4S Council Meeting, 25 August 2010

(Italicized remarks have been added where the Business meeting reports added further information or where member comments were introduced.)

Tokyo, Japan

Approval of minutes of the 2009 Crystal City meeting as published


The meeting was called to order by President Judy Wajcman at 3pm.

Present for all or part of the meetings: Judy Wajcman, Wesley Shrum, Paige Miller, Ender Rickart, Maria de la Puig, Catherine Waldby, Natasha Myers, Nina Wakeford, Smith-Doerr, Sarah McCollough, Miwao Matsumoto, Steve Zehr, Sergio Sismondo, Mike Lynch, Wiebe Bijker, Trevor Pinch.

Wajcman welcomed incoming council members and introduced all present.  A moment of silent was announced for Leigh Star’s recent passing.

The minutes of the 2009 Crystal City were approved as published on the web.

Travel grants.  Myers discussed the new format for the travel awards, with an online application form.  She emphasized that the travel awards were primarily for current graduate students rather than recent students.  45 awards were given, up to $500.  Next year the application form will include an estimate of airfares.  Full awards are not generally given.

Shrum announced that this is the second 4S meeting using the Montreal Model where the basic functions of the meeting are done by 4S members themselves.  This has been a gradual evolution, but it is the second time no meetings planners have been involved.  See the Top Secret Guide to 4S meetings for details.

Publications. Judy Wajcman presented the report from Daniel Kleinman on the publications committee.  Geof Bowker has agreed to continue his editorship of the journal until the end of the 2012 term.  A Special Issue has been planned on the work of Leigh Star.  The judgment was made to leave the number of article prizes at one (Edge Prize) rather than to institute a new prize for a best award for articles in ST&HV exclusively.

The format of Technoscience was discussed, whether to leave the entire entries or only a headline for each link.  However, there was no strong sentiment to change the current format, which most people feel is working very well.

The need to begin the process of selecting editors for the next Handbook was discussed.

Nominations Committee

The new council members are Steve Zehr, Laurel Smith-Doerr, and Paul Mbatia.

Prize Committees

Edge: Laurel Smith-Doerr discussed the Edge Prize process.  There were 28 papers submitted and the winner has been selected.

Bernal: Wajcman : Thomson-Scientific has declined to continue funding the Bernal Prize.

Fleck: Waldby mentioned that European presses were better represented than in previous years.

Carson: Wakeford discussed the ‘crossover’ books and the journalistic books that had been submitted.  Not all books were submitted to all committee members.  There was a discussion of the eligibility of books that are not published in English.  Publishers are free to submit them but it has not been a problem thus far.  Books that were originally in another language may be eligible once they are translated into English.  Electronic-only books have not yet been submitted.

Mullins: 45 papers were received from a wide range of places, including India and China.  The call was distributed widely and the committee was pleased with the selection of submissions.

Mentoring Program

Matt Harsh reported on the results of his survey of the Mentoring Program after last year’s meeting in Washington, DC.  The vast majority of those entering the program in 2009 did meet with their mentor as planned during the 4S meeting and many of these continued the conversation afterwards via email.

New Initiatives

Waldby reported on the new initiatives.  The first round of funding went to fund the bio-objects research network in Europe, which held a workshop in Graz.  The funding seems to have assisted this group win a prestigious grant from a European funding body that had previously funded only scientific projects.  This past year there was a regional development initiative and two groups were funded, included one from Latin America and one from the Asia Pacific.  The committee approached these groups and requested a plan that resulted in proposals that were eventually accepted.  The Latin American group will use the funding, in part, to organize a joint 4S/ESOCITE meeting, while the Asia Pacific group.  While two years of funding have been allocated for these activities, Council expressed an interest in continuing this initiative and was particularly interested in such regional foci.

Future Meetings

(President Wajcman remarked at the Business meeting that it is difficult to schedule 4S meetings without any conflicts, or proximity to other meetings, such as this year’s EASST meeting one week later.  We are constrained in our dates by the local organizers and the hotel availability.)

2011: Sismondo announced next year’s co-located meeting in Cleveland with HSS and SHOT.  Roli Varma will be the program chair.  It was proposed that a joint plenary session be arranged, if possible.  A common reception has been arranged.  Council was in favor of adding another combined event if possible.

2012: The discussions for the 2012 4S/EASST meeting resulted in a decision for Copenhagen with Maja Horst as the program chair.  The schedule of the local university will determine the precise dates of the 2012 meeting, 17-21 October.  The meeting rooms (up to 23) have been donated by the university and are equipped with AV.  The banquet will be hosted by the Copenhagen Business School.  Hotels begin at $80/night up to $200/night.  The Town Hall will host a reception on Thursday with subsidized food and beverages.  Public transportation is not inexpensive but is excellent.  Direct flights to Copenhagen are quite available.  Protocol for a green meeting will be followed.  Note that the SHOT conference will be held immediately before the 4S meeting.  Carlsberg is being approached as a conference sponsor.

2013: A contract for the 2013 meeting has been signed for the Town & Country Hotel in San Diego where 4S met in 1999.  The facilities have been expanded and are now significantly improved, with a very large number of meeting rooms available.

2014: It is anticipated that the Latin American group will submit a proposal for the 2014 meeting, probably in Buenos Aires.

Student Affairs

Ender Rickart reported on several activities organized by the student organizations, including a session on professional development, a workshop on international and interdisciplinary relationships, a panel on future colleagues and future directions with papers circulated in advance, and a business meeting with a catered lunch funded by the Chemical Heritage Foundation.

Program and Local Arrangements Committee

Fujigaki reported on the submissions to the conference: 589 individual papers and 112 sessions (a total of 1096 members who submitted papers).  41 countries are represented.  The rejection rate was less than 5%.  The organizers and the council were extremely gratified at the international character of the meeting.  The acquisition of visas was problematic for some, though the local organizers were able to assist most individuals.  Japanese sessions will be held on Sunday.  What is particularly noteworthy is the modest cost of the Tokyo meeting relative to what had been expected.

Public Affairs Committee

Council discussed the proposal to begin an Oil Spill Review Committee.  While the general idea of applying STS to current affairs was endorsed in principle, no consensus could be reached on the way forward and the matter was tabled.

Status of the Treasury & Membership Issues

At the time of the Tokyo meeting 4S memberships stands at 1287 (Professional=781  Student=425 Non-OECD=61 Retired=20).  The Interim Budget report was presented by the Treasurer and accepted by Council.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:00pm.