The Arab Social Science Monitor (ASSM) is one of the major projects of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS) and aims to establish an observatory dedicated to surveying the landscape and infrastructure and assessing the trajectories of social science research in the Arab region, evaluating capacities and characteristics of the social science communities across the region and following up on emergent research agendas and themes. To this end, the ASSM collects data relevant to the social sciences on five aspects: Individuals, Institutions, Products, Practices and Uses.
This presentation will present work done so far on its tools for documentation and evaluation, and the lessons learned from this ongoing effort. Issues to be discussed are the increasing use of certain “global” metrics for assessing quality of universities and of research. These metrics need to be discussed critically both in terms of their reliability for measuring quality in social science research and their relevance to the Arab region. In addition, the presentation will discuss challenges in the region arising out of the staggering scarcity of publically available data, the need for better structures and processes for data gathering and sharing in the various countries of the region and the importance of institutional and individual collaborations.