4S is a non-profit association under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and is incorporated in the state of Virginia. 4S is governed by an elected President and Council, according our Bylaws. Until 2017, three Council members were elected annually, constituting a nine-person Council. Beginning in 2018, four Council members have been elected annually, leading to a 12-person Council, Beginning in 2022, a Secretary and Treasurer were elected on a cycle, maintaining a 12-person council (plus 6S members, President and President-Elect). Elected representatives of the Student Section of 4S (6S) also join the Council (2nd and 3rd year representatives as voting members). The 4S Council Elections Committee, with the President, selects a final election slate from nominations by the membership and runs annual elections. Council members and 6S representatives serve three year terms, while the President serves a two year term after a one year term as President-Elect. All Past Presidents are non-voting members of Council.

Roles of the 4S President, Council, and Officers

The President of 4S  serves a two-year term after a one-year term as President-Elect.  All past Presidents serve as non-voting members of Council. With assistance from the Society’s Secretary, Treasurer, Managing Director, and Council, the President ensures that regular activities of the Society are planned and in good order, while also leading efforts to improve the Society’s operations  and envision future directions. The President establishes committees to plan the Society’s annual conference, to oversee the Society website and publishing program, and to run elections, for example. The President also establishes ad hoc committees to report on emerging issues of concern and possibilities for new programming. With the President-Elect, the President serves on the Future Meetings Committee, helping identify and contract for future meeting venues. The President serves as an ex-officio member of all Society committees, is a voting member of Council, and represents 4S in dealings with other organizations. The President organizes and presides over Council meetings and the open business meeting at the annual conference. The President also organizes a Presidential Plenary or delivers a Presidential Address at each annual meeting and communicates monthly with 4S members through a President’s message in Technoscience.

4S Council members are elected by the membership in annual elections, serving  a three-year term beginning immediately after the annual 4S meeting in the year they are elected. Four members are elected annually from a slate of 6-8 candidates. Council members are expected to participate in approximately four meetings annually, with one face-to-face meeting at the annual meeting (generally on the day before the conference starts). Other meetings are virtual. Throughout the year, Council members serve on prize committees, standing committees and ad hoc committees, overseeing the core activities of the Society (its publishing program and website, for example). Standing and ad hoc committees produce reports that are discussed by Council and with 4S membership. Council members help sustain the regular activities of the Society and help envision new activities and directions.

Elected representatives of the Student Section of the Society for Social Studies of Science (6S)  serve  a three-year term beginning immediately after the annual 4S meeting in the year they are elected.  One representative is elected annually from a slate of 3 candidates.  Working together, (three) 6S representatives are responsible for maintaining open communication with graduate students and junior scholars in 4S, representing their interests and concerns to the 4S Council. Second and Third year representatives are voting members of Council. 6S representatives are expected to participate in approximately four Council meetings a year, with one face-to-face meeting at the annual meeting. Other meetings are virtual. 6S representatives also serve on prize committees (as voting members), standing committees (that oversee the Society’s website, for example, or maintain the Society’s social media presence), and on ad hoc committees charged to address problems, emerging issues and opportunities for new programming.