The idea of an International Institute for the Social Sciences was put forward in 1948, at a meeting of a Committee of Experts considering the establishment of research institutes within the United Nations system. At the first World Congress of Sociologists in September of 1950, an independent resolution was passed urging the development of an International Council for Social Research. The 6th General Conference of UNESCO followed this up by passing the resolution which formally led to the founding of the ISSC, authorising the Director General “…to establish an International Social Science Research council and an International Social Science research Centre for the study of the implications of technological change”, as well as to survey existing social-science research institutes “…with a view to subsequent examination of the contribution of these institutions might make to the scientific solution of the most important problems of the present age and for the purpose of aiding their development and cooperation”.
The mission of the ISSC is to advance the social sciences – their quality, novelty and utility – in all parts of the world.
to advance social science research across national and regional boundaries;
to support social science capacity building, particularly in countries and regions where it is currently not well developed;
to provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation, analysis and dissemination of data on social science resources, their availability for research and their impact on society;
to broaden interdisciplinary collaboration among the social sciences;
to expand exchange and joint work between the social sciences, the humanities and other sciences;
to link social science knowledge effectively to public policies and local needs in order to improve the quality of people’s lives; and
to promote the social science literacy of citizens.
The activities of the Council are guided by the principles of academic freedom, pursuit of excellence, equitable access to scientific information and data, unfettered conduct of science, open communication and transparency, accountability, and the use of knowledge for societal value. In addition, the Council seeks to support the participation of women, minorities and others under-represented in social science research.