In 2009 SAGE Publishing launched MethodSpace, a dynamic online community for social and behavioral research methods that enables scholars and students to share experiences and solve problems on a global scale. Methods is in many ways the framework on which SAGE – and by extension scholarly knowledge — is built.
While not a discipline in its own right, the design, collection, analysis and presentation of data is the foundation upon which knowledge claims must sit. And so SAGE, throughout our history, has committed to publishing and innovating research methods SAGE’s first methods book was published in 1970, and since then SAGE has committed to publishing research methods through journal articles, textbooks and now a suite of born-digital products to support scholars as they develop their fields.
In some areas, such as mixed methods and evaluation, qualitative methods and new statistical techniques, SAGE was more than a leader – it was a pioneer. Beyond publishing classic series such as the ‘Little Green Books’ and the ‘Little Blue Books,’ SAGE has helped to shape the research methods landscape.
Today SAGE has more than 1,200 textbooks, reference works and journals in research methods as well as online products, including SAGE Research Methods, Sage Research Methods Video, SAGE Research Methods Cases – we’ve just added another 500 to the inventory — and SAGE Research Methods Datasets. An integral part of our commitment to new forms of scholarship and publishing is to enable scholars to communicate with each other effectively and to maximize the public impact of their research.
A prime current example of the pioneering spirit is the commitment – at both SAGE and MethodSpace – to support the explosive growth in computational social science. In the case of MethodSpace, that’s reflected in our just launched Big Data hub, which we expect to be one of several satellite meeting places for scholars gathering under the MethodSpace banner.
Research methods are the connective tissue that binds together the work of scholars across disciplines, across geographical boundaries and across levels: from an under-graduate student embarking on a dissertation through to a senior professor working with a team.
Against that backdrop, MethodSpace has been there to support the broader methods community –qualitative, quantitative, mixed and any new form that arises in the future — as methods itself evolves to meet the needs of society and the opportunities presented by Big Data and new technology. This year we revamped the platform and enhanced its functionality to establish it as the convening place for its more than 22,000 members worldwide.
Methodological innovations continue to reshape the way researchers do their work and we at SAGE, with our commitment to innovation and quality, believe passionately in supporting these innovations as they grow in number and scale. Social researchers are agog at the chance to listen to millions of voices, observe billions of interactions, and to analyze patterns at a scale never seen before. But to engage seriously requires new methods and forms of collaboration, with a consequent erosion of the once insurmountable barrier between quantitative and qualitative research.
Our aim at SAGE, as methods continue to evolve, is to provide the expert guidance, the publishing innovations, in form and content, which will help researchers of the future to be equipped with the skills they will need to flourish. And in the end to make knowledge claims and educate students in ways today only glimpsed at. We have designed MethodSpace to be a companion for that journey, and as SAGE’s president of global publishing, I welcome you here.
Ziyad Marar, President of Global Publishing, SAGE Publishing