4S Council Meeting, 30 April 2019

In attendance: Kim Fortun, Wes Shrum, Hsin-Hsing Chen, Stephen Zehr, Katie Ulrich, Teun Zuiderent-Jerak, Steven Jackson, Roopali Phadke, María Belén Albornoz, Gloria Baigorrotegui, Paige Miller, Noela Invernizzi

Meeting called to order by Kim Fortun at 10:05 am U.S. Eastern Time

January Council Meeting Minutes:

Motion to approve by Steven Jackson, seconded by María Belén Albornoz.  Unanimously approved.

Future Meetings and Tasks:

Kim Fortun announced that the next Council meeting will be in July, followed by a full day Council meeting on Tuesday before the start of the New Orleans meeting.  Fortun reminded Council of policy changes that will need to be submitted to the 4S membership for approval.  These include giving 6S members voting privileges on Council.  Fortun also reminded prize committees that they need to make decisions very soon.

Updates on the New Orleans Conference:

Fortun indicated that open receptions will replace the banquet this year.  The intent is to draw in more graduate students and younger scholars into 4S social activities.  They are less likely to attend the banquet.

Several, somewhat related, issues were discussed.  Fortun announced that 4S received around 400 applications for a Student Travel Award.  A question facing the society is how to increase money available for travel grants.  Noella Invernizzi reported on the range of applicants cross-nationally, the quality of applications, and lack of funds to meet needs.  Invernizzi suggested that Council consider changing decision-making rules to spread the wealth.  This led to a more general discussion of the 4S budget and Council policy of maintaining a budgetary steady state.  Fortun recommended that we continue monitoring the budgeting process with an eye toward future expenses for meetings and related costs.  An example is providing WiFi access at meetings.  Wes Shrum reported that the estimates for generalized WiFi access at conferences are ridiculously high.  WiFi access is essential for conference participation at a distance.  How important is it to open the conference to this form of participation?  An additional issue is whether conference papers count as publications in the field.  Moving that way in the future would require indexing or archiving paper submissions.  Steve Jackson reminded Council that an extensive review process would be required, leading to the rejection of many papers which violates the history of openness at 4S.

Fortun asked for volunteers for the on-sight Ethics Committee at the conference.  Fortun will appoint an ad hoc committee for the New Orleans conference, but we might consider making it a standing committee in the future.

Fortun would like to invest money in archival efforts at the New Orleans meeting.  Albornoz suggested that we ask the graduate student volunteers to take photographs and develop other content from sessions.

Fortun asked for recommendations of individuals to serve on a mentoring panel.  The panel will focus on mentoring best practices.  Discussion ensued about panel content.  It was agreed that the bottom line for the panel is a discussion of elements or theory behind generating a positive mentoring environment.

Tuen Zuiderent-Jerak introduced an experimental proposal for remote participation of presenters in sessions at a reduced rate of $150.  It was decided to extend this possibility for participation to other panels but at the discretion of panel organizers.


Roopali Phadke reported on the election process.  Twelve nominations for Council have been received.  There seems to be good diversity in the nominations.  The next step is to gather background information regarding their past societal contributions.  The committee will then develop a short-list of individuals to run for Council.  The goal is to develop a ballet of about 8-9 candidates and open the election by the end of May.  Katie Ulrich reported that 6S is working on nominations.

4S Prizes:

Fortun asked committee members to make decisions soon.  The Edge Prize winner has been determined.  Regarding book prizes, Fortun opened discussion about limiting nominations to 4S members, rejecting press nominations, and limiting nominations to only one of the two prizes.  Another issue is to fine tune the language of the prizes to improve their precision.  A further recommendation was to limit the total number of book prizes that a person could receive to one.  Council discussed these issues.  Fortun recommended that we formalize new rules for consideration.  Roopali Phadke will work on and distribute new language for Council to consider.  Roopali Phadke motioned that nominations for books should be limited to society members in the past three years, for only one prize, and one person can only make one nomination per year.  Hsin-Hsing Chen seconded.  Steve Jackson amended the motion to include that nominations for the Edge Prize be limited to individuals who have been societal members within the past three years.  Teun Zuiderent-Jerak seconded the amendment.  The motion passed unanimously.

Web update:

Steve Jackson reported that the committee is working with the web designer.  A design will be shared with Council for consideration by the end of May.  Jackson reported that we’re still on schedule for a summer launch.

Publications Committee:

Fortun indicated that we need to encourage proposals for the editorship of ESTS.   Zuiderent-Jerak reported some expression of interest in the journal editorship and he has encouraged development of proposals.  A reminder will be sent out next week.  1 June is the target date for proposals.  Fortun also indicated that the society needs to be thinking about the full range of publishing options in the future.  Fortun would like Council to devote $5000 per year for an editor of Backchannels.  Fortune suggested that we would be shifting resources from Technoscience to Backchannels.  María Belén Albornoz made a motion to devote $5000 to the Coordinator of Backchannels.  Steven Jackson seconded.  The motion was unanimously approved.


Fortun asked people to think about the archiving history of 4S.  Another issue is for societies to help members comply with the data management requirements of funding organizations.


A proposal for further recurring expenses will be developed in the future.  Discussion ensued about obtaining outside expertise to advise the organization.  Fortun also recommended that the budget needs to be more transparent.  The question is how to do it.

Futuring 4S:

A survey was distributed about the future roles of 4S.  How will 4S serve the broader STS community over the next decade.  One opportunity is through the membership directory as a means for connecting people.  Discussion ensued about how to make this happen.

Fortun asked Council members to review the To do list on the Council meeting agenda.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 PM U.S. Eastern time.