized by a consequent acceleration of publication.

The quality of scientific journals is not easily measurable, as the evaluation criteria have different purposes, from the impact of scientific content, indexing in databases, fund raising for publication from funding institutions of science and technology, the development of the collection, etc. In terms of content, which expresses the relevance of the publication, research results are valued through original articles, thematically related to the journal’s mission and that represent contributions to the advancement of knowledge. Other indicators of great centrality to content quality, correspond to peer review, the editorial board made up of researchers with recognized expertise in the scientific area, respectability, and peer recognition, from institutions with national and international diversity.

Frequency, duration, standardization, editorial work, dissemination, and indexing are also indicators of formal quality and currently play a preponderant role in the evaluation of scientific journals. As is well known, the prestige of a scientific journal is increasingly measured by international indicators (count of citations, h index, impact factor, scimago journal rank, ...).

The editorial policy of the previous Directorate, under 15 years of supervision by Professor Maria João Alcoforado, continually fought to preserve Finisterra’s prestige in the increasingly competitive world of international publishers that tend to absorb scientific production. Since then, the journal has received funding from the Foundation for Science and Technology and there have been numerous changes to its functioning: the restructuring of the various commissions that make up the directive, executive and advisory bodies; expansion of the network of external specialized consultants and the explicit definition of the publication’s ethical principles. Free online access to all the journal’s texts, since its inception, is also emphasized, thus fulfilling a public mission and opening paths for open science. Reference should also be made to the adhesion to the Open Access Scientific Repository of Portugal (RCAAP) platform, through which the entire process of managing the submitted texts is still carried out today, allowing for a reduction in the time between submission and peer review and the subsequent publication of texts; maintaining the rigor and transparency of publication criteria; the broadening of the geographic scope of authors who publish in the journal; the integration in international databases and the adoption of the content identifier (DOI).

As a result of this collective effort, spirit of mission and efficient supervision, Finisterra began a process of internationalization, as can be seen from the growing number of citations of journal content in databases that perform citation counts (Scopus, Google Scholar, etc.). Indexing Finisterra in the main multidisciplinary databases was an accomplished goal. This affirmation process in the scientific publishing world is not, however, complete and rather constitutes a permanent challenge.

The objective of its recognition in the Web of Science was achieved, as well as the process of expanding its presence in other online databases was continued, improving bibliometric performance indicators, shortening the time between submission and publication.

Finisterra is currently indexed on the scientific platforms Web of Science (Emerging Sources Citation Index – ESCI); SciELO Citation Index; SCOPUS; ERIH PLUS (European Reference Index for Humanities and Social Sciences); WebQualis (CAPES); SCImago; SciELO – Scientific Electronic Library; EBSCO (Academic Search Complete); DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals); Dialnet; Latindex (Regional Online Information System for Scientific Journals of Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal); REDIB (Ibero-American Network of Innovation and Scientific Knowledge); Sherpa/ROMEO (Journals database).

Without neglecting the encouragement of Portuguese scientific production, Finisterra has also relied on an eclectic vision, internationalization strategies, authors of recognized international merit, stimulating international collaboration in publications. Currently, Finisterra has an H10 Index (Scopus) and will seek to improve this indicator, a task that is difficult and time-consuming, but not impossible. Since 2019, the journal is in Q3. In 2020, 33 texts were cited, and in 2021, in each two texts a citation arises. The journal gradually continues to increase the number of citations per article.

Finisterra is committed to this mission of continuing to expand the horizon of authors who communicate the results of their research and, simultaneously, of readers of scientific production, still mostly Portuguese speaking, but which increasingly extends to other languages. This commitment to validating knowledge and providing a formal channel for scientific communication and dissemination is equally important for the evolution of the Centre of Geographical Studies (CEG). Finisterra, as a vehicle for legitimizing scientific advances of CEG, in the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning (IGOT), and of research carried out in other academic institutions of recognized merit. It needs renewal of its management and executive committee, in order to integrate current and future generations of young researchers to learn, know, and develop skills in editing scientific papers. This change will continue in the scientific world of international ­publications.

The team that entered in 2016, and now with slight alterations will cease its functions, was based on the criteria of gender parity, the integration of scholars from various scientific areas within Geography and scientific visibility through young who actively publish and have experience of reviewing scientific articles. As such, they dominate the process of publishing scientific production, at the international and national levels, and know the digital edition which, without neglecting the paper edition, seeks a better position in the digital editorial sphere.

Seeking to maintain stability and fifteen years of experience in monitoring its evolution, together with Maria João Alcoforado, I embraced this role – with the encouragement of Jorge Gaspar and CEG colleagues – and I was able to guarantee the transition and maintenance of the quality of the formal/extrinsic and content/intrinsic aspects, fundamental to the editorial work, enabling the current (and future) generations of young who will be called to geography to acquire the experience and skills needed for Finisterra to continue its mission of scientific dissemination, while guaranteeing and expanding the indexing process, with a high rate of citations, accessibility and visibility.

The editorial team’s commitment over the past six years has also included the publication of three issues per year, an indispensable factor for increasing the journal’s visibility and impact, and included thematic issues responding to demanding selection criteria without losing their eclectic character. Finisterra has been present in successive editions of the Iberian Colloquium and more recently in the Ibero-American Territorial Observation Network (RIDOT). Since 2016, Finisterra has established the annual Award for Best Article published in the journal, selected by a working group appointed by the executive committee. It has also promoted several Training Actions, focused on the transposition of research to scientific dissemination.

Although Finisterra’s publication rate is one of its characteristics, many of the journals that the CEG receives on an exchange basis are not, which today does not bring many advantages for the journal. However, Finisterra is sent to many public services, revealing its interest from the point of view of updating knowledge by technicians and professionals in the Public Administration.

Also, within the scope of accelerating the dissemination process, Finisterra is on social networks, provides a web page with information on ethics and editorial policy, text evaluation and management procedures, and disseminates all online texts accepted for publication, in open access, even before its official publication (AoP), and provides a DOI per text.

Finisterra’s outgoing management committed to the creation of the Annual Lecture. This represents an important event in CEG’s calendar and encourages the academic community, professionals, and students to engage in a dialogue on controversial issues. The Finisterra Annual Lecture has had prominent scholars invited to lead the debate on current issues of social and scientific importance: Michael Storper, Janice Monk, Tim Cresswell, Ayona Datta, Álvaro Domingues, and Jacques Lévy. This initiative increased the journal’s visibility and is central to CEG’s affirmation strategy.

We hope, with our work and commitment, to have honoured its founders and followers: Orlando Ribeiro, Ilídio do Amaral and Suzanne Daveau. We are aware that the progress achieved was also due to the freedom that the previous and current CEG Board gave us – the trust placed in this team, by Mário Vale and José Luís Zêzere, was essential for the work we have developed.

Disseminating science was the mission of this Board, which is now saying goodbye. Thank you to those who have sought the journal out and read it.

Lisbon, October 2021

Margarida Queirós