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Society for Social Studies of Science

Minutes of the Council and Business Meeting, 2004

Paris , Ecole des Mines. August 25 th 2004

 

Present: Bruno Latour, W Shrum, Gary Downey, Arie Rip, Wenda Bauchspies, Yuko Fujigaki, David Conz, Alondra Nelson, Wiebe Bijker, Steve Hilgartner, Sergio Sismondo, Anne Jorun Berg, Ulrike Felt, Helen Verran, Jane Summerton, Joe Dumit. Madeleine Akrich, Michel Callon.

Bruno Latour called the meeting to order at 3pm in the Vendome Room.

Minutes of the 2003 Atlanta meeting were approved as published on the 4S web site last year.

Wesley Shrum announced the untimely passing of Paul Baltes, 4S meeting planner since the Tucson meeting in 1997. 4S will continue to work with the Engineering Professional Development group at the University of Arizona, and Kelly Sutton.

Publications Committee

Gary Downey gave the report of the Committee, which summarized reports by ST&HV editor Ulrike Felt and Technoscience editor Steve Breyman, as well as discussions in the Publications Committee on the future of 4S presence on the web.

ST&HV

Overall the journal is flourishing and ST&HV has one of the highest ISI Impact Factors of all journals in the history, philosophy, and social studies of science. The primary innovation during the past year is that a manuscript submission system is now up and running. Authors can submit manuscripts electronically and check on their status: the url is ST&HV.org. The Society thanked Ulrike Felt and Katja Mayer for their excellent work on this, and Martina Erlemann and Michael Strassnig for their outstanding editorial work. When the 4S membership database goes online, an additional field will be added for ‘areas of interest’ to assist editors of ST&HV in finding reviewers. We may also be able to use the system to solicit volunteers to review papers.

The Publication Committee recommended that the Society and the publisher (Sage) publications implement a change in the cover of ST&HV. Council wishes to give Uli Felt broad latitude in selecting among the various proposed designs, with the Publications Committee to make the final decision.

The backlog problem remains significant. (a) SAGE agreed last year to increase the size per volume by 32 pages, or 8 pages per issue, but this is not sufficient. One possibility is to publish a fifth issue in 2006, but the costs are not yet clear. (b) SAGE is now experimenting with a “publishing before print” server for some of its medical titles. However, working out the logistics of making these available to libraries in a form they can use is complicated and will take significant time. Offering pre-print electronic publications is not a near-term solution for the journal. The idea of putting book reviews online remains an open question.

After discussing the issue, the Council determined that owing to the backlog in journal articles, the number of pages needs to increase even if there is a (small) increase in the cost to the Society. The Chair of Publications and the Secretary should enter into negotiations with Sage to increase the number of pages per volume by 80, yielding an additional 20 pages per issue (approximately one article).

The editorial team has developed an excellent record-keeping system that facilitates detailed statistics on all aspects of the manuscript review and publication process. Manuscript submissions remain high, and are expected to approach 80 this year. This compares to 73 in 2000, 83 in 2001, 59 in 2002, and 77 in 2003. Since the 2003 4S meeting, the journal has received 70 submissions. Of these, 6 have been accepted (including those with revisions), 4 were rejected before review and 7 after review, 5 are being revised for resubmission, 17 are under review, 9 are pending for decision, 4 are pending for a decision to reject before review, 15 are pending to be sent to reviewers, and 3 are awaiting completion of the submission.. The acceptance rate has decreased from 52.1% in 2000 and 44.6% in 2001 to 36.8% in 2002. This is due to a more rigorous review procedure. However, the explicit rejection rate has also decreased, leading to an increase in revise and resubmits, even when reviewers are critical. The editor may revise procedures to alert reviewers of the need for clear decisions.

