SAGE vows to resist cuts to research spending

SAGE vows to resist cuts to research spending

SAGE will work to resist any funding cuts to social science research, which is all the more important at a time of "post truth politics", global publishing director Ziyad Marar said at the publisher's summer party in Christ Church Spitalfields last night (14th July).

Marar, welcoming SAGE authors to the event, said he had been "shocked" by the haranguing of a young audience member on BBC's "Question Time" on the basis of inaccurate claims about the Brexit vote. The young woman was told: "You should have voted, the 18-25s didn't turn out, only 34% voted."

Marar said: "This [claim] was circulated by Sky News but was flat wrong: professors at the London School of Economics studied the data and concluded that 64% of young turned out to vote."

He stressed the importance of "valid data" at a time of "post truth politics", saying there was anxiety in the Higher Education sector about Brexit, both about the European Union's Horizon 2020 funding, and about how collaboration networks would be affected, the "cultural case about the hardening of attitudes and less welcoming stance" and worries about freedom of movement.

Marar speaks at the SAGE summer party.

With the Higher Education and Research Bill - set to establish a new funding body for higher education research - going through its second reading next week, Marar said the political issues affecting HE were "very significant".

"We at SAGE will commit effort and know-how to resist the idea that funding should be cut, just as over the last five years we've been doing that work in the US to resist the intellectual vandalism of cutting social research funding," he promised.

Marar also said the publisher, which recently hired eLife's head of technology Ian Mulvaney, wanted to do more to engage with big data. "There's been a cautious response in social science research, but we need to think about how social science engages with big data. We have tried to be in the vanguard of changes since we were founded," he said.

SAGE's founder Sara Miller McCune and An Adventure in Statistics author Andy Field were among those present on the night, as were Publishers Association chief executive Stephen Lotinga and Bloomsbury executive director Richard Charkin.