Some differences between the Sciences and the Social Sciences

Humanities and Social Sciences – what’s different compared to Science, Technology and Medicine (STM)?


The following summarises the key points of comparison from an article in Research Information:

  • Attitude to information? – one fifth of researchers in the life sciences and physical sciences rated print versions of current journal issues as useful for their research. In Arts and Humanities the figure was three fifths.
  • Funding of the research sectors? – Unlike STM, much research in the humanities and social sciences is produced by individual researchers without the support of a specific project grant (does not therefore cover publication costs). There is more funding in STM.
  • Journal prices – usually higher in STM fields than in the Humanities or Social Sciences.
  • Type of publication? – Humanities researchers generally value books rather than journals.
  • Where publishing? – STM’s main conduit for research dissemination is the academic journal. For Humanities and Social Sciences it is more of a mixed model.
  • What’s being written? – Humanities and Social Sciences tend to write long-form publications because their thoughts need more space. They value the extended argument.
  • Time sensitivity? – publication of Humanities research is often less time sensitive (e.g. you haven’t cured a disease for which people need to know the results quickly)

(from Pool, R. Open to debate – Information access in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Research Information. April/May 2010. Issue 47, pp.12-14)


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: