Call for Papers

A PDF of the ISTAS20 call for papers is available here.

Public Interest Technology Emphasis

We believe this is the first international conference of its kind on the emergent theme of Public Interest Technology (PIT). We welcome new ideas, approaches, frameworks, methodologies and theories to help develop a field that will be critical to our future. The IEEE SSIT has been working on PIT Themes since 1972.

Inspired by the work of several American foundations (i.e. New America, the Ford Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation), IEEE SSIT have decided to co-locate their 2020 ISTAS event with the Second Annual convening Conference of the Public Interest Technology University Network to be held at Arizona State University.

The PIT UN is dedicated to building the nascent field of public interest technology through curriculum development, faculty research opportunities, and experiential learning programs, in order to inspire a new generation of civic-minded technologists and policy leaders.

Below are a list of PIT topics. ISTAS20 accepts papers on these and other traditional and new topics addressed by the IEEESSIT community at large that embraces interdisciplinarity.

Defining public interest technology
— Terminology, ontology, definition, application
Engineering activism
— Lobbying, advocacy, activism, actionism
What is the “public interest”​​​​​​?
​ — Who decides what the public interest is and how it is served?
Engineering volunteerism
— Pro-bono support by corporations (e.g. public interest engineers)
Funding public interest technology initiatives
— Bridging the gap between commerce, corporations and communities
Public interest technologies, humanitarian activities and global challenges
Long-term strategies not band-aid solutions for NGOs and NfPsForming meaningful partnershipsPublic engagement strategies in public interest technology
— Living and communicating a cultural shift in citizenry and the workforce
STS employabilityWhere do STS scholars fit in tech firms?Public interest technology and the future of work
What does a PIT curriculum look like?
— How does it differ to traditional STS?
— What challenges or opportunities might it pose for Computing/Engineering programs?
Public interest technology and the mining industry
— Technologies of preservation, reclamation and sustainability
Addressing tensions between engineers and social scientists
— Respect and acknowledging hard and soft skillsets as equal
Collective awareness and the governing of the commons
— Strategies for sharing, redistribution and efficiency
Engineering and technology scholarship
— Why engineers and technologists need the humanities and social science sensibilities
— Humanities-driven solutions, research, practice, inquiry
Converging emerging technologies and the role of public interest technology
— Going beyond lip service
— Debating the pros and cons in public
— Forums for exchange: local, national, global
Theories, frameworks and methodologies in public interest technologiesGoing beyond tech as product, and understanding tech as an innovation process that engages people
Critique of PIT​​​​​​Ethic of care/ care ethics
— Empathy, being human, respecting each other
— Respecting the Earth, social imaginary(ies)

List of ISTAS20 Thematic Topics

  • Public Interest Technology and Engineering Education
    • Technology curricula, STS sensibilities, interdisciplinarity, social sciences, humanities, engineering, employability, fluency, vision
    • Private corporations, government agencies, non-government organisations (NGOs), non-for-profit, public-private partnerships
  • Methodological Approaches to Systems
    • Sociotechnical systems, participatory design, co-design, human factors research, human-computer interaction, experimental, values
  • Emerging Technologies and Responsible Innovation
    • Smart cities, drones, facial recognition, AI, machine learning, big data, IOT, GIS, satellites, cloud computing, brain-to-computer interfaces
  • Social Implications of Technology, Social Impact, (Un)Intended Consequences of Technology
    • Benefits, costs, (un)known, health, addiction, death, scenario planning, trajectories, futures, backcasting, nowcasting, forecasting
  • Veillances
    • Surveillance, dataveillance, uberveillance, borders, social credit system, predictive policing, DNA collection, LBS, voice-activated
  • Law, Regulation, Technology Standards and Guidelines, Principles, Governance, Policy, Ethics, Privacy and Security
    • Soft law, pacing problem of emerging technology, case law, enforceability, ethics boards, data privacy, data ownership, by design
  • Social Justice, Environmental Justice, Citizen Science, Humanitarian Technology, Risk Assessment
    • Under-represented populations, minorities, post-conflict settings, global development, speculation, harm, environmental impact, risk, greed, preservation, sustainability 
  • Universal Service Obligation, Discrimination, Access, Accessibility, Fairness, Openness, Transparency, Equity
    • Indigenous communities, displaced populations, women, mobility, affordability, speed, encryption, open data/systems, open access
  • User/End-user/Employee Perspectives, Corporate Social Responsibility, Human Rights
    • Citizens, patients, participants, business users, rights of children, dis/ability, cognitive impaired, humans, diversity, animals
  • Other traditional topics discussed at IEEE SSIT Conferences including, but not limited to:
    • social issue related to energy
    • health and safety technology systems
    • engineering ethics and professional responsibility
    • engineering education and the social implications of technology
    • public education in the social implications of technology
    • history of electrotechnology
    • technical expertise and public policy
    • social issues related to information and communication technology
    • systems analysis in public policy decisions
    • economic issues related to technology
    • peace technology
    • future of work

Submission Schedule

We invite authors to submit their abstracts, short papers, or full papers on EasyChair using the following US or A4 MS Word conference template on a rolling basis before the 14th of September 2020.

