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Society for Social Studies of Science

Minutes of the 4S Council and Committee Meetings 2013

San Diego

October 2013

4S Council

Present: Pinch, Shrum, Ito, Kuo, Amir, Lagesen, Medina, Zehr, Downey, Moore, Miller, Kinchy, Smith-Doerr, Waterton, Bijker, Hackett, Varma, Layne

Trevor Pinch called the meeting to order at 3:00pm, welcomed the Council to San Diego and introduced the guests.

Copenhagen Minutes meeting were approved as published on the web.

San Diego Program. The preliminary San Diego meeting report was given by Roli Varma. Final registration figures will not be known for a few days, but this is the largest stand-alone 4S meeting. Approximately 1200 attendees. 5% rejection rate. 217 dropouts. This dropout problem has always been present and there is no clear solution, but there were two suggestions:
(1) $25 charge for submission of abstracts (Secretarial note: this has been tried twice before but is difficult to implement.)
(2) Make emails visible to all, immediately, so that organizers and presenters can more easily communicate. Roli suggested and all agreed to ask for feedback from membership on this meeting. Gary Downey will conduct a survey.

A new feature of the San Diego meeting was the shift from a Call for Papers to a Call for Submissions that includes audiovisual presentations. Movies have tacitly been accepted since at least 2004 at the Paris 4S/EASST meeting, but their explicit incorporation in the 4S program was introduced for San Diego in special film sessions. This year there were over two dozen films submitted. These will be presented in three film sessions and also incorporated in regular sessions. It is anticipated that stand-alone STS films (that is, films that do not require special introduction or discussion) will receive some consideration in the selection process for the new Ethnografilm festival (see below).

Matthew Harsh’s report on the mentoring program was given by Trevor Pinch. In its eighth year now, the processes have been stream-lined, the program has matured, and mentoring is viewed as a stable and important part of the annual meeting. Former mentees (former graduate students) who are now postdocs and assistant professors are now participating as mentors. The size of the program in San Diego is slightly smaller than in Copenhagen but is the second largest ever. The size of the mentoring program normally corresponds to the size of the meeting itself.

Pinch also presented the report on publisher’s exhibits by Wenda Bauchspies. Three publishers have tables; 55 books were donated for the silent auction; six advertisements were taken for the conference program.

Travel grants: Kaushik and Paige discussed the program, funded by the National Science Foundation annually for $10,000 and the African/Asian program, funded by a donation by Yuko Fujigaki after the Tokyo meeting, for $5000. In general, the process ran smoothly this year. There did seem to be a number of students who were unaware of the application deadline. In the future, to ensure this information reaches as many students as possible, the application deadline will be advertised on the STSGrad listserv and the Technoscience newsletter, in addition to the 4S website.
• Travel grant applications received: 62
• Travel grants offered: 30
• Travel grants awarded (NSF): 26 @ $10,245
• Travel grants awarded (Africa/Asia fund): 4 @ $5000


The ST&HV report was given by Ed Hackett. The impact factor is going up. Teaching compilations and podcasts by authors were discussed.

Kelly Moore discussed a variety of ideas for digital publications, including:
(1) repository of previously published material
(2) new journal (financial implications; prospect of grants from Sloan Foundation)

The digital subcommittee of the publications committee was asked to take planning for a journal and other possible digital publications forward with a report at the next council meeting. One prominent issue concerned the journal's format, with the possibility of tiered content and functions ranging from something small such as a repository to a full-peer-reviewed journal. An electronic journal would offer the opportunity to publish multi-media material, and it was reported that the editors of ST&HV and 3S affirmed that sufficient quality content is available for a new journal. Some expressed concerns about being “locked in” if we started small, and the possibility that starting small would make it hard to attract audiences later. Other topics included possible sources of financial support, such as foundations, and the merits of university funding. Other topics included possible sources of financial support, such as foundations, and the merits of university funding. Council authorized the publications committee to begin developing a call for a prospective editor. Council approved development of an electronic journal. It also approved a one-year sum of $10,000 and annual sum of $28,000 for its development.

[Note: while deliberation at the Council meeting focused on an electronic journal with tiered content, subsequent discussion shifted the thinking to an electronic journal alongside other possible digital publications. Such remains a continuing point of discussion and deliberation, and will be a primary agenda item at the March 2014 Council meeting in San Francisco.]

Handbook: Clark Miller (lead editor) and Steve Zehr (Handbook Committee Chair) discussed progress on the new Handbook of STS, which has received 94 chapter proposals. The Handbook committee recommended addressing and clarifying the implication of temporality across the five sections; further elaboration and clarity added to each section (especially the distinction between sections 4 and 5); development of further examples for each section; inclusion of STS work in Africa, Asia, and Latin America; and inclusion of criteria for prioritizing chapter proposals. These recommendations were communicated to the editors who are meeting several times in San Diego and holding a session for the membership for suggestions. There also was a discussion of the publication process and price. Chapters will be narrowed from 94 to 30 within one month. December 2014 is set for final chapters with publication date estimated to be 2016.

Book Prizes. This year 163 presses worldwide were contacted, with 42 books nominated by email, approximately 100 books received by committee members from 44 different presses. Committees will deliberate tonight after the plenary and announcements will be made at the Presidential Prize Plenary.

Student Activities. Gary Downey gave the report on student activities for the new student representatives, Jess Bier and Samuel Tettner. The 6S charter has been rewritten, setting up a succession system with 2 year terms. Online videoconferencing has been planned but not yet implemented.

Future Meetings: Kenji Ito gave the report on future meetings, which have already been set for 2014 (Argentina, a joint meeting with ESOCITE) and 2015 (Denver). A European site is needed for 2016. (Claire Waterton will liaise with EASST on this matter since she has recently been on the EASST council.) Most of the discussion was focused on Buenos Aires, since that meeting will occur in less than ten months. Leandro Medina and Pablo Kreimer are Co-Chairs of the Program, which will be designed jointed by 4S and ESOCITE.

Sulfikar Amir requested 4S endorsement for the International Conference on Global STS. Gary Downey, the incoming President, will write a letter of support.

Election results

Welcome Abby Kinchy, Claire Waterton, and Sulfikar Amir are new Council members beginning their term. Thanks to outgoing council members Linda Layne, Stephen Zehr, and Laurel Smith-Doerr.

New Initiatives

Ed Hackett discussed the progress of the NSF Data Sharing workshop (already approved last year).
Vivian Lagesen discussed two proposals received.
Leandro Medina discussed a proposed collaboration with the International Studies Association (ISA).
Owing to the significance of the changes proposed by the Governance committee, it was determined to suspend consideration of these proposals at this time.

Treasury and Membership

The membership report was given by Shrum, who summarized the general trend in membership since he became Secretary in 1987. His analysis showed that the membership of 4S has grown only slightly in the past 10 years when one accounts for fluctuations produced by joint meetings. At the time of the San Diego meeting, membership stands at 1514, with 928 professional members and 537 students (the remainder are in non-OECD or retired categories). The “Secretarial History and Analysis from 1987-2013” will be available to the Council after the San Diego meeting.

The treasury report was given by Associate Treasurer Paige Miller. Following the payments for the Copenhagen meeting, the accounts were relatively low (similar to Tokyo in 2010) but are predicted to increase as a result of the San Diego meeting.

Shrum reported on the progress of the Ethnografilm festival in Paris. As reported last year in Copenhagen, Trevor Pinch indicated the need for judging the level of interest from 4S members in the Ethnografilm festival co-founded by Wes Shrum and Greg Scott. This festival is in collaboration with the International Social Science Council. It will be held in Paris next April. Submissions opened in May on and will remain open until December 31st.

Paige Miller reported on the follow up to the 4S initiative in 2005 during the “World Summit on the Information Society” in Tunisia. At this time 4S was principal organizer of the main science and engineering side event: “Past, Present and Future of Research in the Information Society” under Presidents Wiebe Bijker and Leigh Star. Miller attended meetings for several years on the WSIS process in Geneva. However, it was her recommendation that 4S not go forward with a similar initiative for the final WSIS multilateral event. She argued that while the 2014 event represented an opportunity for 4S to further a global initiative, logistical challenges (related to the uncertain date and continual delay in locating WSIS), the organization of a venue for a side meeting in eight months, and the recent decision to hold the final meeting at the same time as another 4S event made this an unrealistic goal.

Governance Committee.

