STATUTES AND BYLAWS
HISTORY OF SCIENCE
- This Society is called the History of Science Society, Inc. The Society
is established to foster interest in the history of science and its social
and cultural relations, to provide a forum for discussion, and to promote
scholarly research in the history of science. The Society pursues these objectives
by the publication of its official journal Isis, by the support and
subvention of other forms of scholarly publication, by the organization of
annual meetings and other programs, by the award of medals and prizes for
outstanding contributions to the history of science, by the encouragement
and sponsorship of local and regional sections of the Society, by fostering
the career development of its members, and by cooperation with other learned
and scientific societies. The Society thus functions as an educational institution
in its chosen field by transmitting and disseminating knowledge and by aiding
in teaching and research.
- Persons of any nationality who are interested in the history of science
are eligible for membership in the Society. The payment of annual dues shall
constitute formal recognition of membership.
- Membership shall consist of five classes: (1) Member (individual or institutional);
(2) Student; (3) Retired; (4) Sustaining; (5) Family. Members are those who
pay the annual dues. Student members are graduate or undergraduate students
who pay the annual dues at the student rate. Retired members are those who
have retired from employment and opt to pay the annual dues at the reduced
rate set for this class. Sustaining members are those who from time to time
contribute major financial support for the furtherance of the Society's work.
Two individuals may jointly become family members by opting to pay together
the annual dues at the rate set for this class. Each shall receive all benefits
of membership, except as noted in Article 5.
- Membership privileges include voting in elections and at the Annual Business
Meeting, and nominating by petition, except that libraries and other institutions
are eligible for membership without vote or nomination privilege.
- A subscription to Isis, the official journal of Society, shall be included
in the dues or equivalent contribution of each member, though two individuals
who share a family membership shall receive only one subscription to Isis.
- If any member fails to pay dues within sixty days of the mailing out of
the bill, his or her membership privileges shall be suspended until reinstatement.
- The officers shall be a President, a Vice-President who is President-elect,
a Secretary, a Treasurer, and the Editor of the Society.
- There shall be a Council consisting of the officers, the immediate Past-president
of the Society (two-year term) and fifteen additional members elected from
and by the membership of the Society. The officers constitute the Executive
Committee of the Council.
- Terms: The Vice-President shall be elected by ballot for two calendar years
followed by two calendar years as President; in each year five members of
the Council shall be elected for three calendar years; in each year a Nominating
Committee for the following year shall be elected.
Ballots: The Nominating Committee, consisting of three members of the
Council and two other members of the Society, shall prepare a ballot to be
sent to each member of the Society at least two months before the annual meeting.
For the Vice-President, the ballot shall contain the names of two candidates
proposed by the Nominating Committee together with the names of any other
candidates nominated by petitions signed by at least twenty-five members of
the Society. For the Council, the ballot shall contain the names of ten candidates
proposed by the Nominating Committee together with the names of other candidates
nominated by petitions signed by at least fifteen members of the Society.
The President of the Society shall appoint the chair of the Nominating Committee
from among those elected to that Committee.
Nominating petitions, together with the agreement of the person nominated,
must reach the chair of the Nominating Committee within two months after publication
of the list of nominees. Each list of candidates on the ballot shall be arranged
in alphabetical order without further distinctions, and there shall be blank
spaces at the end of each list in which the voter may enter and vote for other
The ballots shall be received by the Secretary and valid ballots shall be
tallied by a committee consisting of the Secretary and at least one other
person, appointed by the Secretary.
In the event of a tie vote, the members of the Society present at the annual
business meeting shall choose by ballot between the nominees with the highest
number of votes.
- The Council is the responsible agent of the Society and has general charge
of the affairs of the Society. Vacancies in unexpired terms on the Council
shall be filled by those candidates who received the highest number of votes
after those elected to regular three-year terms in the immediately preceding
- The Council shall elect a Treasurer and Secretary, each for a two-year,
renewable term. In case of a vacancy in the office of President, the Vice-President
shall immediately become Acting President, and shall become President for
a regular two-year term at the next convenient date. In case of a vacancy
in the office of Vice-President, the office shall be filled by ballot for
the remainder of the regular two-year term, as soon as possible, in accordance
with the procedures of Article 9, Paragraph 2. In case of a vacancy in any
other office, the Council shall elect a member of the Society to complete
the unexpired portion of the term.
- The annual meeting of the Society, which shall include a business meeting,
shall ordinarily be held in the last quarter of each calendar year, the time
and place to be determined by the Committee on Meetings and Programs.
- Council shall meet at the time of the annual meeting of the Society. It
may meet at other times, at the President's discretion or upon request made
in writing to the Secretary by three or more members of the Council. A quorum
of the Council shall consist of seven members. Absent members may vote by
mail. The President of the Society may conduct a mail poll of Council members
on matters that require Council action before the next scheduled meeting.
