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Disciplinary balance

How to engage social scientists in IPBES

We contend that the disciplinary imbalance within the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) could best be remedied by improving the organization's communication with researchers from the social sciences and humanities (see A. B. M. Vadrot et al. Nature 530, 160; 2016).

Our analysis of the groups that were nominated and selected after the second IPBES call for experts for deliverables 2(b) and 3(b)(i) — namely the regional/subregional assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and of land degradation and restoration — indicated that most people who applied for the assessments had a background in natural sciences (see go.nature.com/pexril). This suggests that IPBES communications about the details and implications of the IPBES process itself might not be effectively engaging the social-science and humanities communities.

We suggest that IPBES calls need to be circulated more widely and avoid language and expressions that are tailored specifically for natural scientists. The calls should recognize differences in the social-science and humanities communities and target these more specifically.

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Correspondence to Malte Timpte.

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Reuter, K., Timpte, M. & Nesshöver, C. How to engage social scientists in IPBES. Nature 531, 173 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/531173c

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