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Society for Social Studies of Science

4S News

President’s message #12


Help Council select a title for the 4S open access journal!

The Publications Committee (Kelly Moore, Chair) collected suggestions from the membership and shared these with Daniel Kleinman, Editor.  After reviewing them, Daniel proposed some options to Council.  Some Council members also made suggestions.

Below is the list of possibilities Council is now considering.  At Kelly Moore’s suggestion, I invite you to comment on and indicate support for one or more of these titles (no rank-ordering at this point, just comments and/or support). 

Please comment by Friday, October 17. The purpose is to maximize participation by the membership prior to formal Council deliberation.

Council will meet virtually with Daniel Kleinman the following week. Per the 4S Charter, final authority rests with Council.

  • Open Science, Technology, and Society

  • Science, Technology, and Society Open

  • Engaging Science, Technology and Society 

  • Aperos: Open Science, Technology, and Society

  • Aperos: Open STS

Note re Aperos:  its meaning in Esperanto: “open”; Spanish: “implements”; Latin: “appear.”   Also, the French “apéro” means “aperitif.”

Results from ESOCITE/4S Buenos Aires survey

Council is now reviewing detailed results from the post-meeting survey.  Below are highlights from both the quantitative and qualitative results. 

Note: A = agree or strongly agree; D = disagree or strongly disagree.  N/A not included, to simplify summary

263 attendees responded to the trilingual survey, i.e. around 25%

English: 124   Spanish: 78   Portuguese: 61

47% were 4S members; 39% members of neither (ESOCITE became a society during the meeting):

4S: 124   Neither: 102   ESOCITE: 24   Both: 14

82% had attended a 4S meeting fewer than 5 times:

1 time: 137   2-4: 75   5-10: 26   more:  19

65% said they could deliver a presentation in English:

English: 171   Spanish: 136   Portuguese: 83   Other: 70

48% said English was their main scholarly language:

English: 131   Spanish: 69   Portuguese: 55   Other: 17

91% agreed the meeting was worth the trip:

A: 161   D: 15  (note: question missing on Portuguese survey)

79% agreed the quality was high compared to other 4S or ESOCITE meetings:

A: 88   D: 23

81% agreed the quality was high compared to non-4S/ESOCITE meetings

A: 136   D: 31

75% agreed they were scheduled in a session with common interests:

A: 181   D: 61 (note: see qualitative responses for elaboration)

54% agreed that sessions with papers in more than one language worked well:

A: 119   D: 100  (note: see qualitative responses for elaboration)

77% agreed the opening plenary (24 presentations) was effective in highlighting the STS scholarship of making and doing:

A: 156   D: 47

68% of those attending agreed the prize plenary was a success:

A: 80   D: 37

61% prefer a 4-day meeting with fewer parallel sessions; 7% said either:

4-day: 151   3-day: 77   either: 18

73% of those participating agreed the mentoring program was well-organized and adds value:

A: 71   D: 26

Respondents reported meeting an average of 5 new collaborators outside of their normal networks

89% agreed the abstract submission process was clear:

A: 187   D: 24

89% agreed the online registration process was clear:

A: 183   D: 23

89% agreed that attendee service at the registration desk was responsive, effective, and courteous

72% agreed the process for open sessions was clear:

A: 153   D: 60 (note: see info re ad hoc committee below)

52% would likely attend a meeting in Africa

Likely: 78   Unlikely: 71

57% would likely attend a meeting in East Asia

Likely: 86   Unlikely: 66

Highlights from qualitative responses:

  • A strong general sense that the joint meeting was a success.  Numerous expressions of appreciation and understanding of the challenges of organizing a joint, trilingual meeting

  • Much outrage about no free wifi, for Twitter back channel, accessing online program, and routine use (note: clearly a must for future meetings)

  • Significant appreciation by English speakers for efforts by Spanish and Portuguese speakers to have ppt files in English; regret at not being advised to do the reverse

  • Some concerns about English speakers leaving sessions when Spanish or Portuguese speakers rose to present

  • Numerous concerns about access to food – quickly during lunch and enough during coffee breaks

  • Significant concerns by some about the movement of papers among sessions prior to the meeting (see ad hoc meeting committee below)

  • Some significant concerns about costs of travel to a distant meeting; also some concern about collective carbon footprint (see ad hoc student travel committee below)

  • Some concern expressed about the sterility of a hotel site (note: unlikely to change given the size of 4S, except in exceptional circumstances, e.g., U Copenhagen)

  • Some concern about meeting rooms, with people standing or sitting on the floor

  • Strongly mixed reactions to the value of a bilingual or trilingual meeting

The complete surbey results can be downloaded at

In the next Technoscience, I will announce the Ad Hoc Annual Meeting Committee (Lucy Suchman, chair) and the Ad Hoc Student Travel Committee (Kaushik Sunder Rajan, co-chair; other co-chair tba).

Begin planning for Denver in November 2015!

Gary Downey