Issues submitted to a mail poll shall be considered approved if supported
by the majority of the responses received by the President within thirty (30)
days of the mailing of the ballot.
- Council shall have power to approve the formation and dissolution of local
and regional sections of the Society.
- The officers shall perform the customary duties of their offices except
as otherwise stated. In the absence of the President and the Vice-President,
the Secretary shall preside at any meeting of the Council or the Society.
The Secretary and the Treasurer shall be responsible to the Council for administration
of their offices. All reports of officers and committees shall be acted upon
formally during the Council session at which they are presented, or at the
- The Executive Committee of the Council shall act ad interim on matters that
do not call for immediate submission to the Council, propose an annual budget
and other matters to the Council, and carry out policy established by the
Council. All such actions shall be reported to the Council at its next session.
A quorum of the Executive Committee shall consist of three members. The Executive
Committee shall serve as a committee on committees to assist the President
and the Council.
- The Council shall appoint the Society's delegates to the American Council
of Learned Societies, to the American Association for the Advancement of Science,
to the International Congresses of the History of Science, and to other organizations
- A Committee on Finances shall comprise the Treasurer (as chair) and at least
three other members of the Society, appointed by the Executive Committee for
two-year, renewable terms. It shall oversee the financial affairs of the Society
in consultation with the Executive Committee and shall review on an advisory
basis the budget proposal prepared by the Executive Committee prior to its
submission to the Council at its annual meeting. The Executive Committee shall
submit the proposed budget, together with the Treasurer's Annual Report, to
the members of the Council at least thirty (30) days before the annual meeting
of the Council. The financial accounts of the Society shall be audited by
a certified public accountant once a year. The Treasurer and Executive Director
shall be bonded.
- (a) A Committee on Publications shall consist of five members appointed
by the Executive Committee of the Council, to serve staggered terms of five
years. Each of these members shall serve as chair during his or her fifth
year. The Vice-President shall be an ex officio member of the Committee on
(b) The Committee on Publications shall prepare a recommendation to Council
for the appointment of the Editor of the Society. The Editor shall be elected
by Council for a five-year term, which may be extended for a period of one
to five years by mutual agreement of the Council and Editor.
- There shall be a Program Chair, appointed by the Executive Committee, for
each annual meeting of the Society. The Program Chair shall ordinarily be
an ex officio member of the Committee on Meetings and Programs. The Program
Chair shall make at least two nominations to the Executive Committee for nominees
to give the annual History of Science Society Distinguished Lecture.
- Amendments to these statutes must be proposed to members of Council at least
thirty days prior to any meeting of the Council by the Executive Committee
or by petitions signed by at least twenty-five members of the Society. At
this meeting the amendments shall be submitted to vote, a favorable vote of
three-fourths of those present, including all mail votes, being necessary
for approval by the Council. Amendments approved by the Council shall be submitted
to the members of the Society at the first business meeting of the Society
following the Council meeting. Ratification shall require a favorable vote
of three-fourths of the members present.
I.The Executive Committee
The Executive Committee shall meet at the Society's annual meeting and at
least once during the interval between annual meetings, in order to:
- approve an annual budget recommendation, which it shall submit subsequently
to the Committee on Finances for review and to the Council for final action
at the annual meeting of the Council;
- choose the Sarton medalist and the Sarton lecturer from nominations made
by the Committee on Honors and Prizes and members at large;
- choose the speaker for the History of Science Society Distinguished Lecture;
- receive reports from standing and other committees of the Society and draw
up appropriate recommendations pertaining thereto for consideration by the
- consider matters for long-range planning and policy for the Society; and
- take whatever interim actions it deems necessary in the interest of the
The Executive Committee may from time to time establish ad hoc committees--for
example on Membership, on Long-Range Planning--and may direct any of the standing
committees below to form subcommittees to deal ad hoc with particular concerns
falling within their general domain. The establishment of additional committees
or standing subcommittees or deletion of any of the named standing committees
or standing subcommittees requires the approval of the Council.
II. Standing Committees
Standing committees of the Society are responsible to the Council. The chair
of each of these committees is required to prepare a written Annual Report to
the Society. This report should be sent to the Secretary not later than thirty
(30) days before the Council meets, and submitted by the Secretary to the Council
not later than twenty-one (21) days before the Council meets. Additional interim
reports from committees may also be requested by the Executive Committee of
the Council. Each Committee may form its own subcommittees ad hoc as appropriate.
The list of standing committees is as follows.
