4S Council Meeting, 9 October 2018

via Zoom

Kim Fortun, Hsin-Hsing Chen, Stephen Zehr, Noortje Marres, Wes Shrum, Katie Ulrich, Joan Fujumura, Lesley Green, Maria Belen Albornoz, Roopali Phadke, Katie Ulrich, Ana Viseu, Teun Zuiderent-Jerak, Noela Invernizzi, Anita Say Chan, Steven Jackson, Paige Miller

Kim Fortun called the meeting to order at 9:05 am US EST.

The August Council Meeting minutes were approved.

Notes on scheduling: Fortun indicated that we’ll have Council meetings in January, April, and July before the face-to-face meeting in New Orleans.

Sydney meeting:  Fortun indicated that she has received positive feedback on Sydney.

4S as Connector: Fortun indicated that the sessions which brought together editors from various scholarly societies was positive.  Further discussion on institutional membership and connections among scholarly organizations were discussed.  Fortun offered guidance on creating institutional memberships to departments and providing free memberships for first and second year graduate students in other societies.  The intent is to increase membership in the society and encourage long term commitment to the society.  There was discussion on what types of departments would be covered under this membership.  Steven Jackson moved that 4S provide no cost institutional (regional STS organizations, memberships.  Teun seconded.  The motion was approved contingent upon the development of a review process for approval of membership.  A motion was made to provide free membership for one year for graduate students who are members of an organization that hold institutional memberships.  The motion passed.

Complaints Process for 4S Procedures: Fortun discussed the development of a complaints process whereby a committee consisting of the 3rd year student rep and ??  All complaints would remain anonymous.  There was discussion about what the process might look like – procedures, etc. and what types of complaints would be considered.  Discussion focused on narrowing the range of complaints specifically to 4S activities.  Guidance on the complaints process would necessarily be clarified.  A separate issue would be to make 4S available to provide mentoring and advice to individuals who have academically related complaints that lie outside of society activity.  This latter mechanism would need further development.  Council was generally favorable about development of a complaints process – first item.

6S Representatives: The issue is to make the 2nd and 3rd year 6S representatives voting representatives of Council.  This would also require a change in Charter.  Council generally agreed that this would be a good idea and that we should initiate the process of bringing about a Charter change.  A decision was made to include the two 6S representatives’ votes in the meantime, recording them separately.

Discussion of Backchannels: Fortun has recommissioned editors of Backchannels so that they’re not required to seek out new material but to continue its reporting functions of STS activity.  The desire is to make Backchannels more of a connector of STS activity.

Membership Campaign: Fortun indicated that we need to increase membership through the membership renewal process.  Fortun asked for ideas from Council about how to increase membership in the society, not for the revenue stream but to increase vitality in the society.  A question was posed about the connection between membership and the Future of 4S report.  The report suggests changing constituencies of interest and the question of membership must be considered in the context of what 4S has to offer.  Fortun emphasizes the importance of 4S as a connector and as an organization that provides the history of the field.

Publications’ Policies: Fortun has not yet identified a chair of the Publications Committee.  Fortun has been serving in the role as chair.  One issue has been to develop a process for handling potential future complaints in the journal editing process.  Editorial policy is the responsibility of Council.  One issue is the succession of journal editors.  Fortun indicated that we would be on schedule for succession of ESTS editor for the coming year, but there is also past practice of renewing journal editorship for a second term.  Teun suggests that we may wish to separate out the issues of the current ESTS editorship succession from the more general issue of working towards a practice of issuing open calls on a regular basis.  The Charter indicates that journal editorships are for a five-year term with the possibility for renewal.  There was wide discussion of the different issues involved in editor succession involving accreditation of journals (ESTS is currently working through this) and other factors.  It was decided that the Publications Committee would develop a proposal to bring back to Council.

Financial Transparency: Fortun indicates that 4S does less financial reporting than other societies.  There is concern that public reporting generates more opportunities for fraudulent activity.  Fortun feels that we can disclose more financial information than what is currently being disclosed.

Website Investment: The society will make around a $20,000 investment in the development of the website.  Steve Jackson will spearhead the search for web developers for redesigning the website.  Jackson will involve Steve Coffee in this discussion.

Scholarly Infrastructure for 4S and STS: Fortun reported on possibilities for development of repositories for 4S activity and history.  A question is whether we find one organization for the permanent archival of 4S activity.

Meeting was adjourned at 11:00 am US EST