Issues 1-3 have been published from Volume 29 and 4 is in publication. These include 11 articles, 11 special issue articles, 2 book reviews, and 1 other. Sole authors include 6 women and 6 men. Co-authorships are roughly balanced, with slightly more women than men. The purpose of reducing book reviews was to diminish the backlog of accepted papers.Volume 30 will offer one special issue. Another special issue is under revision. Four other special issues are under consideration. The ratio of female to male authorship from 1994 through 2003 (rounded) = 26/74, 59/41, 28/72, 36/64. 61/39, 29/71, 35/65, 28/72, 31/69, 41/59, 56/44. The international distribution of submissions (Oct 03-Jul 04) = UK 13, US 11, Canada 8, Netherlands 5, Australia 4, Norway 4, Sweden 4, France 2, Singapore 2, South Africa 2, Belgium 1, Denmark 1, Greece 1, Japan 1, Kenya 1, Spain 1, Taiwan 1. We note the absence of submissions from the German-speaking countries and relative dearth of new submissions from Franco-Roman countries. The US figure of 11 is a decrease from 30 the previous year. The number of submissions from Scandinavia and Benelux countries has increased significantly. Since 1994, 65% of the published articles are sole-authored, 20% with 2 authors, 9% with 3 authors, and 6% with more than three authors. Co-authorship is clearly increasing.

The editor suggested new names for the Contributing Editorial Board, which were accepted by the Publications Committee and Council.

TECHNOSCIENCE

Steve Breyman served as interim Editor of Technoscience, with assistance from managing editors Lane DeNicola and Hector Postigo. Development of the website has altered the position of the newsletter. It is time for the Committee and Council to rethink its mission. The editors have all graciously offered to continue as this process takes place and are entirely open about all possible outcomes. Unfortunately, none were able to attend the Paris meeting.

The primary challenge was to manage the difficult transition from paper newsletter (having returned to a paper version a short time ago) to fully integrate the newsletter with the 4S website while serving the function of timely notification of events and positions. The aim is to move as much of the Society’s outreach and communications activities as feasible to the 4S website, and to other digital formats, in order to expand the scope and improve the timeliness of member services. The new Contribute system set up by Wes Shrum and Steve Coffee to manage the 4S website is at this point working very smoothly—the editors of Technoscience, as well as the Student section of the web site, all use Contribute to upload and modify various sections of the site.

Though Technoscience returned to printed format and distribution via postal services, the goal is to produce a successful email newsletter with back issues archived on the 4S website. Now there is a “hybrid” format with ready accessibility, but the economic costs of traditional production and dissemination are substantial. Three issues of Technoscience (21, 25, and 19 pages) were produced since the meeting in Atlanta: Fall 2003 (vol 17, #3) (mailed out early October 2003); Spring 2004 (vol 18, #1) (mailed out mid-January 2004); Summer 2004 (vol 19, #2) (mailed out end of May 2004). There was an attempt with the last issue to solicit additional content from 4S members, but this was relatively unsuccessful and produced results mainly within RPI.

The website categories of Announcements, Events, Calls for Papers and Proposals, and Positions consolidate information from the newsletter categories of 4S Announcements, Calls for Papers, Job Opportunities, Fellowships & Postdocs, Grants & Awards, and Conferences, Lectures, and Workshops. All of the Spring 2004 issue fell into these categories. The Fall 2003 issue also included New Publications; Web Projects, Links & Discussion Groups; and the short form of the 2003 Atlanta program. This year’s program committee made the 2004 Paris program available on the web. The Summer 2004 issue included information from sections of the website, including Announcements, Events, Calls for Papers and Proposals, and Positions.