- Committee on Education. This committee shall concern itself with
the role of the history of science in education at all levels, from elementary
school to graduate and postdoctoral training in the field; with textbooks
and other materials for teaching the subject; and with the public understanding
- Committee on Research and the Profession. This committee shall concern itself
with the state of the profession, including employment patterns and opportunities
with special attention given to issues of gender and diversity in the employment
practices of the profession; research support in the field; various forms
of support for independent scholars; relationships to neighboring disciplines
and professional societies; and the status of groups underrepresented in the
Society. Three standing subcommittees of this committee shall be the Committee
on Women, the Committee on Diversity, and the Committee on Independent Scholars.
Their chairs will be voting members of the Committee on Research and the Profession.
There shall also be a Washington Representative, who will be a voting member
of the Committee on Research and the Profession.
- Committee on Meetings and Programs. This committee shall establish, subject
to Council approval, general policies for the format, content, and location
of annual meetings of the Society and for other meetings at which the Society
may be represented. This committee will nominate from the Society membership
a Program Chair and a Local Arrangements Chair for approval by the Executive
Committee. The Program Chair will organize the program of the annual meeting
and the Local Arrangements Chair will organize local functions of the annual
meeting. Both chairs will coordinate their activities through the Executive
Office. The Program Chair and the Local Arrangements Chair may each constitute
a committee from the membership of the Society to assist in carrying out his
or her functions. The Program Chair and the Local Arrangements Chair, or one
member of a shared chairship, will become ex officio members of the Committee
on Meetings and Programs for three years: that in which the annual meeting
they are responsible for takes place, and both the preceding and the following
- Committee on Honors and Prizes. This committee shall send to the Executive
Committee each year at a time to be fixed by the Secretary three or more nominations
for the Sarton Medalist. The committee shall also advise the Secretary when
policy questions arise regarding the operation of the Standing Subcommittees
appointed to select winners of the various prizes established by the society.
From time to time the Committee on Honors and Prizes may also recommend to
the Executive Committee the honoring of a member of the Society for outstanding
service to the discipline in domains not covered by the regularly established
awards, prizes, and medals. Such service might include, but should not be
limited to the mentoring of young scholars, promotion of the discipline through
non-print media, unusual service as an editor, the establishment of an outstanding
museum, etc. Nominations for such honors may come to the Committee on Honors
and Prizes from any member or committee of the Society. The Standing Subcommittees
shall include those established to select winners of the Pfizer Prize, Watson
Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize, Schuman Prize, History of Women in Science
Prize, Derek Price Award, and such other regular prizes as may be established.
Each Standing Subcommittee of the Committee on Honors and Prizes shall have
one ex officio, non-voting member chosen by the Committee on Honors and Prizes
from among its current membership.
- The Committee on Publications is charged with overseeing all publications
of the Society and acts as an advisory body to the Executive Committee and
the Council. The Committee (a) reviews and makes recommendations on editorial
policy and on the appointments of the Editor of the Society and, in consultation
with the Society’s Editor, the Editor of the Current Bibliography; (b) approves
proposals for the editors of the Society’s occasional publications; (c) annually
consults with the Editor of the Society on the selection of members of editorial
boards and reviews all appointments to editorial boards; and (d) reviews publications
operations and budgets. The Committee meets at least once per year at the
time and venue of the Society’s annual meeting. When necessary, an additional
meeting is held in the spring at a venue determined by the Chair. Normally
the Committee’s business will be conducted at one of its convened meetings,
although matters may be dealt with in the interim through consultation by
mail, telephone, or e-mail at the discretion of the Chair. The Editor of Isis
is the Editor of the Society. The Editor of the Society will be responsible
for Osiris. He or she may appoint, in consultation with the Committee
on Publications and with Council approval, an Associate Editor responsible
for Osiris. The Editor of the Society (or the responsible Associate
Editor) may appoint (with the approval of the Osiris Editorial Board)
guest Editors for the individual Osiris volumes.
- Committee on Finances. This committee shall advise the treasurer of the
Society on all matters pertaining to the finances of the Society. It shall
review, on an advisory basis, the annual budget proposed by the Executive
Committee prior to the submission of the budget to the Council. The committee
shall concern itself with the management of the funds of the Society and with
means for the financial support of the Society.
- Nominating Committee. As described in Section III of the Statutes.
- When necessary, a Special Nominating Committee composed of the President
(as chair), Vice-President, and the members of the elected Nominating Committee
shall recommend one or more candidates for Secretary, to be elected by the
III. Membership on Committees
- The Committee on Education, the Committee on Research and the
Profession, the Committee on Meetings and Programs, and the Committee on Honors
and Prizes shall each consist of at least five members, including at least
one member of the council and at least two members from the Society at large.
