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Society for Social Studies of Science

4S News

President’s message #16


Engaging Science, Technology, and Society is accepting manuscripts!

On behalf of Editor Daniel Lee Kleinman, Managing Editor Katie Vann, and the Editorial Board, I am pleased to announce that 4S’s open access journal, Engaging Science, Technology, and Society, is up and running!

The journal invites quality STS scholarship in the following formats:

Critical Engagements: 1k-word essays that critically consider topical issues at the intersection of technoscience and society.  We seek jargon-free essays, akin to opinion-oriented long-form journalism.   No references or notes, and we encourage use of in-text links for further exploration
Considering Concepts: The aim of these 2k-word essays is to introduce a concept of potential use in the analysis of broadly STS-related issues.  Such essays should introduce the key concept, give a single empirical illustration of its use and describe how the concept might profitably be extended. 
Debates/ Interactions: We seek to promote debates within the “pages” of Engaging Science, Technology, and Society.  Where reviewers and the editors believe debate on one of our published, full-length research articles is warranted, we will seek commentators and provide the article author an opportunity to respond.  In addition, we welcome proposals for debate themes and possible participants.  Here we will ask several authors to write 5k-word essays on the debate theme.
Review Essays:  Invited or proposed 5k-word review essays on themes of significant interest to STS scholars and people beyond the STS community. 
Traces:  Invited 6k-word essays by prominent scholars asked to (re)trace their intellectual paths and discuss the experiences that led them to STS and to particular set of interests, empirical foci, or concepts. 
Scholarly Peer-Reviewed Research Articles:  Single- or co-authored original research articles.  Here we will consider theoretical papers and empirical studies.  High value will be placed on research that provides conceptually guided analysis of empirical data.
Thematic Collections:  Single- or co-authored original research articles submitted as part of a group of papers organized by a specific STS theme (on the order of a "special issue").

Consider submitting some of your work. In any case, do visit for helpful information about journal people, policies, submissions, sponsorship, and history, as well as the OJS publishing process!

New web interface is live, with the 4S blog Backchannels!

The Interim 4S Web Committee has completed re-designing the interface for the 4S website! See below for a posting from the Committee about the new 4S blog Backchannels!

Stay tuned for the Society’s new member management system, which will go live before the next Technoscience. Among other features, it includes a member directory!

Please join me in thanking committee members:

Wen-Hua Kuo, National Yang-Ming U, Taiwan (chair)
Abby Kinchy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA
Daniel Breslau, Virginia Tech, USA (Interim 4S Web Content Editor)
Tania Pérez-Bustos, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia (Interim 4S Web Content Editor)
Ali Kenner, Drexel U, USA (Interim 4S Web Design Editor)
Jennifer Henderson, Virginia Tech, USA (Interim 4S Web Assistant Editor)
Steve Coffee (4S Webmaster)

Submit a proposal for the STS Making and Doing session in Denver!

The Denver call for submissions includes the call for the inaugural STS Making and Doing session/fair!!

The session/fair will take place on Thursday afternoon during the meeting, roughly 13:00-18:00. That day will feature an extended afternoon coffee break to encourage you to look, learn, and share.

Among those who have already indicated they’re submitting proposals are:
Geof Bowker, UC Irvine, USA
Kim Fortun, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA
Christopher Kelty, UCLA, USA
Andrew Lakoff, U Southern California, USA
Selma Šabanović, Indiana U, USA
Wes Shrum, Louisiana State U, USA

Consider submitting a proposal! The concourse level at the hotel has space for up to 50 presenters. Making and Doing presenters may also present in a regular paper session!

The STS Making and Doing program concludes with up to three awards presented at the prize plenary on Friday.

From the call:
“STS projects to be considered include but are not limited to the following categories:

  • Policy: STS projects that resulted in policy papers, recommendations, regulations, devices, decision-making practices, or other policy outcomes. Policy arenas include medicine and health, development, infrastructures, and communication in addition to those explicitly oriented to science and technology.
  • Design and Planning: STS projects that resulted in the design and creation of effective products, graphics, spaces, and landscapes. The outcomes can be large or small in scale, and can be digital in content. Projects can be organized around different design themes, .e.g. participatory design, sustainable design, etc. The presentation should show explanation of design process and how various actors are involved in the process.
  • Arts: STS projects that resulted in effective artistic creations, including those in audio-visual format or in public installations, exhibits, and performances. The presentation should be accompanied by a narrative that links the project to STS scholarship.
  • Pedagogy: STS projects that resulted in effective practices for education and training. The project can aim at different levels and forms of education and training, for instance university courses, high school classes, or special training programs. The presentation should indicate how the project increases awareness and understanding of STS scholarship.
  • STS infrastructures: STS projects that resulted in effective informational or material infrastructures for the construction, operation, and travel of STS as field or discipline. Such might include the building of degree programs, modes of print and electronic publication, professional organizations, summer schools, institutes, scholarly collectives, and the 4S annual meeting itself. The presentation should move beyond promotion to include reflective analysis.
  • Open Category: Any project that reflects the objectives of STS Making and Doing, including civic engagement, social activism, public debate and festivals, etc.”