(NOTE: The following sites are typically scanned for information on events, positions, and publications. The council and Contributing Editors of 4S solicit information on other helpful sites:

cultstud-l@mailman.acomp.usf.edu

air-l-request@aoir.org

H-SCI-MED-TECH@H-NET.MSU.EDU

H-AMSTDY@H-NET.MSU.EDU

STS-COMMUNITY-L@lists.rpi.edu

STS-GRAD-L@lists.rpi.edu

STSGRAD-L@cornell.edu

LISTSCI-L@duke.edu

EUROGRAD-L@lists.utwente.nl

 

WWW.4SONLINE.ORG

The website fulfills the time-sensitive functions of the newsletter through Announcements, Events, Calls for Papers and Proposals, and Positions. The website integrated the student section page, giving it the same look and feel. This is a good idea, especially given that students constitute roughly a third of the membership. The student webmaster, David Conz, receives no stipend

The website is receiving 3,000 visits per month, resulting in 9,000 page views per month. Origins of visitors include 23% unknown, 16% network, 16% US commercial, 11% US educational, 4% Netherlands, 4% Japan, 4% UK, 3% Germany, 3% Canada, 1% Italy, and 13% Other. In July, the site was found by search engines 500 times. Over 180 people have submitted contact info through the website.

For the past year, webmaster Steve Coffee and W Shrum have worked on a plan to move membership functions to the website. The main membership functions include online enrollment with credit card payments and email confirmation, automatic renewal reminders, and online hosting of the database with significant search and reporting capabilities.

Council Decisions regarding newsletter, membership, and web site:

(1) Council charged the Secretary with implementing the transition to a fully web-based membership system within one year. A Members Only section of the web page will include access to the Membership directory.

(2) Council approves the elimination of the Technoscience newsletter and, as soon as feasible, the implementation of a monthly broadcast email with headlines and links to the full announcements.

(3) The Publications Committee is charged with the oversight of web publications and will be enlarged. One matter to be considered by the next Publications Committee is the enrichment of the Members Only site. The Publication and Web Society would like to ensure that the prize award and acceptance speeches, Author-Meets-Critics sessions, and Presidential Plenary sessions be published. Also to be examined are thesis and dissertation abstracts, (b) lists of recently-published STS books, (c) a scaled-up book review effort, (d) tables of contents from STS journals, (e) short articles contributed by members. Publications committee will formulate a plan, together with the new Contributing Editors, for the enhancement of context.

(4) Council determined to use current newsletter funds to support three students.

The title of each will be “Contributing Editor, 4S Web Publications.” The three individuals will work together and share information, though they need not be located at the same institution.

Each will have a salary of $3000 annually.

The Chair of the Publications Committee has oversight of the work of these three Contributing Editors.

The Publications Committee will solicit nominations from the 4S student section and the Council.

Two of these will be responsible for managing information on the main page of the site. The third will be responsible for managing information on the Student site, who will be appointed by the Student section

Each of the three general categories for information (Events, Papers & Proposals, Positions).

Handbook Committee

Michel Callon gave the report of the new Handbook committee. The Handbook volume will be the third in a line that began with Science, Technology, and Society: A Cross-Disciplinary Perspective (Ina Spiegel-Rosing and Derek de Solla Price, eds., Sage: 1977) and continued with The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies (Sheila Jasanoff, Gerald Markle, James Petersen, and Trevor Pinch, eds., Sage: 1995). The field has changed considerably since the latter volume was published, so the principal rationale for a new handbook is to review new research developments and analyze the most important theories, methods, and findings. Editors are Ed Hackett, Olga Amsterdamska, Mike Lynch, Judy Wajcman. The current plan is to produce a volume of about 40 chapters (900 pages, almost identical to the 1995 Handbook) to be published in 2007. Michel Callon explained the division of labor between the editorial team, the advisory board, and the 4S Council.

In Fall 2003 the editors issued a call for chapter proposals addressed to the STS research community. The call was distributed by mail to the entire membership of the Society, posted on relevant bulletin boards, and listed in society newsletters. It set forth the aims of the New Handbook and outlined its organization into sections concerned with (1) theory and methods; (2) relationships between STS and other fields; (3) engagement with the public sphere; and (4) enduring themes and new directions. In response to the call we received more than 80 chapter proposals. The editors are in the process of determining the authorship and chapter structure, but have reached agreement with authors for 33 of the projected 40 Handbook chapters, choosing about 20 from the 80 chapters proposed in response to the Call and inviting several more to address specific needs. Authors have agreed to produce drafts by 15 March 2005. A copy of the draft table of contents was sent to MIT Press. Comments on the chapter structure and authorship should be sent to the editors or advisory board by November 15.

