Minutes of the Meeting of the Policy Council of the System Dynamics Society

2 August 1995

Gakushuin University

Tokyo, Japan

In Attendance.


Andy Ford (Past President), David Lane (Vice President - Publications), John D. W. Morecroft (President Elect), Michael J. Radzicki (Secretary), Khalid Saeed (President)

Policy Council:

Lou Alfeld, Julia DiStefano, Bob Eberlein, Saburo Kameyama


David Andersen, Peter Milling, Yuzuru Ooshika, George P. Richardson, John D. Sterman, Qifan Wang, Graham Winch (System Dynamics Review Editor)

1. Call to Order.

The meeting was called to order at 5:57 PM by President Saeed.

2. Altering the Format of Conference Proceedings.

The Council turned its attention to the current format of the Society's conference proceedings. More precisely, many Society members feel that the current format of the proceedings should be changed. They are expensive and time consuming to produce, inconvenient to carry home in one's luggage, often of inconsistent scholarly quality (which could hurt the Society's reputation), and may reduce submissions to the System Dynamics Review.

The Council members were divided in their opinions as to whether the proceedings should be altered or not. Many members felt that, although some of the above problems with the proceedings do exist, the proceedings also yield significant benefits in their current format. Some Council members pointed out, for example, that funding becomes more difficult for many members of the academic community if they are not presenting a "published" paper at a conference. They also pointed out that conference proceedings are usually understood by the academic community to be a place in which "work-in-progress" and "first tries" are presented to an audience of scholarly peers. Thus the issue of inconsistent quality is not nearly as significant as it would be vis--vis, say, the System Dynamics Review.

Some members also disputed the argument that submissions to the Review are being hurt by the proceedings and disagreed with the notion that the Society's reputation is being hurt by the inconsistent quality of the proceedings. In terms of the latter point, it was noted that since the proceedings are rarely distributed to anyone other than the conference attendees (i.e., not to university libraries), no one outside of the field of system dynamics realistically evaluates their quality anyway.

John Sterman reported that the proceedings for the 1996 conference will limit papers to a length of four pages. President Saeed suggested that this be viewed as an experiment and that the Council re-evaluate the proceedings issue next year.

3. Society Dues.

After having consulted with John Wiley & Sons, George Richardson moved and Bob Eberlein seconded a motion that "the Society raise its dues to $80 ($40 for low income members)."

The explanation given for the rise in dues was that John Wiley had experienced a rise in its paper costs of 60%. John Sterman pointed out that paper prices are cyclical and wondered if the Society could reduce its dues if paper prices fall. The sentiment of the Council, however, seemed to be that the rise in dues was reasonable. The motion passed. Of the $80 in dues, $68 will go to John Wiley and $12 will go to the Society.

4. Data on Non-Renewal of Society Membership.

Bob Eberlein was charged with the task of writing John Wiley to obtain a list of those persons who have not renewed their Society membership. Eventually, the Vice President - Member Activities should regularly acquire these data and use them creatively.

5. System Dynamics Bibliography on the Internet.

Bob Eberlein reported that the System Dynamics Bibliography has been updated and that it can be put on the Internet (via an FTP site at MIT) as shareware. Bill Steinhurst, one of the creators of the Bibliography, will not object to this as long as he retains the copyright.

Bob Eberlein moved and Lou Alfeld seconded a motion that "the Executive Director of the Society decide whether the Bibliography will go on the Internet as shareware or not." The motion passed.

6. Guidelines for Policy Council Decision Making on the Internet

David Andersen noted that the discussions on the Internet among members of the Policy Council were valuable, but that he did not feel that the net should be used by the Council for decision making. His case in point was a recent decision, via the Internet, by Jose Machuca to dispose of extra issues of the Seville conference proceedings.

The general sentiment of the Council was that the Internet should not be used for decision making.

7. Society Logo.

Julia DiStefano reported that she had received 15-20 designs for the Society logo. President Saeed appointed Lou Alfeld and DiStefano to a committee who will narrow the number of designs to three and present them to the Policy Council at its January meeting.

8. Withdrawal of Tabled Motion.

President Saeed withdrew his tabled motion pertaining to the creation of a document which would reiterate the agreement between a conference organizer and the Society, that the Society is not responsible for any financial loss incurred by the conference organizer and/or his/her institution.

9. Report on the Chinese Chapter of the System Dynamics Society.

Qifan Wang reported that there are approximately 500 members of the Chinese chapter of the System Dynamics Society and approximately 2000 people involved with system dynamics in China.

10. Formation of the Italian Chapter of the System Dynamics Society.

Bob Eberlein reported that the draft constitution of the proposed Italian chapter of the Society had two sections which needed rewording. Eberlein moved and Julia DiStefano seconded a motion that "the Policy Council accept the proposal to form an Italian chapter of the System Dynamics Society subject to:


  1. the deletion of the sentence: "The acceptance is subjected to approval by the Council." from section three


  2. changing the second sentence in section six to read: "All members shall be allowed to vote."


  3. the submission of the requisite signatures from ten Italian Society members."

The motion passed.

11. Committee to Examine Chapter Formation Rules.

Graham Winch argued that the Society must re-examine its rules governing the formation of chapters. He noted that, in the case of the Italian chapter, persons who are not members of the System Dynamics Society (but who are members of the Italian chapter) could vote on matters pertaining to the Italian chapter. He also noted that some chapters are publishing system dynamics journals and magazines that the Society has no control over. President Saeed appointed David Lane (Vice President - Publications), Bob Eberlein, and Saburo Kameyama to a committee who will examine the rules governing the formation of chapters.

12. Nominating Committee Report.

Past President Andy Ford reported that the Nominating Committee had not yet reached consensus on a slate of candidates, but that it will in the near term and have a slate ready for the January meeting of the Council.

13. 1997, 1998, and 1999 Conference Sites.

Mike Radzicki reported that he had received two preliminary written proposals to host the Society's annual conference in 1997 (Lisbon and Istanbul), a written preliminary proposal to host the conference in 1998 (India), and several verbal preliminary proposals to host the conference in future years (New Zealand (1998 or 1999), Australia (1998 or 1999), Bergen, Norway (2000)).

As the Council had previously voted the 1998 conference to North America, India's proposal was automatically eliminated from consideration.

Decisions on the 1999 and 2000 conference sites were seen as premature by the Council.

The attention of the Council then turned to the selection of the 1997 conference site. John Morecroft moved and Bob Eberlein seconded a motion that "the site of the 1997 conference of the System Dynamics Society be Istanbul." After weighing the pros and cons of each site (as could be determined from the proposals and the personal knowledge of the sites held by Council members), a vote was taken. The motion passed.

14. Miscellaneous John Wiley Issues.

David Lane reported that the people at John Wiley & Sons had asked him two questions:

  1. Is the Society pleased with the current layout of the membership directory?
  2. Is the Society's Executive Director pleased with her relationship with John Wiley?

Bob Eberlein was asked to pose question (2) to Julie Pugh.

15. Honoring Julie Pugh.

Julia DiStefano moved and Lou Alfeld seconded a motion that "the Society recognize Julie Pugh for her contributions to the System Dynamics Society."

The consensus of the Council was that recognizing Julie's contributions to the Society was appropriate but that this recognition should not detract from the honor being planned for Jack Pugh. The motion passed. President Saeed asked the 1996 conference organizers to plan Julie's recognition.

16. Discussion of the Role of Vice President - Publications.

System Dynamics Review Editor Graham Winch called for an email discussion of the role of the Vice President - Publications. Graham noted that there are a number of system dynamics publications currently being circulated by Society chapters that are not under the jurisdiction of the Society. He felt that the Vice President - Publications should, perhaps, be placed in a position to oversee these publications. Winch also felt that an overall review of the role of the Vice President - Publications was in order.

17. Motion To Adjourn.

John Sterman moved and Lou Alfeld seconded a motion that "the meeting be adjourned." The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 PM.

Respectfully submitted.

Michael J. Radzicki