4S Council Meeting, 19 October 2005

Pasadena, California

Present: Bruno Latour, Sal Restivo, Leigh Star, Gary Downey, Dave Conz, Jason Delborne, Wiebe Bijker, Joe Dumit, Sergio Sismondo, Ulrike Felt, Roli Varma, Michael Strassig, Alondra Nelson, Yuko Fujigaki, Wenda Bauchspies, Wesley Shrum

Bruno Latour called the meeting to order at 3pm.

Minutes of the 2004 Paris meeting were approved, as posted on the 4S web page. Council members were provided with a copy of various documents for review, including the interim Treasurer’s report, the year-end financial report, membership statistics for past years, and committee reports.

Wes Shrum discussed the transition to a web-based membership and publication platform, which was the main goal of the 4S during the past year. Long term membership fulfillment provider Academic Services was replaced by LocalVoice, a web-based service that now provides the primary membership interface for 4S. The redesign of the 4S web site now contains a membership link, and all memberships are now implemented through online credit card purchases with annual membership renewal reminders. Steve Coffee, the 4S webmaster (www.chaosabatement.com), has provided the technical backup for this service. The transition was somewhat difficult for much of the first three months, but the membership service now appears to be working more smoothly, with few if any complaints. The opt-out filter must still be fixed so that people are able to get their renewal notice. The other problem is that we are currently unable to tell directly from the statistics whether the member is ordinary or student. The membership has gone down slightly to 1020 from the Paris figure of 1200.

Publications Committee

Gary Downey gave the report of the 4S Publications Committee. Uli Felt and Michael Strassig discussed STHV (see 2005 Publisher’s Report & 2005 Editors Report). The most important goal of the year was completed—the increase in the number of pages for ST&HV.

Several policy questions were discussed in relation to the journal, including w hat to do with authors who submit too frequently? It was determined that on average the journal will not expect to publish sole-authored papers from one author more than once every two years. Another question was addressed: What to do with too many requests for special issues? The new editorial policy will be to limit special issues to a maximum of two per year.

Publications committee and council also examined the question of what to do with submissions that have previously been published online and adopted the draft Code of Conduct submitted by the Editor: author(s) must disclose the online publication. If published on a homepage, it is still eligible for publication. The author(s) must take down the paper during the review process itself. If published in a conference proceedings or in a working papers series, it must be substantially different to be eligible for publication. Finally, if published in an ejournal, it is not eligible for publication.

The cover issue has still not been resolved. Uli and Gary will continue to negotiate with SAGE regarding a new cover. Proposed changes include increasing size of the name (bolder font), reducing the size of the logo, increasing the size of special issue titles, and increasing the size of the version and date information.

On the question of book reviews, Uli has volunteered to host a scaled-up editorial process for book reviews. 4S will move book reviews entirely to electronic publication on the 4S site.

It is noted that the 30 th anniversary of ST&HV will occur soon and it will be desirable to commemorate that event in Vancouver. Uli will write a two page announcement for the homepage.

Bryan Pfaffenberger has volunteered to help expand available content at the 4Sonline.org website.

Council approves expanding the content at 4Sonline.org, including adding guides, book reviews, commentaries, and a discussion board under the leadership of the Chair of the Publications Committee. However, since the site has recently been redesigned, we will keep the look-and-feel of the site the same.

Dave Conz reported on the progress of student involvement on collecting material for Technoscience. This year Technoscience transitioned fully to a montly electronic newsletter. Three student editors were recommended to the Publications committee, forming an editorial team under the supervision of the Publications committee chair. Submissions are gleaned from the web and submitted directly to an email address on the 4S home page. The division of labor among the editors has worked smoothly, with little overlap among postings. Council members generally felt the electronic newsletter was working well.

The new Handbook is making good progress. A report will be made by Judy Wajcman at the business meeting.

Nominations Committee

Elected to Council for the 2006-2008 term are Martina Merz, Paul Wouters, and Maureen McNeill. Leigh Star will begin her term as President after the Pasadena meeting and will serve as 4S President through the 2007 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.

Program Committee

Marianne de Laet reported on program planning for the Pasadena meeting. At the present time more than 500 individuals are registered, organized into about 100 panels. Over half of these were pre-organized. One problem is that some sessions now have too few panelists because of 5-10% dropouts in the last 3 weeks. 4S policy is that

-program chairs are allowed to add papers even to pre-arranged sessions.

-there are no ‘guaranteed’ streams of pre-arranged sessions.

-streams are to be devoted to new and emergent research areas.

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

The webmaster is requested to liaise with Marianne regarding how the current conference site maintained by EPD may be better integrated into the 4S web site.

World Summit on the Information Society

As discussed in prior council & business meetings, 4S has taken the lead in organizing and providing startup funding for Past, Present, and Future of Research in the Information Society, the primary science and technology side event for the World Summit on the Information Society. The event will be held in Tunis, Tunisia on 13-15 November, 2005, immediately before the second phase of WSIS (16-18 November).

Future Meetings Committee

See Business Meeting Minutes.

Student Affairs

Roli Varma reported on the annual administration of the travel grants program. Travel grant monies were at an all time high this year. Matt Harsh will be the incoming student representative, replacing Dave Conz, whose term comes to an end after this meeting. Jason Delborne will now become senior student representative.

Prize Committees

Prize winners for 2005 will be announced at the annual banquet and posted on the web. 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 will inform the winner(s) and the publisher of the winning book(s). The book Prize Committee chairs should seek to hold AuthorMeetsCritics 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 2006 deliberations had publication dates from 2003 through 2005.

Treasurer’s Report

Shrum reported on the status of the 4S treasury as of October 2005 and projections for 2006. In spite of the drop in membership, the financial situation remains positive. Revenues are 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. Regular membership in 4S provides ST&HV to all members for a reduced price relative to regular individual subscription prices established by Sage. It is expected that the publication of the new Handbook will make up for the reduction in membership with the transition to a web-based interface.


A list of STS related movies is being added to the 4S web page as a scholarly resource.

New Business

The meeting was adjourned by Bruno Latour at 5:30 PM

Minutes of the Business Meeting

Oct 21, 2005

Bruno Latour called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm. There were 25 people present.

(Please 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)


Gary Downey reviewed the following points: ST&HV has received a 25% increase in pages from Sage without additional cost to members; the transtion to the web has been mostly successful, particularly the introduction of Technoscience as a monthly e-newsletter; new content is now under development. Judy Wajcman reported that the new Handbook of STS is on track for publication in 2007.

Pasadena meeting

Statistics for the meeting were given by Marianne de Laet, the program chair. 520 paid participants have now registered. There were 550 paper submissions, of which 510 were accepted. Concern was expressed about the poor turnout at the book exhibit, which is often a highlight of the meeting. Special efforts will be made to improve the exhibit in Vancouver.


Prizes will be announced at the banquet immediately following the business meeting. Note that 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 Bernal Prize, all 4S members are encouraged to nominate candidates whose work represents a distinguished career contribution.

Student Activities

The student association has proposed a new mentoring program and are charged with implementing this before the next 4S meeting.

Future Meetings

Wenda Bauchspies will serve as next year’s program chair for the Vancouver meeting in 2006. Following Vancouver, 4S expects to meet in Montreal (2007), with EASST in 2008, perhaps at a Latin American site in 2009, and in Japan in 2010.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:00 pm.