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07 February, 2011

Call for Position Papers: Simulating the Social Processes of Science

Simulating the Social Processes of Science
Challenging the field of social simulation to produce good models of how science operates

During the last forty years, a variety of explanatory, exploratory, and metaphorical models of the science system have been used in a number of different fields. As a consequence, this topic has appeared at a variety of different conferences, resulting in a string of rather isolated papers. We believe the time is right to try and consolidate and focus these efforts – to attempt serious models that address the link between the micro-behaviour of scientists with the global patterns of science.

To stimulate interest in simulating the social processes that occur within science, particularly to motivate some agent-based modellers into producing models of the inter-scientist processes that contribute to the phenomenon we call science.

  1. Invite a number of position papers, describing the features and issues they would like to see in a social simulation of science.
  2. Publish these as a collection in the Forum Section of JASSS (Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation – the main journal for social simulators), with a foreword challenging social simulators to address these issues.
  3. Organise and run a residential workshop 1-2 years in 2012 open to researchers to present and discuss their simulations, with a few philosophers and sociologists present.
  4. Publish a special issue or book of revised papers on this topic based on the simulations presented at the workshop.

What we are asking of you
To write a position paper for this project. It should be directed to the social simulation community, with an aim of: stimulating them to develop models of science, guiding them to some of the important properties, issues and evidence that they should address in their simulations, and possibly indicating which aspects might (or might not) be amenable to such an approach. The simulations will probably include both cognitive and social aspects of science and scientists. We are open to all viewpoints on the efficacy and nature of science, but would appreciate a focus on areas where you think simulation can contribute to our understanding.

So please write a short essay, with a guideline of 3000 words, to be delivered in a Microsoft Word readable format (.doc .docx .rtf .odt) and emailed to by the 1st April 2011. Please contact us if you have any questions, or suggestions.


03 February, 2011

2nd ESSA Summer School: July 2011

Following the successful first ESSA Summer School on Agent-Based Modelling, held in Brescia, Italy in September 2010, a second Summer School is planned for 18-22 July 2011 at the University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom.

The Summer School is aimed at those who have a basic understanding of social simulation and are taking their first steps in agent-based modelling. It is expected that most participants will be actively engaged in developing a simulation model.

The programme will consist of lectures from experienced modellers, together with group sessions led by tutors when participants can discuss their modelling plans and experience. The lectures will focus on the stories behind successful examples of agent-based modelling, and will cover issues from defining a research question to writing effective reports.

Lecturers will include:

• Iqbal Adjali (Unilever, UK)
• Edmund Chattoe-Brown (University of Leicester, UK)
• Bruce Edmonds (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
• Nigel Gilbert (University of Surrey, UK)
• Paul Ormerod (Volterra Consulting, UK)
• Flaminio Squazzoni (University of Brescia, Italy)
• Pietro Terna (University of Torino, Italy)
• Klaus G Troitzsch (University of Koblenz, Germany)

By the end of the Summer School, students can expect to have absorbed a great deal of 'tacit' knowledge about how to go about model building, as well as having had opportunities to discuss their research with experts and peers.

The Summer School welcomes postgraduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and professionals.

The School is located at the University of Surrey. The campus overlooks Guildford, a market town in the Surrey countryside with good links to London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports, and about 50 kms from the centre of London. See

Application procedure
Please send (a) a brief CV, (b) a summary of your current research, including a description of modelling planned or achieved and, if you are a postgraduate student (c) a letter of support from your supervisor, as attachments to an email with the subject line "ESSA Summer School application" to by 15 March 2011 at the latest. Notification of acceptance/rejection will be sent by 1 April 2011.

• For university and research institute students, including bed and breakfast (B&B) on the University Campus: £350
• For staff of Higher Education institutions, including B&B on the University Campus: £450
• For others, not including accommodation: £400
• For others, with B&B on the University Campus: £600
All registration fees include lunches, coffee/tea during the day and a social dinner. The University accommodation is in single rooms with shared bathroom. These fees need to be paid by 15 April, 2011.

ASSYST are providing up to five bursaries to assist PhD students, each worth up to €300. To apply, ask your supervisor to include a statement about why you should be awarded a bursary in the letter of support you will send as part of your application. Priority in awarding the bursaries will be given to those who have no alternative means of funding their attendance at the Summer School.

Bursary for UK applicants only: The UK National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) is offering training bursaries to UK staff engaged in research, teaching research methods or supervising research. For further information about the bursaries and to apply please see . This scheme is not open to PhD students.

The Summer school is sponsored by the SIMIAN project, