Understanding the Societal Impact of the Social Sciences and Humanities: Remarks on Roles, Challenges, and Expectations
Science is increasingly expected to help in solving complex societal problems in collaboration with societal stakeholders. However, it is often unclear under what conditions this can happen, i.e., what kind of challenges occur when science interacts with society and what kind of quality expectations prevail. This is particularly pertinent for Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), which are part of the object they study and whose knowledge is always subject to provisionality. Here we discuss how SSH researchers can contribute to adressing societal problems, what challenges might occur when they interact with societal stakeholders, and what quality expectations arise in these arrangements. We base our argumentation on the results of an online consultation among 125 experts in Germany (representatives from SSH, learned societies, stakeholders from different societal groups, and relevant intermediaries).
Keywords: Social Sciences and Humanities, Societal Impact, Quality Criteria, Evaluation