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ISSBD - Word from our President

Word from our President

It has been a year since I reported the activities of the Executive Committee (EC) in the 2016 fall issues of the ISSBD Bulletin. Over the past year, the Steering Committee, the Executive Committee, and other committees have been working on several major tasks, including the renewal of the contract with SAGE, biennial meetings, regional workshops, and some other specific issues.

Before I provide details, I would like to thank all the committee chairs and members, the journal editors and associate editors, workshop organizers, and many others who have helped ISSBD in various ways. In particular, I would like to thank Livia Melandri from SAGE who, in the absence of Kerry Barner, helped with the publications, membership, and other regular activities. Everyone who worked with Livia was highly impressed by her excellent professional skills and enthusiasm about strengthening the connections between SAGE and ISSBD. Now, we are working with Kerry again, and we are looking forward to collaborating with her on a series of tasks ahead of us.

Since the Executive Committee meeting in July 2016, we have carried out many activities. I focus below on some major ones which many of you participated in and which have implications for our future plans.

First, about the conferences, we now have more information on the biennial meeting last year in Vilnius, Lithuania. The conference chair, Rita Zukauskiene, and her team organized a very exciting meeting. A total of 852 delegates from 69 countries attended the meeting, with over 300 of them being early career scholars. The invited program included 5 keynote and 5 invited talks, and 7 invited symposia, with presenters from many different countries with diverse geographic and disciplinary backgrounds. The scientific program also included 90 (360 papers) symposia, 6 poster workshops (37 posters), and 711 individual posters. In addition to regular symposium and poster sessions, the scientific program included several special sessions for early career scholars and symposia jointly organized by ISSBD and other societies (the European Association for Developmental Psychology, the Association for Psychological Science). The social programs included the opening ceremony, receptions, a banquet, and other activities. The feedback from delegates indicated that the meeting was a great success. Rita has paid back the loan we gave to her earlier, and there was no financial loss for the meeting. Congratulations to Rita and her team for the wonderful work!

Multiple preconference workshops were organized in Vilnius by the preconference workshop committee. The workshop topics included longitudinal methods (Elisabetta Crocetti), adapting tests for use in other cultures (Fons van de Vijver), publishing (Robert Kail), policy, translating science for the public (Ariel Kalil), and new and needed directions for the study of emotion regulation & its development (Pamela Cole). Marcel van Aken served as the chair of the preconference workshop committee. The Jacobs foundation has provided funds to support early career scholars from different countries to attend the workshops. Julie Bowker and the travel grant committee handled the applications for financial support. About 80 early career scholars from many different countries received support. Many thanks to Marcel and Julie and their committees for the work they put into workshops!

Also, thanks to the Jacobs Foundation for its generous support for the workshops. Melanie Zimmer-Gembeck and her colleagues at Griffith University have been working hard on the 2018 meeting in Gold Coast, Australia. They have been quite successful in securing grants from local organizations and in promoting the meeting. They have put together a strong invited program. The information about the programs, events, submission, and registration has been put on the conference website ( As in the previous meetings, ISSBD will organize a series of preconference workshops for early career scholars. We will also provide funding support for scholars to attend the workshops. The information on applications for travel grants is on the conference website. Marcel van Aken and Julie Bowker and their committees are working on the organization of the pre-conference workshops and grant applications. Marcel and Julie, thank you for agreeing to do this again.

At the Vilnius EC meeting, we discussed ideas about future biennial meetings. One idea was to have a meeting in the United States because the last meeting in the United States was held in Minneapolis in 1991, over 25 years ago. After the meeting, we explored the possibilities but found it difficult to do this in the near future (e.g., finding a location with relatively low-cost conference centers and hotels). At the EC meeting this year in Austin, Texas, the EC approved a proposal submitted by Frosso
Motti-Stefanidi and her colleagues at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens to organize the 2020 meeting in Greece (Crete or Rhodes). Frosso will provide more information about the meeting at the Gold Coast meeting in July.

The EC approved four workshops for 2017 on topics about 1) school safety and school climate, in Thailand, hosted by Prince of Songkla University; 2) values and the development of Southeast Asian youth, in Bandung, Indonesia, hosted by Padjadjaran University; 3) positive youth development in times of social change, on the Island of Syros, Greece, hosted by National and Kapodistrian University of Athens; and 4) researching into adaptive behaviors in contexts of change with a focus on interdisciplinary and multicultural approaches for early career scholars in Africa, in Ghana, hosted by University of Education, Winneba. The EC also approved a proposal hosted by Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Italy, in 2018. These workshops cover a variety of social, cultural, and contextual issues in the study of human development. In each workshop, prominent scholars present their work and provide training in conducting research to groups of early career scholars. Early career scholars also actively participate in discussion and communication with colleagues. We have received reports from the organizers about some of the workshops, which indicate that they generally achieved their goals and indeed were very successful.

One of the main goals of regional workshops is to maintain and promote membership. The data about the previous workshops has shown that they attracted many early career scholars and helped them build connections with other members and get involved in other activities in ISSBD. If you are interested in organizing a regional workshop, please take a look at the guideline on the ISSBD website or contact us. We currently have about 1,000 members from 55 countries, one of the highest totals in recent years. I would like to thank Tina Malti, the Membership Committee, the regional coordinators, and the SAGE membership staff, who have been continuously working on membership and developed many strategies to strengthen membership maintenance and recruitment.

Relatedly, ISSBD established a Fellow status, proposed by Tina Malti and her Membership Committee in 2015. We announced our first cohort of Fellows at the Vilnius meeting. The Fellows Committee has elected the second cohort of Fellows, which will be recognized at the Australia meeting next year. The program appears to be in good shape and will help maintain the stability of membership, encourage the engagement and commitment of outstanding members, and promote the reputation of our society.

A major task for the EC in the past year was to renew our contract with SAGE. Our previous contract with SAGE expired at the end of 2016. Bill Bukowski, the chair of the publication committee, initiated a discussion with Livia Melandri from SAGE about the renewal of the contract. The initial proposal submitted by SAGE was reviewed by the EC, Brett Laursen (IJBD editor), and Bill. We negotiated with SAGE about the royalties and extra contributions to IJBD stipends and other editorial activities. For example, in previous contracts, ISSBD received 45% royalties on total net sales revenues. In the new contract, the royalties are increased to 55% on total net sales revenues. SAGE provides additional funds to ISSBD in support of editorial stipends and activities such as webinars or videoconferences. The other items remain the same. The EC approved the final proposal for the new contract.

We think the new contract is a significant improvement over the previous one. The 55% royalty rate and the guaranteed minimum amount (75% of the estimated royalties) from SAGE are impressive. Actual revenues for ISSBD from royalties directly depend on how the publisher performs. SAGE has been doing very well over the past 10 years. In addition, SAGE has been heavily involved in many of our activities including membership, website development, communication with members and regional coordinators, overseeing elections, providing free journals to all members in low- and middle-income countries, etc. Virtually all of us working with the SAGE staff, particularly Kerry Barner and Livia Melandri, think that they are quite helpful with the activities. The renewal of the contract enhances the functioning of the organization.

We collaborated with the Association for Psychological Science (APS) and the European Association for Developmental Psychology (EADP) in organizing joint symposia at the Vilnius meeting, which were attractive to the audience. The incoming president of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), Marc Bornstein and Charissa Cheah are working on a joint session at the biennial meeting in Australia in 2018. We will continue to collaborate with these and other societies on activities that are interesting to us.

Finally, as always, I encourage you to actively participate in ISSBD activities. We would also like to hear if you have any ideas or suggestions. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Xinyin Chen
September, 2017


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