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Society for Social Studies of Science

4S News

President’s message #14


Council selects journal name!: Engaging Science, Technology, and Society

On November 20, Council selected Engaging Science, Technology, and Society as the name for our new open access journal!

The final Council vote concluded a three-month process to select a name. The process began with the Publications Committee collecting suggestions from members, which it then shared with the Editor, Daniel Kleinman. After reviewing these, Daniel proposed some options to Council. Some Council members also made suggestions. In October, I formally solicited your suggestions and comments on five options. Council discussed options with Daniel at its Fall meeting and then carried out a series of votes to winnow down the list and reach a final decision.

Early in the new year, the journal will begin to accept manuscript submissions! Wait for the formal announcement!

Daniel reports that among the likely categories for submission are:

Research Articles: no decision yet on standard length or criteria justifying long articles, afforded by the open access format.

Critical Engagements: short essays that critically consider topical issues at the intersection of technoscience and society.

Considering Concepts: Essays that introduce a concept of potential use in the analysis of broadly STS-related issues.

Debates/ Interactions: Multiple responses to a standard research article.

Traces: Occasional papers by prominent scholars whom the editors will ask to (re)trace their intellectual paths.

Review Essays: Solicited review essays on themes of interest to scholars doing STS-related work.

Council gives final approval to STS Making and Doing exhibition & awards!

Many thanks to the STS Making and Doing Committee for steering this process through rigorous review by both the membership and Council! Members include Sulfikar Amir (chair), Joseph Dumit, Nina Wakeford, Chia-Ling Wu, Sara Wylie, and Teun Zuiderant-Jerak.

Below are bits of text from the formal call for submissions that the Committee will be issuing for the Denver meeting. You can expect to hear a great deal more about this as preparations for the meeting coalesce.

“The STS Making and Doing initiative aims at encouraging 4S members to share scholarly practices of participation, engagement, and intervention in their fields of study. It highlights scholarly practices for producing and expressing STS knowledge and expertise that extend beyond the academic paper or book. By increasing the extent to which 4S members learn from one another about practices they have developed and enacted, the initiative seeks to improve the effectiveness and influence of STS scholarship beyond the field and/or to expand the modes of STS knowledge production.”

“The STS Making and Doing Awards formally acknowledge and celebrate distinctive achievements in practices of STS making and doing. It recognizes 4S members who have demonstrated scholarly excellence in formulating, enacting, and sharing theoretically-informed practices of participation, engagement, and intervention in their fields of study.”

“The STS Making and Doing program is organized as part of the 4S annual meeting. Selected presentations will be displayed at an exhibition during the meeting.”

Council selects name for 4S blog!: Backchannels

Concluding a month-long process, Council has selected “Backchannels” as the name for the new 4S blog.

The Digital Publications Workgroup has drafted the following language to accompany the blog: “Linguists first used the term backchannel to refer to the spontaneous responses and signals that provide interactivity to what is only apparently a one-way communication. Social media users have adopted the term to refer to the unofficial, multi-directional online conversation that parallels formal academic exchange at a lecture or conference. The Backchannels blog is intended to have a similar relationship to scholarly discourse in STS. It provides an outlet for alternative-format scholarly communications, publishing shorter, timelier, media-rich communiqués of interest to the global STS community. The editors welcome proposed contributions.”

Many thanks to the Workgroup, now putting the finishing touches on the new user interface. Members include Daniel Breslau, Tania Pérez- Bustos, Abby Kinchy, Ali Kenner, Jen Henderson, and Steve Coffee.

New membership system!

On recommendation from the 4S webmaster, Steve Coffee, and treasurer, Paige Miller, 4S is changing providers for its membership system. Although the annual fee is higher, reduced credit card fees made it a break-even decision.

In addition to better technical support and more reliable upgrades, 4S gains access to some attractive new features, including: (1) member directory (desperately needed); (2) survey module linked to membership database (desirable); (3) automatic meeting certificates for attendees (often required in Latin America); (4) committee management (could be useful); and (5) career center (may or may not be useful for us).

Future meetings (January 15 deadline for potential 2017 hosts!)

Still awaiting word from EASST about 2016. They promised to identify a city and host university by the end of 2014. 

Council requests informal expressions of interest in hosting the 2017 meeting. One proposal is already in hand. 

Please submit your expression of interest to Steve Zehr, 4S secretary. Include any logistical details you might be able to supply at this point. 

Much to come regarding our upcoming meeting in Denver!

Gary Downey