The Society notes that there is very little direct competition because of the distinctive nature of the book. There are two “encyclopedia-like” edited volumes in the works (one edited by Carl Mitcham to be published by Macmillan Reference, the other by Sal Restivo to be published by Oxford University Press), but they contain a larger number of much shorter items. Readers such as Mario Biagioli’s The Science Studies Reader, and Donald MacKenzie and Judy Wajcman’s The Social Shaping of Technology are more narrowly focused collections of previously published articles and book excerpts that will not compete with the new Handbook. The 1995 Handbook sold 1400 in hardcover and 700 in paperback (published in 2001). We hope to do better than this with better marketing, a lower price, and simultaneous paperback publication. MIT Press’s impressive list of publications in STS and cognate fields will enhance the Handbook’s visibility and market. Electronic publication options are also likely to be very attractive to encourage classroom adoption of specific chapters (which might raise interest in the entire volume).

Prize & Student Committees

Alondra Nelson reported on the National Science Foundation travel awards for this year. $9300 was distributed, which represents 26 awards. There were 51 applications.

In 2002, the Council decided not to distinguish applications by quality. That effectively made acceptance for presentation the key criterion. The majority of applicants met this condition. However, in 2004, because the number of award applicants far exceeded the 4S’s ability to fund them, an additional criterion was used; applicants whose papers whose paper were accepted and who were also participating in additional activities at the meeting (attending the Council meeting, session organizer, etc.) received first priority. Responsibility for travel grants was shared with the EASST, with the 4S accepting applications from graduate students in from the Americas , Australia and Asia, and the EASST considering applicants from all other regions.

NSF awards $7,500. 4S Council voted in 2002 to increase the total by 20% to take account of awardees who do not file paperwork. This logic was followed in 2004 as well; grants were awarded in the amount of $9300

The policy of distributing awards among all applicants whose abstracts were accepted continues to work well. It is difficult to properly ascertain the quality of an applicant’s scholarship based on a paper abstract alone. I would also recommend that the second criterion of additional conference participation be employed when the qualified travel grant applicant pool exceeds the funds the 4S receives from the NSF.

Prize Committees

The Rachel Carson Prize committee at the Atlanta meeting selected Jean Langford as the winner. Her award will be presented at the banquet Friday by Jane Summerton. This year’s Paris prize committee is chaired by Gary Downey. They will select the winner from their short list after the council meeting. Rachel Carson Prize

The Ludwik Fleck Prize committee at the Atlanta meeting selected Annemarie Mol as the winner. Her award will be presented at the banquet Friday by Steve Epstein. This year’s Paris prize committee for the Fleck will select the winner from their short list after the council meeting.

The winner of the Bernal Prize for 2004 is Sheila Jasanoff. Her award will be presented by Rob Hagendijk at the banquet.

The winner of the Nicholas Mullins Award selected at the Atlanta meeting was Jennifer Fishman. Her award will be presented at the Paris banquet by Yuko Fujigaki .

Student Affairs

David Conz reported on the transition of the student web page to the 4S site, with a fully integrated look. Contribute software is used to manage the page. Students have organized one session as well as a Business meeting at the Paris meeting. There was student concern this year about the cost of the meeting in Paris. A decision was taken to include a student representative on the enhanced Publication/Web committee.

Program and Local Arrangements Committees

Madeleine Akrich delivered the report for this year’s meeting, now in progress. The number of participants will be about 1200, of which 42% are English speaking and 58% are non-English speaking. Western European participants comprise 2/3 of the participants, while US participants are 22%. Together these are about 90% of the total. Within Europe most participants come from the UK (203), with about 100 each from France and the Netherlands. About 28 persons are here from Eastern Europe. Nearly 50 persons are from Asia (about 88% of these are from Japan). About 350 papers were submitted as individual papers, about 5% of which were rejected. Most of the papers were submitted as part of pre-arranged sessions. Only four sessions were ‘novel’ in the sense originally encouraged by the Paris organizers. It remains a matter of policy that the rejection rate be low, because people need to be on the program to get funding for the meeting.

Council thanked the Local Arrangements committee for their outstanding work, and particularly Dr. Akrich.

Future Meetings Committee

Wenda Bauchspies presented the report of the committee. At the 2003 4S Meeting Hawaii was suggested and affirmed for 4S's 2005 meeting place. However, after checking prices of hotels and meeting spaces 4S Council agreed that having two expensive 4S meetings back to back was not in the society's or community's best interest. Council agreed it was better to have a location within the continental US for 2005. The hope is to reschedule Hawaii for a year that does not follow another expensive location. Claremont, California had been suggested previously because of the growing STS community at the Claremont Colleges. Marianne deLaet agreed to provide local arrangements for this meeting and a hotel in Pasadena, California has been selected.

The Future as it stands now:

2005 -- Pasadena, California, USA

2006 -- Vancouver, BC Canada 2-5 Nov (co-located with HSS and PSA)

2007 – undetermined: Mexico City, Mexico / or Hawaii or ??

2008 -- Europe with EASST

2009 – undertermined: Eastern North America / Mexico City or ??

2010 – undetermined: Hawaii, USA / ??

Nominations Committee

Report by the Chair, Wenda Bauchspies. The winners are Joseph Dumit, Roli Varma, and Sergio Sismondo. They will serve as members of 4S council from 2005 through 2007 (3 year term). Leigh Star has been elected as President for the 2006-2007 term.

The council would like to thank outgoing members Ulrike Felt, Stephen Hilgartner, and Jane Summerton.

Presidential Committee on Ethics and Public Policy

W Shrum reported on potential 4S involvement in the ‘satellite’ science event for phase two of the World Summit on the Information Society, to take place in November 2005 in Tunisia. The program design is now underway. The web site is http:/worldsci.net.

Treasurer’s Report

The Treasurer summarized basic categories of revenue and expenditure for 4S. The financial health of the society is very good at present. Year end (2003) and interim financial reports were distributed to the Council in May. Council has determined that financial figures will not be printed in Minutes or on the web owing to their sensitivity.

New Business

Bruno Latour discussed the massive size of the Paris meeting and the need to develop new forms of presentation or reduce the number of papers. The ‘European’ cycle was discussed—European meetings are always larger than US-based meetings. The cycle of joint meetings with other societies was also discussed. Next year’s Pasadena meeting will be the first 4S-only meeting for some time. Poster sessions were again discussed; ‘speed dating’ sessions are being tried this year.

Council discussed the document provided by Jen Croissant for the Child Care committee. Child care was organized this year ( Paris) by the Local Arrangements committee but only one inquiry was received. The experience of other meetings organizers was discussed, and the level of demand has been very low. The suggestion by Jen Croissant was accepted: registration materials should include a query about whether child care is desired so that an appropriate level of energy is invested. Thus, part of the charge to local arrangements is formal attention to child-care arrangements at the meetings. However, this does not mandate the full provision of child care at 4S expense. At minimum, a list of locally-registered child-care providers should be available as part of pre-conference registration information.

Where possible, as part of the meeting space considerations, an accessible, unsupervised space should be made available for as a meeting and resting place for parents, near to the 'public' spaces of the meeting, such as the exhibits, preparation room, or refreshment spaces. We note that while several associations do provide child-care arrangements as part of meeting services (AAA, ASA), those meetings generally have between 4,000 and 5,000 registrants, far in excess of current 4S meetings. At present, the

costs of standing, on-site child care prohibitively expensive. Even at this level of attendance the base rate is $5-8 per hour to parents, donations from members, and sponsorship from the association.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 6:05PM.