If this is your first time publishing with IEEE, you might appreciate visiting the IEEE Author Center. Some more tips are available here.

Status of Presentation/ Paper TypeDate (2020)
Panel, Tutorial and Workshop Proposals 31 May
Abstract (<1p only) / Short Paper (>1p <= 4pp) Deadline 14 August
Full Paper Submission Deadline (>4pp <= 12pp)14 September
Accept/Reject Notification for Papers 1 October
Final Camera Ready Copy Paper Submission 21 October
Digital Presentation Submission28 October

Paper Types

  • Full papers are those that are over 4 pages in length and no more than 12 pages in length using the US or A4 MS Word IEEE conference template. Full papers require to have an explicit methodology, and may be applied or theoretical in contribution. Comprehensive literature reviews will be considered for conference publication, if they clearly describe the uniqueness of their presentation as compared to previous research. Papers that source a mix of high impact research papers and credible online sources are acceptable. Select full peer reviewed papers will be invited to be substantially extended by authors (i.e. more than 70% different that the original paper) and included in a special issue of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine for 2021, and general issues of IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society. A paper will only be submitted for publication in the Conference Proceedings on IEEEXplore if the author or a co-author register for the Conference.
  • Short papers are those that are between 2-4 pages. These papers will undergo a desk review, and be permanently included on this conference web site under Program. These may take the form of commentary, opinion, or leading edge pieces and may be considered for publication in the IEEE Technology and Society Magazine.
  • Abstract only contributions are those that use the IEEE conference template and keep to no more than 1 page. It may include an abstract of about 200 words with additional text elaborating on the abstract, and a biography. These long abstracts may be considered for publication on the open access IEEE Technology and Society Blog edited by Cia Romano. They should have a clear purpose and line of argumentation and may allude to past or research in progress. Authors who submit in this category will be given an opportunity to present their points of view at the Conference.
  • Workshop/Tutorials/Panel Submissions are usually no more than 2 pages in length and should be submitted directly here before the 31 May 2020 with the subject header “Workshop Proposal”. We will attempt to accommodate all quality requests. Please outline the objectives, alignment with conference theme, proposed presenters and expected impact. There must be a minimum of three unique presenters confirmed for workshops and panels, each of whom must register for the conference. Acceptable duration of this type of submission is: 1.5 hours, 3 hours, 6 hours or whole day events.
  • Authors of papers should expect to present their work at ISTAS20 in numerous forms. The final presentation PowerPoint or Video or PDF Poster should be submitted by email here by 28 October. Please write your paper ID in the Subject Header of your email when corresponding with the Organising and Technical Program Committees. We are seeking your permission to store a version of your presentation on this portal, after the conference in PDF or multimedia (e.g. YouTube). Please note, we wish for this to be a dynamic conference where there is more discussion than simply a talking head. We have some interesting formats lined up that will go beyond Powerpoint.

Peer Review Process

Stage 1: Full Paper Submission Deadline – 14 September

Paper submissions for IEEE ISTAS 2020 will follow a single stage review and acceptance process, should align with ISTAS topics, be between 4 and 12 pages in length, and comply with the IEEE format and specifications as described in the templates above.

Stage 2: Acceptance/Revision/Rejection – 1 October

Acceptance/rejection of full papers is based on blind peer review by the ISTAS 2020 Technical Program Committee. Please ensure that no author or co-author contact details are provided within the text or properties of the document when submitted. Accepted papers will be submitted for inclusion into IEEE Xplore Digital Library.

Stage 3: Final Camera Ready Copy Submission – 21 October

Authors whose draft papers were accepted following the peer review should submit the final updated paper (taking account of the feedback provided by the Technical Program Committee) by email here by 14 October with “Final Paper” in the Subject Header and your Paper ID number. Please also attach a brief explanation outlining how the feedback from the Technical Program Committee has been addressed.

As we need to be able to both edit and brand papers accepted in the conference proceedings, final accepted papers must be submitted in Word Format (.doc). This is why we strongly recommend you prepare your paper submission in Word Format. Even if you are using an open source authoring tool, it should allow you to save in Word Format.

The camera ready paper should include all author details (Name, Organisation, Country, email) using the style provided in the paper template.

Stage 4: Publication of the Full Paper in IEEEXplore – 28 October

The author will receive a copy of the version to be included in the proceedings in late October. They will then sign the copyright document online.

ISTAS20 – Paper Review Timeline