Constitution for a U.S. Consortium


for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology


The Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), the Philosophy of Science Association (PSA), the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), and the History of Science Society (HSS) formed the Consortium in May 2003 as the body representing the United States in what was then known as the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science (IUHPS) and its constituent organizations, the Division of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science (DLMPS) – both groups added Technology to their ambit in 2012 (it should be noted that the history of medicine also figures prominently in the quadrennial congresses). In that capacity, the Consortium has been represented by an appointed delegate at DLMPST and DHST meetings, and has obtained and disbursed grants to assist members of the four societies to attend the 2005 IUHPS conference in Beijing. Officers of the four organizations have met occasionally and communicated electronically on specific issues (e.g., IUHPS dues) and general goals. In 2009 4S withdrew from the consortium. HOPOS, ISH, SLSA, and AAHM later joined the consortium.

The Consortium's basic purpose is to advance the common interests of its constituent organizations, to facilitate scholarly and professional exchange, to disseminate research in history and philosophy of science and science and technology studies to multiple and international audiences, and to communicate with funding agencies concerning policy. Recognizing that IUHPST functions on the basis of national representation, the consortium is composed of relevant professional societies in history/philosophy of science and science studies which have large numbers of US members and/or have administrative offices based in the US. Although these organizations have many members who reside outside of the US, for the purposes of IUHPST their interests are represented by their respective national delegations or committees. One of its roles will be to continue to represent the U.S. in the IUHPST and its divisions. In addition, it will undertake both continuing programs and special initiatives to advance scholarship, education, and public dialogue concerning history and philosophy of science and science and technology studies, including activities such as graduate student support, international conferences, and educational outreach.

1. Representatives: Each constituent organization shall designate two members (usually officers) to represent the organization in the Consortium. This committee will act as the Consortium, on behalf of the constituent organizations. Those selected should have the authority to speak for their organizations, although it is understood that consultation with an organization's governing body or membership may sometimes be necessary. The organizations will inform each other who their representatives are at the beginning of each calendar year, so that all representatives have an up-to-date list (with contact information) of all the representatives to the Consortium.
2. Meetings: Any representative can convene an electronic discussion of any subject by contacting all other representatives. The representatives will make an effort to arrange actual meetings as well, ideally annually, at a mutually convenient time and place. A meeting of the Consortium requires the presence of at least one representative of each organization, unless organization agrees that it will be unrepresented.
3. Voting: The Consortium will generally operate by consensus among the representatives, but in cases where a clear record would be helpful or disagreement arises, it will take votes, which will be communicated by the representatives from each organization. Each organization will have one vote and will determine how its vote is to be decided. A measure must have the support of a majority of the organizations to pass.
4. Record Keeping: At each meeting of the Consortium, one member will be designated to keep minutes. Draft minutes will be circulated electronically to those in attendance within four weeks. Those who attended the meeting may request corrections during the following two weeks. The minute-taker will circulate electronically corrected minutes to all representatives of all organizations within two weeks following the correction period. In the case of e-mail discussions and decisions, each organization will keep its own archive.
5. Delegates: In the case of representation to the IUHPST divisions and in other situations that may arise, the Consortium will designate delegates to represent it. In selecting delegates, the Consortium representatives should attempt to constitute mixed delegations (i.e., with members of multiple organizations) and/or to rotate the privileges and responsibilities among the organizations, depending on the number of delegates allowed. If voting is necessary, each organization can nominate any number of candidates, and each organization will cast one vote for each of the delegate slots being filled. At the general assembly, each Ordinary Member, Commission, Scientific Section, member of the Council, and the Joint Commission may generally exercise one vote. For financial matters, each Ordinary Member may exercise from 1 to 5 votes according to the subscription category to which it belongs (A=1 vote, E=5 votes – the US is in the E category).

1. General Administration: The Consortium's member organizations will equally share administrative responsibilities and costs. In situations in which it is practical for one organization to take the lead (e.g., overseeing a grant or arranging logistics for a conference), the organizations will agree in advance on appropriate overhead, compensation, or reciprocation via the Consortium representatives.
2. Disbursement of Funds: When the Consortium potentially has resources to distribute (e.g., grants or registration fees), the principles of distribution will be agreed upon and recorded in advance via the Consortium representatives.
3. Administration of Grants: The Consortium may designate a member organization’s administrative office to represent it in grant applications and administration (with costs to be covered as outlined in IV.1). In such cases, the designated organization will be responsible for fulfilling all reporting requirements to the granting body. The other organizations will be responsible for ensuring that they and their members (e.g., recipients of travel grants) adhere to appropriate guidelines, record-keeping, and accounting practices in a timely fashion according to deadlines negotiated with the designated administering organization.