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Society for Social Studies of Science

4S News

4S President’s message – February 2016


While for many of us it seems that the dust of Denver has just settled after 4S 2015, the EASST/4S 2016 organizing committee is hard at work, and the February 21st deadline for the submission of papers to Open Tracks, and proposals for Closed (invited) Sessions, is soon upon us. We’re off to a lively start with 115 Open Tracks offering an abundant array of thematic streams to engage. The Barcelona-based organizing committee brings Spanish STS colleagues together with representatives from EASST and 4S Councils – the latter include myself, Daniel Breslau (bringing his experience as just past Program Chair for 4S 2015) and Tania Pérez Bustos. The overall program, which will run from the afternoon of Wednesday August 31st through Saturday September 3rd, is taking shape. It will draw from the rich resources for doing ‘Science + Technology By Other Means’ afforded by our location in Barcelona, and bring them into conversation with the international STS research community in ways that promise to be inspiring and generative. You’ll find further details on submission procedures on the conference website at

As a follow up to my message in January regarding reflections on 4S’s position in a postcolonial/de-colonizing STS landscape, I recommend an editorial by Sergio Sismondo in the latest issue of Social Studies of Science Here Sergio works against the grain of competitive publishing to acknowledge (and link to) a collection of new STS journals, all of which are open access and free of publishing fees. The list includes the new 4S journal Engaging Science and Technology, but also many others. While the list is limited by the fact that these are all English-language journals, they are also all committed to opening up the spaces of publishing in form, content, and access. As Sergio points out, if there are enough downloads then Sage will make the editorial open access, which will increase the traffic to it and to the journals/venues that it cites. Such is life in a link economy.

This is an opportunity to remind you as well of the 4S blog Backchannels, which is committed to expanding the possibilities for non-English contributions (specifically in the first instance Spanish). As Chair of the 4S Web Committee, Abby Kinchy has drawn together a fabulous editorial team, including PhD students and Assistant Editors ElHassan ElSabry (working with Tania Pérez Bustos on blog posts that highlight STS around the world, beyond the US and Europe), Yelena Gluzman (working with Casey O’Donnell on blog posts related to the 4S meetings and the forthcoming Handbook of STS), Aleka Gurel (working with Abby on blog posts connected to recent publications in the 4S journals, ST&HV and ESTS), Lauren Kilgour (working with Oscar Maldonaldo on a special project to update the Resources section of the 4S website), and Madeleine Pape (working with Jen Henderson to reblog interesting STS-related content from around the web). The goal is to have at least one new post each week, so be sure to check in regularly at

Now back to those abstracts.