In recent years, people and organizations have come up with innovative approaches aimed at breaking down barriers and increasing access to the social sciences, from leveraging new technology to embracing community-driven methodologies.
One of the most popular ways individuals and organizations have been democratizing the social sciences is through online open-access journals, which overcome paywalls and geographical limitations and ensure that a wider academic audience can engage with new social sciences research. Social Sciences & Humanities Open (SSHO) is one of these journals, offering empirical studies, theoretical articles, case studies, literature review, and more. It not only increases access for students, but it also aims to increase the accessibility of the publishing process for researchers at all stages of their career, from first-time authors to those from underrepresented groups and geographical areas. One of the ways SSHO does this is through their Research4Life program, which waives the article publishing charges for authors in selected countries.
Another novel approach that has been slowly gaining traction is citizen science initiatives. These initiatives are unique in that they allow individuals not in the research field to participate in social sciences research projects. This allows researchers to broaden the scope of their data collection and enhance public understanding and engagement with a broad range of social issues. In the past, most citizen science projects were confined to the life and natural sciences (around 80%), with only 11% of projects in the social sciences and humanities. However, in recent years, researchers have discovered the benefits of using an interdisciplinary approach combining the social sciences with environment and natural sciences research or with biomedical research. Social sciences frameworks allow researchers to better understand the social context of issues such as climate change, in which government, culture, and economy are just some of the underlying factors that impact the overarching challenge.
Audio content such as podcasts that focus on the social sciences have also been gaining in popularity. In The We Society, journalist and president of the Academy of Social Sciences Will Hutton converses with academics, business leaders, and other public figures about research, issues, and other related topics in the social sciences field. Social Science Bites, hosted by BBC’s David Edmonds, looks at how the social sciences relate to our world and helps us understand how people behave as individuals and in groups.
In recent years, the social sciences have used a number of dynamic and diversified approaches to present and teach information. As people think of more and more ways to enhance creativity and increase access, the social sciences will only continue evolving into more interconnected formats and media and allow people to have a greater understanding of the complexities and factors that shape our societies.