マリ・サコー (Mari Sako)

東京大学社会科学研究所 外部評価報告書

 I would like to convey my sincere apologies for not being able to attend the meeting today. I have cast my eye on all the documents that you sent me for the external evaluation of your Institute. Without participating in the meeting, I am in great danger of missing the main points of your concern. But I should like to offer my modest impression and views formed as a result of reading the documents. Based at Oxford University, I am naturally much affected by the British debate concerning the role of publicly funded academic institutions in society. I hope that you would forgive me for being perhaps too Angle-centric in my views.

 First of all, I am impressed by the way in which the mission contained in the 1946 Rationale for establishing the Institute of Social Science (ISS) has been executed through the administration of comparative, inter-disciplinary and empirical research. In particular, it is evident that the Institute steers a good balance between basic research carried out by individual researchers and directed research at the Institute level. It is also laudable to be flexible enough to fill new research post vacancies by debating the Institute's needs at the time. I am also impressed by the recent efforts made by the Institute to grow into an international center for social science research on Japan. The establishment of the Information Center for Social Science Research on Japan in 1996 was timely in pursuing the dual role of internationalising ISS and of furthering its original mission to 'accurately collect materials and to continuously exercise strict theoretical analyses on the collected materials.' From the point of view of one business school academic based in Britain, the following issues appears to be pertinent in thinking about the possible future direction of the ISS.

1. To what extent should the ISS's 1946 rationale 'to assist in planning and implementing new laws and programmes' taken literally and reinvigorated in the future ?

Times have changed, and Japan's sense of urgency 'to totally renew its institutions' for 'a nascent democratic and peaceful state' is outdated. But today at the turn of the century, Japan is more in need of fundamentally re-examining and recasting its socio-economic institutions than a few decades ago. Consequently, it seems timely to promote within ISS policy-relevant research by grounding it in its comparative and multi-disciplinary capability. If labour problems and social policy were hot issues in the early years of the ISS, today's and future issues may lie in the role of corporations in society and the role of Japan in the global economy. I am not advocating that the ISS should turn itself into a policy think tank, but medium-term issue-based research close to the heart of policy-makers might complement curiosity-driven blue-sky basic research.

2. Who are the audience of ISS's research outputs, and how should such outputs be disseminated ?

As far as I can judge, nearly all of the ISS's publications in Japanese and English are primarily aimed at fellow academic researchers in social science disciplines. Whilst academic audience should remain a major consumer of ISS's research outputs, there are grounds for thinking about ways of disseminating ISS's activities more widely particularly if policy-relevant research, as suggested under Item 1, is adopted. Currently, ISS researchers may contribute as individuals to government policy deliberation committees or write newspaper or popular magazine articles, but the Institute might also consider reprocessing its research outputs for lay audience more speedily and frequently, perhaps by using the internet along the lines of Knowledge@Wharton.

3. How can the ISS place itself more firmly on the international map of social science research community ?

The ISS has already established a highly professional mode of accepting foreign scholars, of hosting international conferences, and of publishing English-language journals and newsletters. Plans seem to be under way also for internationally collaborative research projects, and all these efforts should pay off in furthering the ISS's reputation for being an international research center. With greater movement of researchers, more young foreign national scholars may be nurtured and trained by the ISS, whilst Japanese national scholars like myself would remain abroad, and I should hope that in the near future, the 'foreign visiting professors' would simply become 'visiting professors' based at overseas institutions. More importantly, one point requires clarification for the future direction of the ISS, and that concerns the relative emphasis placed on Japanese studies on the one hand and social science research on Japan on the other hand. It is my impression that many of the ISS research staff are disciplined social scientists engaged in internationally comparative work, but ISS has chosen to sign academic exchange agreements with overseas research center on Japanese studies or East Asian studies. It seems evident that if the ISS is to become known internationally as a social science research center, the benchmark institutions with which it might wish to have exchange agreements are the top graduate schools of social sciences like the London School of Economics, or leading-edge research centers like the Institute of Advanced Studies at Stanford University.

 My comments above are mostly future-oriented, and I am not able to provide an assessment of the ISS to date without knowing the criteria of evaluation. In Britain, you might know that there is a periodic Research Assessment Exercise, when each unit of assessment (like a department or an institute) is rated and ranked against other units for a research to the unit of assessment. The criteria include the quality of research output in the main, but also involve such things as the amount of research income raised and the impact made by research on 'users' such as polity makers and practitioners. I do not think that the purpose of the external evaluation of the ISS is the same as for the Research Assessment Exercise, but I hope that this information provides some background to my comments above.




1. 1946年の社研設置事由にある「今後の立法乃至施策の計画の樹立とその実行のためにも」必要であるという設立の目的はどの程度字句通りに捉えてよいものであり、将来的にはどの程度強化されるべきであるのか?


2. 社研の研究成果の聴衆は誰であり、どのように成果を発信すべきか?

 私が見た限りでは、社研の日本語および英語で発表された出版物はほぼ全て、社会科学分野の同業の研究者に向けて書かれているように見受けられます。社研の研究成果の主要な消費者は研究者であるべきだと思いますが、もし政策関連の研究を進めていくのであれば(第一項目で示唆したように)、社研の研究成果をより広く発信していく方法を考える余地はあるかと思います。現段階ではスタッフが個人レベルで政府の審議会に参加したり、あるいは新聞への寄稿などをなさっているようですが、研究所レベルで、研究成果をより迅速に且つ頻繁に発信することを検討する余地もあるかもしれません。例えば Knowledge@Wharton のような形でインターネットを通じた発信方法も考えられます。

3. 国際的な社会科学のコミュニティの中に社研をどの様に位置付けていくことができるか?

 社研は既に外国の研究者を受け入れ、国際会議を主催し、英語の雑誌やニュースレターを発行するなどの面で、高いレベルの活動を行っています。国際的共同研究の計画も既にたてられているようですし、そうした努力は社研の国際的研究センターとしての評判を高めるものとなるでしょう。外国の若手研究者が社研のお世話になりそこで養成されるようになり、その一方で日本人の学者が、私を含めて外国に残るようになるにつれて、近い将来、「外国人客員教授」ではなく、単に外国の研究機関に籍を置く「客員教授」と呼ばれるようになることを望みます。さらに重要なことは、日本研究と日本に関する社会科学研究のどちらに比重を置くかに関して、いずれ社研自体が明確にする必要があるということです。私の印象では、社研が学術交流を締結している機関は日本研究あるいは東アジア研究の研究所のようです。社研が国際的に認知される社会科学の研究機関へと脱皮するのであれば、ロンドン・スクール・オブ・エコノミックスのようなトップ・クラスの大学院やスタンフォード大学のInstitute of Advanced Studiesのような最先端の研究を行う研究所と学術交流を結ぶことも考えられるでしょう。

 わたくしのコメントは将来的なものになってしまいましたが、評価の基準を存じ上げていないため今日に至る社研の評価を申し上げることができませんでした。イギリスではご案内かもしれませんが、定期的に研究評価(Research Assessment Exercise)が行われており、ある特定の分野に関して評価の単位(学部や研究所)が比較されランク付けられています。評価基準は研究成果の質が主たるものですが、他にも研究助成金の総額、政策立案者者や実務家などの「ユーザー」への研究の影響なども含まれます。社研の外部評価がイギリスの研究評価と同様の目的を持つものなのかは分かりかねますが、わたくしの上記のコメントがどのような背景から出てきたかのご理解の一助になればと思います。