Nominees for Council?: deadline March 1

Council as a whole selects nominees for new members. Claire Waterton chairs the committee.

Please suggest here potential candidates, including yourself. To aid Council in its deliberations, include a brief description of each candidate's qualifications.

Term and responsibilities: “Council members serve a three-year term beginning immediately after the annual 4S meeting. Three members are elected annually from a slate of 5-7 candidates. Council members are expected to be available for two meetings annually – one at the annual meeting and the other during a two-day spring meeting. Council members also initiate and participate in regular 4S business throughout the year. Regular business includes considering and formulating policy, providing feedback to the President on matters of concern, discussing and formulating new initiatives, and other business as necessary. Council members also serve on one prize committee each year and additional committees as requested by the President. The workload is not onerous, but does require a 3-year commitment.”

Nominees for 2015 4S Mentoring Award?: deadline April 1

The 4S Mentoring Award committee has established April 1 as the deadline for our inaugural award, to be presented at the Denver meeting. Complete guidelines at the 4S website. Key features:

“The nomination packet must not exceed five pages in length (12pt font). It must include (1) a statement or letter of nomination, detailing the candidate’s distinguished contributions as a mentor, and (2) supporting documentation. Supporting documentation provides evidence of the candidate's or group of candidates’ distinguished contributions to mentoring in Science and Technology Studies. Supporting documentation may include up to three letters of support from mentees, knowledgeable colleagues, supervisors, etc. Other forms of documentation are also acceptable, as appropriate.

The 4S Mentoring Award implements an expansive conception of mentoring, recognizing the wide range of ways that effective mentors share scholarly insights, practices, and support across generations and domains of practice. It recognizes mentoring through pedagogy, assistance in professional development, support of work-life relationships, and other appropriate practices.

The Award Committee considers two criteria in assessing candidates: (1) scholarly excellence in mentoring, and (2) scope of mentoring accomplishments. Some possible dimensions of scope are (a) temporal, i.e., spanning a long period of time; (b) spatial, i.e., spanning significant geographical distances; (c) organizational, i.e., spanning different institutions, types of institutions, or levels of scholarly service within an organization; and (d) representational, i.e., expanding the diversity of STS scholars and scholarship. Other dimensions of scope may be appropriate.”

Send nominations to Sharon Traweek (UCLA, USA; co-chair).

Other members of the 2015 committee include:
Kim Fortun, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA
Leandro Rodriguez-Medina, Universidad de las Americas Puebla, Mexico
Kaushik Sunder Rajan, U Chicago, USA (co-chair)
Sally Wyatt. Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences, The Netherlands

Nominees for 6S representative: deadline April 30

If Council approves proposed changes to the 6S charter, the 4S election this year will include candidates for 6S.

Since Council is meeting in late March, I am setting a deadline of April 30 for the submission of nominees.

Please submit names and brief justification to Bryn Whiteley, 6S representative, Virginia Tech.

Schedule of announcements for prize/award winners

Beginning in March, I’ll be announcing 2015 prize and award winners in Technoscience according to the following schedule:

March: Nicholas C. Mullins Award; David Edge Prize
April: Rachel Carson Prize; Ludwig Fleck Prize
May: John Desmond Bernal Prize
August: 4S Mentoring Award (inaugural)

Each announcement will include an award presentation from the selection committee and an acceptance statement from the winner.

In-person presentations will take place during the first hour of the prize plenary in Denver. The inaugural Bernal lecture will follow.

Future meetings—propose to host 2017!

EASST and 4S are now seeking to locate the 2016 meeting in Barcelona. I hope to be able to share details next month.

Lucy Suchman (President-Elect, Lancaster U, UK) and Claire Waterton (Council member 2013-2016, Lancaster U, UK) request informal expressions of interest in hosting the 2017 meeting. Two possibilities are 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.

More next month on Denver!

Gary Downey