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World Social Science Report 2013

The 2013 WSSR will differ from the 2010 WSSR in that it will have a specific scientific focus, namely Changing Global Environments.

The 2013 WSSR Director and Editorial Team will benefit from the advice and recommendations of a Scientific Advisory Committee comprising well known scholars from different disciplines and different parts of the world (click here for names).

The 2013 Report is scheduled for launch at the October 2013 UNESCO General Conference.

World Social Science Report 2010

The full online English version of the Report is available for download from

Background papers are available to download here.

The remit to produce the World Social Science Report (WSSR) was given to the ISSC by UNESCO. The first and only such report was produced by UNESCO ten years ago in 1999. As the World Social Science Report will be produced on a regular basis a theme will be chosen for each publication. The theme chosen by the ISSC General Assembly for the 2010 report is Knowledge Divides. Hence the report will focus on inequalities and asymmetries in social science knowledge production in an overall context of economic, social and cultural globalization.

The 2010 WSSR

The main objective of the 2010 WSSR is to highlight the importance of social science expertise in adressing contemporary global challenges, review how social science knowledge is produced, disseminated and used in different parts of the world and assess how social sciences are coping and evolving in the face of unequal conditions and diverging trends.

The 2010 Report will provide a comprehensive review of the state of the social sciences in the world. It will :

  • analyze some of the most critical global problems confronting humanity, as perceived by renowned specialists from different social science disciplines.
  • provide a detailed description of the organization of social science production in different regions of the world, with an emphasis on issues confronted;
  • review the different factors that contribute to the depletion of national capacities, including brain drain;
  • analyse the inequalities in knowledge production that result from major inequalities in capacity across regions and countries.
  • review the impact of internationalization of the social sciences, the homogenization trends as well as possible alternatives to existing hegemonies;
  • discuss the divides and bridges between disciplines; and identifies new trends in social science themes, methods and disciplines;
  • assess the impact of the recent trends in assessment and funding which tend to emphasize competition in social science production;
  • analyse the relationship between social scientists, policy-makers and society at large;
  • make concrete proposals for tackling existing challenges.

The targeted audience of the WSSR includes:

  • Agencies which organise/ finance/ evaluate social science research in different countries
  • International organisations and development agencies which address social issues
  • Social science research associations and researchers
  • Decision makers at different levels
  • ‘Civil society’ and general users of social sciences

The approach

The report will contain general introductions and syntheses of social science literature, contributions from well known scholars in different parts of the world and keynote papers from the World Social Science Forum. The report will contain an annex providing basic statistics on social science research and development.

The ISSC is seeking maximum involvement from its membership and regional partners in the production of the Report. A questionnaire was sent at an early stage to ISSC members and professional associations in order to identify regional trends in knowledge production, priority concerns in social science research and the main users of the knowledge produced. Regional associations including CLACSO, CODESRIA and AASSREC have also been asked to contribute to the report.

Future reports will continue to :

  • Monitor major trends in the development of social science knowledge systems
  • Analyze how social sciences address global challenges and contribute to their solution ;
  • Reflect on major issues that social science knowledge production faces across the world
  • Seek to impact on social science research policy and management, including recommendations for action

2010 WSSR Team

Senior Managing Editor

Françoise Caillods
joined the ISSC in September 2008 as Managing Editor of the 2010 WSSR. Françoise holds a MA in Economics from the Faculté de Droit et Sciences Economiques, Paris (France) and an MA in Economics, Columbia University, New York (USA). She has been Deputy Director of the International Institute for Education Planning (IIEP) in Paris. She has directed several research projects on Quality Education for All, Planning education in a world with AIDS, Education and poverty reduction. She has published several books in these areas. She is also the general editor of the flagship series of IIEP/UNESCO on the Fundamentals for Educational planning.
Scientific Advisor

Laurent Jeanpierre
, Professor of Political Science at the University of Paris 8 at Saint-Denis, is scientific adviser to the Editorial team. One of his research interests is the history of the social sciences and the sociology of their internationalization.

