http://www.acadeuro.org/fileadmin/template/resources/logotop.gifAcademia Europaea (AE), an international, non-governmental, not-for-profit association of individual scientists and scholars, has recently published a position paper on the situation of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Europe. AE argues that there is mounting evidence of serious erosion in the critical and core subjects which underpin European Humanities and Social Sciences. If unrecognised, it maintains, the trend risks degrading research expertise and could, over time, undermine future scholarship capacity in these areas.
The position paper makes a number of recommendations for action that could be applicable to the upcoming negotiations on the next EU Framework Research programme and relevant to the European Commission 2020 strategy. See the press release here or read the full paper here.
Recommendations

Because of all this, we think it is vital that the EC ensure that all member states and associated states maintain and foster a viable, high quality research and education base, also for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Moreover, the AE also is of the opinion that the EC itself, through its FPs, and in the first instance Horizon 2020, should move to allocate adequate financial support for the Humanities and Social Sciences. We welcome very much the positive signals coming from the EC in this regard.
Taking into account our assessment of the current situation of European research in the Humanities and Social Sciences as outlined above, the AE recommends to all concerned:
1. to re-consider the issue of the evaluation of research in the Humanities and Social Sciences, discussing the use and abuse of bibliometrics, impact factors and peerreview criteria, for it is apparent that papers written by non-Anglophone scholars from institutions outside of the Anglophone world have significantly less chance of being accepted in international journals that the main metrics databases utilise;
2. to support the creation of multi-disciplinary regional and cultural studies, with a sufficient critical mass to be able to conduct a profound dialogue between the different branches of the Humanities, on the interfaces between the arts and the sciences, and on the role of heuristic and basic ideas in science and scholarship;
3. to promote cohesion among historically divided and traumatized communities, and to further integration between the different European cultural, scientific and scholarly traditions, all too often and for too long divided ideologically or religiously;
4. to recreate an adequate motivation system for academic work in the HSS at both national and EU level, through the system of grants, stipends, mobility funds and suitable prizes;
5. to organize multidisciplinary research projects founded by the European Research Council, to ensure that through such European cooperation the critical but endangered small subjects can continue to be nurtured and studied in Europe;
Further, the AE recommends, that in order to guarantee excellence, objectivity, fairness and accountability under Horizon 2020: advice be sought from and assessment entrusted to persons recognized as authorities in their respective fields, but also having well-documented experience in the policy area, especially for the highest level advisory bodies to the European Commission. The AE is able, and willing, to offer its services in this regard, as well in others. For instance, the AE might serve as an independent body but acting on behalf of the European Commission, to host the pan-European “Descartes”-type award that was, unfortunately, terminated in the current Framework Programme.
Finally, the AE offers its services to both the academic community and policy circles as a mediator and facilitator in attaining the goals outlined above. In particular, we offer to mobilize our membership, drawn from the scientific and scholarly elite of Europe, in the service of providing expert input, objective assessment based on excellence, and a forum for debates and activities along the ideas laid out in this position paper.