Wiebe Bijker reported on the recommendations of the committee, which were adopted by council, with details of implementation to be determined by incoming President Downey (Secretarial note: the following approved recommendations were reported in the Business meeting.)
The review of 4S governance was completed by past 4S Presidents Bijker, Sheila Jasanoff, Michael Lynch, and Judy Wajcman. They recommended no change in the 4S charter, because all considerations could be accomplished under the original charter.
First, the Secretary/Treasurer position will be split into two.
Second, a new Statement of Purpose (mission statement) will be formulated next year under incoming President Downey.
Third, a new non-voting staff (meetings planner) position will be created.
Fourth, the meetings planner should be a “non-professional” position (that is, a member of 4S).
Fifth, the Secretary and Treasurer will receive $3000 yearly for their expenses.
Sixth, more Council meetings (e.g., a spring meeting, or extension of the 4S annual meeting) shall be held to encourage greater council involvement in the governance of the society.
Seventh, prize committee may be enlarged to incorporate other members besides council.
The meeting was adjourned at 6pm.

Publications Committee Report

Publications Committee (Kelly Moore (Chair), Leandro Rodríguez Medina)
January 31 2014.

This report describes the discussion and action items at the Publications Committee 4S Council Meeting, October 10, 2013, and a report of the meeting between the editors of the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies and members of 4S on October 12, 2013.

Publications Committee, 4S Council Meeting

1. Report of the Editor of Science, Technology and Human Values: Ed Hackett, Editor and Katie Vann, Managing Editor (see attached Report to the Publications Committee)

Discussion followed the presentation of the report.
a. Special Issues and Review Essays. STHV continues to solicit special issues; the Editor noted that many of these issues draw attention to issues related to disenfranchised groups. There was praise from Council members for this arrangement, and for the effort to balance special issues with regular publications. Similarly, STHV now solicits review essays, which are peer-reviewed. Again, there was enthusiasm for this new publication form.
b. Submissions: There was discussion of the pre-review system used by the Editors to quickly reject papers that they deem inappropriate for STHV. This method results in a high rejection rate. Council Members discussed the merits of this system and found it to be appropriate and valuable in handling the number of submissions, and ensuring that reviewers were not unduly burdened by papers inappropriate for STHV.
c. Publication Committee members praised the increase in the STHV impact factor, and its move up on the rankings of comparable journals. Moore and Clark Miller queried whether the citations to journal articles were up or down; the Editors reported that they were up.
d. The review criteria have changed this year. There was general agreement on the new review criteria, and in general, for the quality of the reviews.
e. The Editors propose to merge the categories of Contributing Editors and Editorial Advisory Board into one category. This would enable to the journal to include more people in the review process and make use of the many forms of expertise available across the two categories. The Publications Committee and Council found this to be an acceptable practice.
f. The Publications Committee discussed the Editors’ decision not to send rejected papers to Sage Open Access, for an author fee of $99 with a 10% STHV royalty. No decision was made on this issue.
g. Sage has requested that STHV carry out podcasts with authors of particular articles. The Publications Committee and Council were not enthusiastic about this, since it was not clear what value the podcasts would have. No formal action was taken on this matter but there was enthusiasm for the idea.
h. Sage would like STHV to organize journal material for teaching, by submitting to Sage 5 topic areas, and roughly five articles/topic, with an introduction to each topic. Kelly Moore expressed enthusiasm for getting the articles to the classroom, but was concerned about the labor and coordination that this would entail, given that the work would be carried out in conjunction with specific editorial board members. No formal action was taken on this matter.
i. There was discussion of whether and how to make STHV a free-standing journal, such that 4S would own the content. No motions or other action was taken on this matter.

2. Report of the Digital Publications Subcommittee (Katie Vann, Laurel Smith-Doerr and Margy Avery)(see attached Report)
a. At the 2012 meeting, the subcommittee was formed and charged with exploring digital publication options for 4S, including the possibility of a digital journal.
b. There was discussion of the relative costs and labor inputs of three digital platforms that might support a digital journal.
c. A wide-ranging discussion about possible forms of digital publication that 4S might undertake, ranging from blogs, to the use of social media, to a repository, to a journal. The merits of each of these approaches, and their possible relationships to each other, were discussed. There was agreement, as at the 2012 meeting, that two social studies of science journals were too little to capture the volume of 4S scholarship, and that the current forms of these journals were not well-suited to capture the diversification of forms of communication (visual, map, audio, etc.). Most of those present were enthusiastic about getting a modest digital format started fairly quickly, and then working on something larger, although there were concerns expressed about whether path-dependency would lock 4S into forms that were not appropriate building blocks for larger initiatives, and that without a journal, web traffic might be limited. There was also discussion of the value of models such as the Stanford Philosopher’s Index.
d. Abby Kinchy reported that Cultural Anthropology has become a highly successful digital publication. She agreed to contact the current editors of CA, and to write a report for the Publications Committee that describes the CA platform, costs, and work structure.
e. With respect to funding a digital initiative such as a journal, there was discussion of seeking foundation funding (e.g., Sloan, Mellon), and the value and limits of having short-term university funding for a journal.
f. Other key issues discussed were the merits of open access, and the value of indexing.
g. The Digital Publications Subcommittee (to be assigned) was charged with investigating next steps for digital publication and dissemination, including making recommendations on media forms, budgets, and interfaces with existing publications and forms of communication including Technoscience.

3. Report of the Handbook Subcommittee, Stephen Zehr (Chair), Linda Layne, Trevor Pinch, and Judy Wajcman). (see attached). See also Report of the Editors of the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies (Clark Miller, Laurel-Smith Doerr, Ulrike Felt, Rayvon Fouche) to the Handbook Subcommittee (attached).

Stephen Zehr reported that the Handbook publication schedule was proceeding on schedule, and that the Editors had received 95 proposal submissions as of September 15, 2013. Other issues that were in the report, including the way that the Table of Contents is being developed, and the need to include authors from diverse geographic areas, were briefly discussed.

4. During the 4S 2013 conference, the Editors of the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies will hold an open session to hear the concerns and suggestions of 4S members. That Report is attached.

Handbook of Science & Technology Studies, 4th edition.
Report to 4S: October 11, 2013
Clark A. Miller, Laurel Smith-Doerr, Ulrike Felt, Rayvon Fouche, eds.

Current status and activities, 4S 2013: The call for proposals for the 4th edition of the Handbook of Science & Technology Studies was completed September 15, 2013, and generated 94 chapter proposals from 251 authors, representing a broad diversity of countries and research domains within the field. The editors met at length on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, to review these proposals and begin to assess their quality and appropriateness for inclusion in the handbook. Based on this assessment, the editors provided a report, later that day, to the 4S Publication Committee, chaired by Kelly Moore. On Thursday, the editors hosted a roundtable session for members of 4S to discuss the handbook. The editors presented their plans and expectations regarding the handbook, the form and structure of chapters, and the process for completing the project. Input was solicited regarding what 4S members would like to see in the handbook, the audiences for which it should be designed, and what makes for useful and usable handbook chapters. Approximately 30 members attended and provided extensive and valuable input. Later on Thursday, the editors met for dinner with the editors of the two previous handbooks, also receiving extensive, valuable input about how to successfully manage the handbook process. Finally, the editors met on Friday with the 4S Handbook Committee, chaired by Steve Zehr. Together, the editors and the committee constructed a plausible timeline for the book, including especially key dates for the submission and committee review of a draft table of contents in mid-December 2013. Miller also met with Margy Avery from MIT Press to confirm their continued interest in the book and discuss the handbook process.
Timeline: The current timeline for the book anticipates publication in time for the 2016 4S meeting. This is a tight but plausible timetable that would entail publication approximately 8 year subsequent to the 3rd edition. Approximate interim dates:
• Dec. 2013 – editors meet to establish and submit draft TOC, which is then reviewed and approved by 4S Handbook Committee
• Jan. 2014 – editors negotiate with authors and finalize TOC, submit proposal to press
• Apr. 2014 – authors submit draft chapter outlines, reviewed by editors; editors negotiate contract with press
• Aug./Sept. 2014 – authors submit draft chapters, reviewed by editors
• Dec. 2014 – authors submit final chapters, submitted for external review
• Feb. 2015 – external reviewers provide final reviews
• Apr. 2015 – authors submit final chapters
• May 2015 – manuscript submitted to publisher
• Aug. 2016 – handbook published for 4S meeting in Europe