Elise Demeulenaere
studied natural sciences at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon. She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris. Her research interest is on the relations between societies and their natural environment. She has been collaborating as a social science researcher in interdisciplinary teams on various ecological issues (traditional ecological knowledge and management systems - Ethiopia, agrobiodiversity on-farm and ex-situ management - France). She is interested in the contribution of social sciences in Environmental Studies.

sec_koen Koen Jonkers is Postdoctoral fellow at the CSIC Institute of Public Goods and Policies in Madrid. He studied biotechnology at Wageningen  University and holds a PhD in Social and Political Sciences from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Several of his recent and  forthcoming publications deal with highly skilled mobility, international research collaboration and the transformation of the Chinese research  system. His other research interests lie in the social studies of the life sciences.
Mathieu Denis
is research fellow at the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies (Université de Montréal). He holds a PhD from the   Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. His work focuses on comparative labour history. His monograph “The Unions’ Share: the unification of German labour, 1989-1990” will be published in 2011.

The WSSR Editorial Board

The WSSR Editorial Board is comprised of high level scholars from different regions and disciplines, the ISSC Secretariat representatives, the Managing Editor, and an observer from UNESCO.

  • Craig Calhoun - Sociology, United States
  • Christopher Colclough – Economics, United Kingdom
  • Adam Habib - Political Science, South Africa
  • Laura Hernández-Guzman - Psychology, Mexico
  • Huang Ping – Sociology, China
  • Gudmund Hernes – Sociology, Norway (Chairman)
  • Soheila Shahshahani - Anthropology, Iran
  • Hebe Vessuri - Social Anthropology, Science Studies, Venezuela
  • Peter Weingart - Science and Technology studies, Germany
  • Polymnia Zagefka – Development Studies, France/Greece
  • Heide Hackmann, ISSC Secretary-General, Ex officio member of the Board
  • John Crowley - Observer, UNESCO

The role of the Editorial Board is to advise the Managing Editor on the structure and content of the WSSR, advise on the choice of authors, provide comments on contributions and to serve as a reference group.


ISSC enjoys full editorial freedom to  produce the WSSR

1.Presentation at the ISSC General assembly in Cape Town. Francoise Caillods, WSSR Managing Editor, gave a presentation on the  preparation of the WSSR during the XXVIIth General Assembly (GA) of the ISSC, held at the Spier Conference Center, outside Stellenbosch in Cape Town, South Africa, from 24th to 28th November 2008. The general orientation of the report was approved.

2. A call for contributions was widely publicised at the end of 2008. This resulted in the submission of a large number of proposals, which have since undergone a selection process. Authors are currently in the process of writing.

3. Eight reviews of the state of social science production in different regions of the world with a special focus on institutional aspects have been commissioned. These will be presented and discussed in a special session held at the World Social Science Forum in Bergen.

4. Data has been collected on various aspects of social science R&D in some 50 countries with respect to numbers of researchers, students, funds and products. This will provide a macro-level measure of global research efforts in the social sciences and humanities and will illustrate existing and foreseeable trends in the geography of social sciences.

5. A second meeting of the Editorial Board took place in Bergen on May 12th 2009, which drew lessons from the World Social Science Forum.

6. Papers written by some 80 authors from different disciplines and different parts of the world have been put together in different chapters. The report has been put together by the editorial team.

7. Every article and the whole report was reviewed by several peer reviewers


The 2010 report will be published in 2010 in English and French. Long contributions which cannot appear fully in the report will be placed on the WSSR web site.  On completion, the WSSR will be printed, produced and disseminated by UNESCO who will maintain ownership and copyright .


The ISSC is benefitting from the generous support of UNESCO - which contributes some 40% of the anticipated production costs of the WSSR, of NORAD and SIDA. The ISSC must continue to fundraise though its membership to allow for a wider distribution and translation into other languages.

Background papers

Several detailed background papers for the 2010 World Social Science Report have been published online. These papers are longer versions of, or complement, the articles included in the report.

All of the papers can be accessed here, or each paper can be downloaded individually below:

Download File Size File type Title & author(s)
331 Kb
Social sciences in the Arab World: Research institutions, issues and initiatives - Rigas Arvanitis, Roland Waast and Abdel Hakim Al-Husban
141 Kb
Current topics of social science research in Japan - Thomas Brisson and Koichi Tachikawa
110 Kb
One social science or many? - Jon Elster
304 Kb
Where are social sciences produced? - Yves Gingras and Sébastien Mosbah-Natanson
57 Kb
Trends in social science research in India in recent times - Umamaheswaran Kalpagam
214 Kb icon_down Social sciences in South Asia - Venni V Krishna and Usha Krishna
300 Kb icon_down The state of social science in sub-Saharan Africa - Johann Mouton
157 Kb icon_down Shifting involvements: rethinking the social, the human and the natural - Björn Wittrock