Socially acceptable 1

February 3, 2006

As chair of the Council of the Academy of (Learned Societies for the) Social Sciences, I welcome the Economic and Social Research Council's report that was covered in a shabby and shoddy way in The Times Higher ("Jam spread too thinly to nourish academe", January ). It is an exemplary piece of social science research by a team of extremely eminent social scientists (and not by one author as reported).

The report demonstrates the complexity and increasing interdisciplinarity of the social sciences. The age and gender profile of the social sciences in universities should be seen as a strength rather than a weakness since it contributes to wider changing patterns of employment.

While the report does argue for more resources, its emphasis is on suggesting ways to strengthen the role played by the social sciences in relation to the other sciences, public life and the changing global labour markets, and how the traditional division of social science disciplines may no longer be the most appropriate funding mechanism.

Miriam David
Institute of Education, London

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