Innovation Challenge 4: To Advance and improve the use of social science data for ocean management, decision making and policy development

Data and information (including narratives) are collected on human societies, their past and current coastal and maritime practices, and their beliefs, behaviours and responses to changing marine, social and economic conditions and resource availability. However, much of this information is unevenly distributed in time and space, in contrast to some oceanographic data, that can be collected globally by satellites to provide synoptic, continuous views and can be analysed over a range of spatial and temporal geo-referenced scales. The effective use of social science data and information underlies the research questions within Grand Challenge III, but is also relevant to the coupling of ocean and human systems in Grand Challenges I and II.

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Knowledge Gaps

Social science data are generally collected in local or time-bound studies over varying periods of time, sometimes taking years to collect. These data are often collected using a variety of protocols with different objectives and stored in individual databases (that are not readily accessible). In addition, social science data are not always georeferenced and there may be access restrictions due to privacy protection issues. These differences create challenges for the integration of social and natural science data.

Priority Research Questions

How can coastal community data and information collection and transfer be increased and improved for the end users of marine science?

What are the obstacles to developing a global database of coastal community data collected through a diverse range of research projects, with varying intellectual property protocols?

How can they be overcome?

How can data and information collected at different spatial and temporal scales from the social and natural sciences be integrated, analysed and synthesized?

What is needed to improve the capacity for management and use of social science data?

How can linkages between marine ecosystem models and observations be improved to make better use of social science data?

Who is involved