A joint study by the Think Tank Initiative (TTI) and the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) was launched during the International Conference on Social Science Research – Status and Policy Issues on 5 November 2016 in Delhi, India. The book was officially released by the Minister of State for Human Resources Development, Mahendra Nath Pandey, who emphasised in his inaugural address that social science research is key in developing evidence-based policies.

The publication, jointly edited by Dr. Samar Verma, Senior Program Specialist at TTI and Prof. Sukhadeo Thorat, Chairman of ICSSR, is the first of its kind to examine in detail the present status of social science research in India. Addressing issues like lack of funding, availability of data and quality of research outputs, it presents a strong case for designing a comprehensive national social science research policy to strengthen and promote the research ecosystem and ultimately improve policymaking in India.

The study highlights that the share of expenditure to GDP of social science research budget was 0.0062% against 0.21% for pure science research in 2010-2011 and that India had a mere 1.6% global share of the 1.6 million articles published in social science journals across the world between 2009 and 2014. It most notably stresses the relevance of social science in informing public policy and the need for a dynamic and vibrant research ecosystem to enable this.

The International Conference on Social Science Research – Status and Policy Issues was organised by ICSSR and the Asian Social Science Association with TTI funding. The event was attended by academics, researchers, donors and members of national research councils and government agencies. The overarching objective of the Conference was to bring into focus both the status of social sciences in Asian countries and to highlight contemporary issues for research in Asia. It was also an opportunity for representatives from donor agencies to present how they prioritize, organize, fund and evaluate their investments in social science research.