Each member shall be appointed by the Executive Committee for a three year
term. Council members shall have staggered terms. Members of the Council will
normally be appointed to a committee when they are first elected to the Council
and will begin service on 1 January immediately following their election.
The chair for each committee shall be designated by the Executive Committee.
- If and when a member-at-large is elected to the Council while serving a
term on a committee, he or she may be appointed to a new three-year term,
or he or she may be reassigned to another committee and another member-at-large
appointed to fill out the unexpired term on that committee.
IV. Appointment to Committees
Members of the Standing Committees and their Standing Subcommittees shall
be appointed by the Executive Committee. Standing Committees are invited to
propose to the Executive Committee, for its consideration, the names of nominees
for appointment to the Standing Subcommittees.
V. Ad Hoc Committees
The Executive Committee may establish ad hoc committees from time to time
and may direct any of the above standing committees to form a subcommittee to
deal with a particular concern falling within its general domain. The establishment
of additional standing committees or deletion of any of the above standing committees
requires the approval of the Council.
- The Women’s Caucus of the History of Science Society is affiliated
with the Committee on Research and the Profession. Its primary focus is the
role and status of women in the profession. The Caucus also serves as a forum
for those interested in the history of women as well as the wider role of
gender in science, medicine, and technology. The co-chairs of the Caucus act
as a resource for the History of Science Society on questions pertinent to
the role and status of women in the profession and in the Society. The Caucus
reports to HSS Council on its activities as well as to the Committee on Research
and the Profession.
The annual business meeting of the Caucus is scheduled each year at the annual
meeting of the History of Science Society. Caucus meetings are open to all
members of the Society and the Caucus encourages the participation of all
society members concerned with issues appropriate to the Caucus. The business
of the Caucus is decided at the annual meeting by the members present and
voting. Throughout the year, the business of the Caucus is conducted by the
two co-chairs. Co-chairs serve two-year terms, with a new co-chair elected
at each annual business meeting by the members present and voting for a two-year
term to commence the following January.
The business of the Caucus includes, but is not limited to, conducting employment
and pre-employment surveys of the profession broadly defined; establishing
and maintaining communication networks among members of the Caucus and other
persons interested in the work of the Caucus (these may include a directory
of scholars and a WEB page, among other formats); organizing paper sessions
for the History of Science Society meetings and other pertinent professional
organizations as appropriate; and other relevant activities described and
voted for by the membership.
The Caucus raises no dues directly. Each year the co-chairs develop a budget
that is submitted to the History of Science Society for its approval and funding.
VII. Interest Groups
- Scholars with a common interest in a particular area of the history
of science, technology, or medicine may petition the Council for recognition
as an interest group. The petition shall include the name of the proposed
interest group, a statement of purpose, the particular area to be stimulated
and developed, bylaws or some other statement of organization (including provisions
for the selection of officers), and a statement of how formation of this interest
group will benefit the HSS and the profession.
- Interest groups will determine their own criteria for membership, which
need not be restricted to members of the History of Science Society.
- An interest group may assess dues for its own activities and may have the
entire management and control of said funds. Any other fund-raising activity
must be coordinated with the HSS Executive Committee and expenditures must
be audited annually.
- If requested by an interest group, the Society will provide at cost the
following services: collecting dues, maintaining membership lists, publishing
and distributing newsletters and other communications, and managing funds.
The Society may provide such other administrative services as authorized by
the Executive Committee or by special appropriations authorized by Council.
- Upon request to the Program Committee, provision shall be made for a business
meeting of each interest group at the Society's annual meeting.
- The existence of an interest group shall not be construed to restrict the
right of Society members as individuals to apply for the services that the
Society aims to provide its members, such as those listed in items (D) and
- The Council may withdraw recognition from an interest group for good and
VIII. Executive Director
The administrative functions of the society will be the responsibility of the
Executive Director. S/he will be appointed, with the approval of Council, to
a salaried position by the Society’s Executive Committee, which shall also be
responsible for evaluation, retention, and promotion of the Executive Director.
The Executive Director shall be an ex officio non-voting member of Council
and Executive Committee.
These bylaws will be in effect for three years from date of adoption by Council,
and will then be reviewed.
Changes adopted and approved by HSS Council (7Nov. 1996) and attendees
at HSS Business Meeting (10 Nov. 1996) in Atlanta, GA. Recorded by Keith R.
Benson, HSS Executive Secretary. Changes to bylaws adopted and approved by HSS
Council on 22 October 1998. Recorded by Keith R. Benson, HSS Executive Secretary.
Changes in statutory language regarding switch from Executive Secretary to Secretary
approved by HSS Council on 22 October 1998 and confirmed in HSS Business Meeting
7 November 1999. Recorded by Keith R. Benson, HSS Secretary.
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