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Society for Social Studies of Science

4S News

President’s message #8

07/14/2014

4S election—deadline June 24!


We are fortunate to have strong candidates for President (Yuko Fujigaki, Lucy Suchman) and Council (Daniel Breslau, Sungook Hong, Shobita Parthasarathy, Tania Pérez-Bustos, Jody Roberts)!  You should have received by now a link to vote.  If not, please alert our webmaster, Steve Coffee (webmaster@4sonline.org).


For the first time, Council as a whole served as the nominations committee.  Council members followed a rigorous process for ranking candidates from those nominated by the membership. 


Both candidates for President are women STS scholars. I note this because some members have expressed concern in the past about the Nominations committee running men against men and women against women for President (with one exception). Council did not start with this outcome in mind.  Indeed, some members expressed hope the candidates would include a woman scholar and a man scholar. The process was a good one, as is the outcome.


Council is proud to put forward two exceptionally strong candidates for President and five for Council.  Please exercise the franchise and vote by June 24!


Submit proposed 4S resolutions and requests for 4S reports!


After soliciting comments from the membership, Council formally approved new Guidelines for Resolutions and Reports!  


Many thanks to the hard-working Committee on Resolutions and Reports: Vivian Lagesen (chair, NTNU, Norway), Wen-Hua Kuo (National Yang-Ming U, Taiwan), Wes Shrum (Louisiana State U, USA), and Steve Zehr (ex officio, 4S Secretary).


The Committee now invites members to submit proposed resolutions, as well as requests to Council to establish ad hoc report committees. The Guidelines appear below and will be posted on the 4S website.


Guidelines for 4S Resolutions and Reports


4S resolutions and reports seek to articulate research-based STS analysis with scholarly activities that draw on that analysis to critically inflect arenas beyond the field.  Both are designed to help STS scale up as a field by addressing issues of concern to external audiences.  They also increase the value and prestige that STS scholars attribute to practices of critical participation in their sites of engagement.  Resolutions and reports endorsed by the 4S council will be published at the 4S website, either in its open-access journal or as a separate digital publication. For a resolution or report to warrant publication by 4S, it must be performing an STS analysis with appropriate evidence. It must not, in particular, rely uncritically on dominant images of science and technology.


Procedure for 4S resolutions



  1. Resolutions may be proposed by members or initiated by Council.

  2. Resolutions must be authored by a minimum of three members.

  3. Draft resolutions must include a descriptive title, names of authors, text of formal motion to Council, text of resolution, and substantial background justification.  As one possible model, refer to the 4S resolution, "U.S. Visa Policies and Scholarly Work," at the 4S website.

  4. Draft resolutions must be sent to the 4S Committee on Resolutions and Reports for initial review. The 4S Committee may elect to request revisions from the authors before seeking comments from the membership.

  5. The 4S Committee collects and reviews confidential comments from 4S members through Technoscience.

  6. The 4S Committee, at its discretion, may ask appropriate 4S experts to review and comment upon the resolution.

  7. The 4S committee passes the resolution to Council, sharing all received comments, and explaining its assessments of them. 

  8. Council engages in electronic discussion and electronic voting.

  9. Approval of resolutions is by two-thirds vote of voting members, typically including nine Council members and the President.   


Procedure for 4S reports



  1. 4S reports must be authorized by Council through an ad hoc committee appointed by the President at the request of a majority of Council members.

  2. Reports must be authored by a minimum of three members.

  3. The ad hoc committee sends a draft report to the 4S Committee on Resolutions and Reports for initial review.  The 4S Committee may elect to request revisions from the authors before seeking comments from the membership.

  4. The 4S Committee collects and reviews confidential comments from 4S members through Technoscience Update

  5. The 4S Committee, at its discretion, may ask appropriate 4S experts to review and comment upon the report.

  6. The 4S committee passes the report to Council, sharing all received comments, and explaining its assessments of them. 

  7. Council engages in electronic discussion and electronic voting.

  8. Approval of Statements is by two-thirds vote of voting members, typically including nine Council members and the President.


Threat to U.S. NSF funding for social and behavioral sciences


At my request, Steve Zehr (4S Secretary), who serves as our liaison officer, has researched the terms of the proposal FIRST Act before the U.S. Congress. If passed the act would sharply limit funding for the social and behavioral sciences and add a frightening new layer of Congressional oversight.  Steve’s Congressman is one of the sponsors. 


Please join me in thanking Steve for a detailed message drawing from on-the-record interactions with a knowledgeable source in the House of Representative. 


For U.S.-based members, please consider contacting your representatives on this issue.  You can find contact information at the Consortium for Social Science Associations.


Steve is organizing a proposed formal 4S resolution using the new guidelines.


Additional initiatives ongoing


Ad hoc committees to establish the STS Making and Doing format for annual 4S meetings, as well as awards for STS mentoring and for building STS are nearing completion.  I will include links to their proposals in future messages after Council approves them for comments from the membership.


Katie Vann (Managing Editor, ST&HV and open-access journal) is working hard on a manuscript management system for our planned open-access journal.


Ali Kenner (Drexel U) is overseeing a comprehensive review of the 4S website in anticipation of adding the open access journal and other digital publications.


Come to Buenos Aires August 20-23 for the joint ESOCITE/4S congreso/meeting! 

Registration fees go up again on July 1.   


(And bring your books to display and donate to the silent auction--to support student travel. If you are bringing books to donate, please notify the 4S Prize and Exhibits Coordinator, Wenda Bauchspies, Exhibits-prizes@4Sonline.org.)


Gary Downey

President