A critical review of social sciences and humanities R&D expenditure in South Africa, 2005-2014
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Expenditure on research and experimental development in the social sciences and humanities (SSH) in South Africa has almost doubled over the past decade. However, fine-grained analysis of patterns of R&D expenditure in SSH research fields over the period 2005/2006???2014/2015 reveals a number of critical issues for both institutional planning and national policymaking. We demonstrate that most SSH R&D expenditure in the 10-year reference period was targeted predominantly within just a few research fields: finance, economics, education, accounting and political science and public policy. By contrast, investment in SSH research fields such as architecture and habitat, media and communication studies, psychology, and transportation studies was strikingly low in the same period, with some research fields, such as dance or tourism, appearing to be at risk of decline. Using these R&D data as a proxy, we argue, principally, that institutional R&D planners and national policymakers need to find a greater balance between current priorities and future needs, if SSH R&D is to be 'leveraged' for larger socio-economic impacts, as is being envisaged in a new draft White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation.