4S Council Meeting, 16 October 2003

Atlanta, Georgia

Present: Wiebe Bijker, Gary Downey, Bruno Latour, Yuko Fujigaki, Wenda Bauchspies, Steve Epstein, Steve Hilgartner, Rob Doubleday, Uli Felt, Madeleine Akrich, Jane Summerton, Hugh Gusterson, Wesley Shrum, Ann Rudinow-Saetnan, Roland Bal, Anne Jorun-Berg, Jesse Saul, Judy Wajcman.

Wiebe Bijker called the meeting to order at 8am. He discussed the tragic events of the year, marked by the death of three former 4S Presidents, Robert K. Merton, Dorothy Nelkin, and David Edge, and several long-term members including Rob Kling. The former Presidents will be commemorated at a special ceremony at the banquet, after which membes will be invited to a small reception.

Minutes of the 2002 Council Meeting in Milwaukee were approved, as posted on the 4S web page after the meeting: http://www.lsu.edu/ssss . Council members were provided with a copy of various documents, including the interim Treasurer’s report, the 2002 year-end financial report , membership statistics for the past six years, Handbook guidelines and timeline, the Handbook Call for Proposals, the Call for Papers for the 4S/EASST conference in Paris, Paris organizational structure and provisional budget, the report of the Publications Committee, the Resolution on U.S. Visa Policies and Scholarly Work, the Resolution on a Standing Committee on Ethics and Public Affairs, the map of suggested future meetings, the Travel Grants report, and the Student Section report. These reports will be provided as needed to supplement the Minutes below.

Nominations Committee

Steve Hilgartner reported on the nominations for council and the election results for the 2004-2006 term. Elected to Council are Alondra Nelson, Anne Jorun-Berg, and Helen Verran. Bruno Latour will begin his term as President after the Atlanta meeting and will serve as 4S President from 2004 through the 2005 meeting.

All 4S members are reminded that it is possible to nominate 4S members both for Council and for President directly via the web page. These nominations are passed to the Nominations Committee for consideration on the slate of candidates.

Wiebe Bijker thanked outgoing members Steve Epstein, Sarah Franklin, and Hugh Gusterson for their services to 4S.

Program Committee

Roland Bal reported on program planning and local arrangements for the Atlanta meeting. At the present time 415 individuals are registered and 60 have yet to register. In terms of future planning, it is important to note that in the last month before the meeting 120 persons were unregistered and on the program. Relations with SHOT were discussed. In general the joint meeting has been quite positive, but the two societies have different traditions. This is important in preparing the times for the sessions, because SHOT does not allow as many papers as 4S and we must design in a maximum number of sessions during the days of the meeting. The session times do not therefore correspond to the times of the SHOT sessions. The program was published jointly, but because it was published early there is a large errata sheet. Registration fees for the two societies tend to be different, but we were able to agree on a registration fee in the range of $100.

In terms of program planning, Bal noted that program chairs should be allowed to add papers even to pre-arranged sessions. 4S policy continues as it has in the past: there are no ‘guaranteed’ streams of pre-arranged sessions. The streams are to be devoted to new and emergent research areas. Sessions on the program should not be the province of an ‘in-group’ of persons who know each other and come from the same institution. It should be noted that while it is not always possible, the program design should seek to avoid sessions on the same topic in parallel. Once again, the 4S policy is reiterated that there should be only one paper presentation per person.

Recent program chairs will continue to serve ex-officio on the program committees for future meetings in order to provide guidance and continuity to the committees.

Bal was commended for his excellent work in arranging the 2003 4S program.

Joint 4S/EAAST Paris Meeting in 2004

The next annual meeting will be held jointly with EASST. Madeleine Akrich reported on planning for the Paris meeting in August 2004. While the registration costs of a Paris meeting are somewhat high, hotel costs are much lower than people might expect. The program committee seeks new forms of content delivery in Paris. While standard types of papers will still be allowed, the pride of place will go to new presentational methodologies and innovative forms.

Publications Committee

Steve Epstein gave the report of the 4S Publications Committee.

Editor Ulrike Felt reported that submissions to STHV continue to rise. The publication lag from final acceptance to appearance in print can be greater than one year (meaning that the time from original submission to appearance in print can be as much as three years). Some submissions have been withdrawn as a result.

The committee decided to recommend to Council: (1) that Ulrike investigate with Sage the cost of increasing the size of the journal by about 20 pages per issue; and (2) that Ulrike and next year’s Publications committee (including the 4S President and Secretary) be empowered to decide, on the basis of that information, whether to proceed with the size increase.

The committee also approved Ulrike’s suggestion that she report back on the feasibility of placing electronic pre-prints of articles on the STHV website, once articles have reached their final state. Access would be password-protected and restricted to journal subscribers. An email alerting service would inform subscribers of the availability of pre-printed articles.

The committee also discussed the option of placing some book reviews online and not in the printed journal but did not reach a specific recommendation on that issue.

The committee thanked Ulrike for her report on the new web-based submission system (handling various aspects of the submission and reviewing process), which will go online in November.

The committee authorized Ulrike to propose a new slate of contributing editors for email review by next year’s Publications committee. The slate will then be submitted to the 4S President, ideally for rapid approval following email consultation with Council.

Technoscience issues. Technoscience is now reappearing in paper form fo r the time being.

Linda Layne is stepping down as Technoscience editor and Steve Breyman is taking over as Interim Editor. Steve Epstein reported that committee supported the editorial team’s plans to place time-sensitive information (jobs, events, conferences, and new publications) on the Technoscience website, rather than in the printed-and-mailed publication. The committee proposed that Technoscience establish an automatic email alerting service to inform those members who choose to provide their email addresses of the availability of new information on the website. However, the committee noted that the precise handling of these online postings will depend on decisions made by the incoming President and Council with regard to the consolidation of the various 4S websites and/or the creation of a 4S portal linking the sites.

The committee noted that it will be the responsibility of next year’s Publication committee to solicit formal proposals for the next term of service as editor. It was suggested that the deadline for receipt of proposals be set for May 2004.

Thanks went to Uli Felt, Editor of ST&HV and Linda Layne and her staff at RPI for Technoscience , which reappeared in hardcopy this year.

The number of web sites which include 4S related content has been expanded and the suggestion was made that these sites could be integrated, if it could be accomplished while maintain the decentralized format traditional in 4S. At present these include the main 4S site, Technoscience, the annual meeting site, ST&HV, and the student site. The integration of the sites will be examined with the assistance of a web designer before the end of the Atlanta meeting.

The new Handbook is now well underway, with an advisory committee in place chaired by Michel Callon, a timeline, and an editorial team. Jessie Saul has been appointed as secretary for duration of the Handbook process. She will facilitate communication between the advisory committee and editorial board. Judy Wajcman, one of the editors, reported that Sage has decided not to publish the next Handbook and is in the process of releasing all rights to the 4S. A search for a new publisher will begin. The Call for Chapters was sent in May and 81 proposals have been received. The editorial team will review the proposals during the Atlanta meeting in order to determine whether all relevant areas have been covered. It was hoped that in the future at least one member of the editorial board could attend the Council meeting.

Immigration Policy and Scholarly Work Committee An ad hoc committee on immigration policy was formed by President Bijker during the past year, particularly to examine issues pertaining to U.S. Visa policies. The committee of Gary Downey (chair), Hugh Gusterson, and Jane Summerton worked rapidly to produce an impressive Resolution adopted by the 4S. This resolution then played a role in the AAAS deliberations during the Denver AAAS meeting in February. The document was applauded by Council, particularly because it was based on a substantial amount of research into the issue.

This committee was the first example of the kind of work envisioned by the new Ethics and Public Policy committee, proposed last year after Rachelle Hollander’s report. The report was finalized and disseminated on the 4S web site. The proposal to form a standing committee on Ethics and Public Affairs was adopted.

A related issue was discussed: the potential involvement of 4S in mulilateral or international events such as the World Summit on the Information Society. The President and Secretary opened the discussion of what it would mean for 4S, perhaps throught the new mechanism of its Ethics and Public Affairs committee, to become involved in such events, along with such organizations as ICSU, TWAS, and WFEO. Council endorsed continued investigation and discussion of the possibility, through the first phase of the Summit in December, since there will be second phase in Tunis in 2005 to which 4S could contribute.

Future Meetings Committee

The report of the Future Meetings Committee was given by Wenda Bauchspies, who presented a map of suggested sites. After the next joint 4S/EASST meeting in Paris, it was suggested that such venues as Claremont (California), Texas, and Hawaii be examined. General considerations including the timing of meetings, geographic variation of sites over time, local costs, local academic context, and the identity of 4S in co-locating meetings. Since the last several meetings have been held jointly (Milwaukee, Atlanta, Paris), it was determined to make 2005 an exclusive 4S meeting in Hawaii. The meetings planner is instructed ot examine sites in Honolulu. 4S policy will continue as in the past: to foster relationships with other societies by having joint and co-located meetings (such as Vancouver, with HSS and PSA), but also to maintain the identity of the society through smaller, single-society meetings.

Student Affairs

Gary Downey reported on the annual administration of the travel grants program. The committee received 31 applications and made 30 awards (one application was funded by SHOT). 22 of these applications were from the US. The council hoped that there could be coordination between EASST and 4S on travel grants in 2004 in Paris, with EASST funding eastern European and developing country applications.

The student section report was given by Rob Doubleday, with Stefan Sperling as incoming representative. This year lunch sessions will be continued, with topics of interest such as career development and grant-getting. The student listserv continues to be active. The grad student book exchange project and proposed mentoring project was discussed. A student business meeting will be held this year in Atlanta. Thanks go to Rob Doubleday for his excellent work as representative during the past two years.

Prize Committees

The winner of the 2003 Bernal Prize for Distinguished Contributions to the Field is Helga Nowotny. She will give the main speech at the banquet in Atlanta. Winners of the Fleck , Carson, and Mullins Prizes will be announced at the banquet. The general procedure for the award of book and paper prizes is described on the web page. Nomination letters are sent to 125 publishers. The Chair of each committee may send letters to those whose books were on the short list (these books may be reconsidered so long as they are eligible), as well as informing the winner(s) and the publisher of the winning book(s). The book Prize Committee chairs should seek to hold Author-Meets-Critics session on the work of the winners. Composition of the committees are as follows: the Fleck Prize committee for next year consists of senior council members and the President, while the Carson Prize committee consists of council members in their second year of office, and the Mullins Prize commmittee is formed by the council members in their first year . Nominations for the award may be submitted by any member of the society to any member of council. Nominations may also be made by email from the 4S web site. Eligible books for the 2003 deliberations had publication dates from 2000 through 2002.

Secretary-Treasurer’s Report

Shrum reported on the status of the 4S treasury as of October 2003 and projections for 2004. Revenues continue to be high, based primarily on membership dues and income from the publication of ST&HV, as well as some revenue from the annual meeting. Primary expenditures are for 4S publications. The overall financial picture is very good. Regular membership in 4S provides ST&HV to all members for a reduced price relative to regular individual subscription prices established by Sage.

Current membership of 4S stands at 1,269, its highest level ever, up from Milwaukee (2002) at 1,119 and Cambridge (865).


Wiebe Bijker reported on the substantial amount of business that has been conducted via email this year. Council endorsed the proposal by Sheila Jasanoff to NSF for a series of workshops; a revived STS Consortium has been formed (4S participation endorsed) consisting of HSS, PSA, SHOT, and 4S. Bijker also reported on the results of a followup to the Dean’s Workshop on Curriculum Development in Cambridge. It was determined to go forward with a set of representative syllabi to be produced by Steve Zehr and posted on the 4S web site. The project was endorsed by council.

New Business

Gary Downey proposed the establishment of a listserv for 4S members and the addition of prizes to the current portfolio of awards. President Bijker asked President Elect Bruno Latour to take these issues up for consideration.

The meeting was adjourned by Wiebe Bijker at 10:30 AM.

Draft Minutes, Not Yet Approved by Council

Minutes of the Business Meeting

Oct 18, 2003


Wiebe Bijker called the meeting to order at 6:15 pm. There were 24 people present.

(See the Council Minutes above for reports to the meeting concerning specific committee business and deliberations. The minutes below report additions and deviations from basic reports provided at the general council meeting)

Atlanta meeting and Paris Meeting

There was a brief discussion of the Atlanta meeting now in progress and Roland Bal was thanked for his excellent work on the program. The 4S practice of accepting the vast majority of paper submissions was endorsed by those present. It was recommended that the selection process involve two stages, first for prearranged sessions, and then for papers. The recommendation will be examined by the Paris organizers. Bruno Latour and Madeleine Akrich discussed plans for the Paris meeting. A very large number of participants may be expected, given the location, but the Ecole des mines, where the sessions will be held, does not have space for more than 1000 at the limit. The program committee will give priority to innovative session ideas. The language of the meeting will be English, but some special presentations may be in French. It was noted that there is an unfortunate conflict of dates with a Euroscience meeting in Stockholm. There will be an attempt to find inexpensive accommodation for graduate students, but the overall cost of lodging in Paris in August is not terribly high. The question of child care during the meeting was raised. The 4S policy has not yet been established (through there is a ad hoc committee on the subject that has not yet submitted a report). At minimum, a list of certified child care provides should be given to participants at the meeting.

Uli Felt discussed plans for ST&HV online submission. A temporary policy of minimizing the number of book reviews has been instituted in order to clear the backlog of articles.

Technoscience, the newsletter, has again appeared in hardcopy form. There are plans to expand and revise the web site, integrating it within the main 4S web site. Linda Layne is stepping down as editor, and Steve Breyman will serve as Interim Editor, while the issue of the newsletter is considered.

The 4S web site will be redesigned with the help of a Virginia-based web designer, Steve Coffee. The resdesign will be accomplished within the next few months, but the various societal functions will be incorporated incrementally. The membership function will move to a web-based format next year.

A standing committee on Ethics and Public Affairs committee has been established, which will generally be chaired by a Past President of 4S.

The work of the Immigration and Scholarly Work, chaired by Gary Downey with members Jane Summerton and Hugh Gusterson, was noted with gratitude. The report of the committee was submitted to the AAAS and used by their working group. What was particularly evident in the committee’s report was the significant amount of research that had been incorporated.

President Bijker reported on the re-establishment of an STS Consortium of societies, including HSS, PSA, SHOT, and 4S. It was noted that while 4S will remain a core member of this consortium, a balancing act will be necessary since 4S is not a US society. One aspect of this internationalism that may be fruitful to pursue is involvement in multilateral events such as the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis.


The 2003 election results were reported by Steve Hilgartner, who chaired the committee on nominations. Elected to Council are Alondra Nelson, Anne Jorun-Berg, and Helen Verran. Bruno Latour will begin his term as President after the Atlanta meeting and will serve as 4S President from 2004 through the 2005 meeting.


Prizes for 2003 will be announced at the banquet immediately following the business meeting (see council minutes above).

For the Fleck and Carson Prizes, all 4S members are encouraged to nominate their own books or the books of others. Nominations may go to any member of the selection committees or to any member of council. Nominations may be made by email from the 4S web site. For the competition next year, eligible books have publication dates from 2001 through 2003. For the Bernal Prize, all 4S members are encouraged to nominate candidates whose work represents a distinguished career contribution.

Student Activities

Gary Downey reported on the 4S travel grant program funded by NSF and noted the new policy of awarding more grants than are funded by NSF funds, with the difference to be made up by 4S funds. Rob Doubleday noted that the development of the student web site, and introduced David Conz as the newly elected representative, along with Stefan Sperling.

New Business

The follow-up meeting to the Dean’s workshop (held in Cambridge in 2001) was discussed. That meeting resulted in a plan to provide a set of representative syllabi to be produced by Steve Zehr and posted on the 4S web site. The project is well underway and the first group of syllabi has already been posted. It was noted that Steve Cutcliffe of Lehigh University also publishes syllabi and it may be useful to coordinate this.

Secretary/Treasurer’s Report

Shrum reported on the financial health of the Society, which is excellent. The number of 4S members is at an all time high.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:05 pm.