Facing futures: challenges for social scientists

The social sciences face two futures, one where they, “decline substantially in depth, breadth, diversity and profile” and another where they, “rise to the challenges … and create positive impact”

The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia sets out the issues which will shape their fate in a discussion paper, preparatory for a report intended to, “provide a foundation for the Academy’s efforts to ensure Australia has the policy settings, funding and infrastructure that support and enable world-class education and research in the social sciences.”

Challenges include:

* cuts to entire programmes or disciplines with teaching taking priority over research

* more emphasis on industry engagement in research and no subsidy for it from teaching

* research performance assessed by citation metrics, which appear to favour STEM disciplines, while HASS uses peer-review

* a decline in tertiary student share

Ideas on what is to be done are due March 5.