Impacts on social science research
I. We call for a coordinated, comprehensive and flexible response by researchers, institutions, and funders that is also balanced and equitable in respect to disciplines, areas of research, and Arctic communities.
II. We emphasize the importance of adhering to the IASSA Research Principles by all scholars, institutions and funding agencies. In particular this means:
- Avoiding travel to Arctic communities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 until all risks are eliminated. In some cases this may constitute a travel delay of up to or exceeding 12 months.
- Engaging local residents remotely to conduct research, including providing equipment, fair pay and funding for improved connectivity, whenever possible.
- Investing in local capacity building and expanding local engagement in research, including co-producing research processes, training community members to conduct joint research locally and transferring funding directly to the community researchers and knowledge holders.
- Prioritizing emergency relief and long-term support for local researchers, knowledge holders and project participants, including local/community logistics operators, collaborators and other partners. Research institutions and funding agencies could institute coordinated and flexible responses to delays and changes in research activities, assist in negotiating with and relieving the losses of community-based logistics and infrastructure providers.
- If cuts or reallocations in funding are needed, prioritize community-based, student and early career funding.
III. Capitalizing on Western, Indigenous, and local science and knowledge systems is key in knowledge co-production for understanding COVID-19 pandemic and addressing its consequences. Thus, we call on funding agencies and institutions to encourage the rapid release of funding for social and health research targeting these.
IV. In the long term, to minimize the future loss of vital data and research infrastructure an action is needed to rethink the role of Indigenous communities, Indigenous Peoples, specifically youth, in research priorities and activities. A network of Arctic indigenous communities/project leaders and formal engagement mechanisms could be developed as the first steps.
V. Finally, we ask IASSA members to make your and your community partners’ COVID-19 needs and concerns known to your institutions and funding agencies, propose solutions and cooperate with all parties to address possible issues.
Dr. Andrey N. Petrov, University of Northern Iowa, USA (IASSA President)
Dr. Dmitry Funk, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, RAS, Russia
Dr. Diane Hirshberg, University of Alaska Anchorage, USA
Dr. Michał Łuszczuk, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Poland
Dr. Gertrude Saxinger, University of Vienna, Austria
Dr. Peter Sköld, Umeå University, Sweden (Past President)
Dr. Tatiana Vlasova, Institute of Geography, RAS, Russia
Dr. Gary Wilson, University of Northern British Columbia, Canada
Ms. Alona Yefimenko, Indigenous Peoples Secretariat, Norway