Ziyad Marar, president of global publishing at SAGE Publishing, has been elected to the Fellowship of Britain’s Academy of Social Sciences, making him just the second publisher to be so named in the history of Academy’s fellowship program. Marar, whose accomplishments include launching Social Science Space in 2011, joins 72 other fellows in the 2020 cohort.
“The Academy,” said its president, professor Roger Goodman, “is unique in the UK in conferring fellowship to professional social scientists from a wide range of employment sectors and across all social science disciplines. This remarkable community of experts has used the social sciences to deliver public benefit in the realms of social, economic and environmental policy, and in higher education, regional development, government and law.”
Fellows are chosen after an extensive peer review process for the excellence and impact of their work using social science for public benefit. The list of this cohort’s fellows is here.
In that vein of public benefit, Marar has built and developed the 55-year-old global publishing company’s long-standing support of the social and behavioral sciences. The most obvious support is the company’s publishing output in the social sciences, which Marar has been intimately involved with since joining the company in 1989. As an editor he was responsible over the years for publishing hundreds of books, including Europe’s leading statistics textbook, Discovering Statistics using SPSS by Andy Field, alongside launching many innovative social science journals such as Culture and Psychology and Party Politics. As he moved up in the company (taking on the roles of Global Publishing Director in 2010 and President of Global Publishing in 2016), the scope for advancing the company’s commitment to social science, both as advocate and innovator, grew commensurately. Marar has also led the company’s evolution into the born-digital arena through products such as SAGE Research Methods and the SAGE Ocean initiative, which aims to help social scientists work with Big Data and new technology in various ways.
But SAGE, and Marar’s, commitment to advancing social and behavioral science extends beyond commercial ventures into collaboration with disciplines and umbrella social science associations and learned societies; advocacy for social science appreciation, utilization and funding; and efforts to identify, measure and promote the impact of social science scholarship.
Marar has, until stepping down this summer, been for the last seven years an active member of the board for the Academy’s own Campaign for Social Science. SAGE itself has co-published the Campaign’s public and policy-maker focused outputs, such as The Business of People, The Health of People, Positive Prospects, and earlier this summer, Vital Business.
Marar also sits on the LSE Impact Blog Advisory Board, which dovetails with his interest in measuring social and behavioral science’s impact. As a result, SAGE has proven itself a leader in this space, whether in publishing books such as The Metric Tide by James Wilsdon or pushing the broader community itself to better understand that social science impact is often long term and cumulative by launching SAGE’s 10 Year Impact awards.
SAGE and Marar’s efforts span the Atlantic, as they have fought doggedly to preserve federal funding for social science in the United States, whether in concert with organizations such as the Consortium of Social Science Associations in educating the U.S. Congress or directly with official agencies such as the National Academies of Science or the National Science Foundation in demonstrating the inherent value of social science scholarship.
SAGE has also worked to advance social science in and out of academe. In the digital realm, Marar and SAGE launched Social Science Space during the launch of the Campaign for Social Science at the House of Lords in 2011, the Social Science Bites podcast series the next year, and MethodSpace, an online community for social scientists needing support on research methodology, in 2009.
In the live space, he and SAGE have run dozens of other events with various partners over the years, ranging from Ethics of AI in collaboration with Hetan Shah and the Royal Statistical Society to the Collective Intelligence Conference with Geoff Mulgan at NESTA last year. One of the highest-profile efforts saw SAGE launch an annual Social Science FOO Camp three years ago with O’Reilly Media and Facebook bringing together 250 social scientists, data scientists, writers, and policy makers for an ‘unconference’ at Facebook’s headquarters in Silicon Valley. One notable outcome of this event was the launch of the Social Science One initiative.
While Marar writes and speaks extensively on the important issues above – his regular responses to the annual Edge Question always feature a focus on social science – he has written four books for a broader audience that still draw heavily on social and behavioral learning in areas like psychology, sociology and anthropology. His most recent book was Judged: The Value of Being Misunderstood (Bloomsbury, 2018).
Marar was born in 1966 in Baghdad then lived in Riyadh and Beirut before moving to London in the late 70s. He was educated at Exeter University (BSc, Psychology), and Birkbeck College, London University (MA, Philosophy and Psychology of Language). In addition to his academic and publishing roles, he sits on the boards of the Big House Theatre Company, and The Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights.
He tweets @ZiyadMarar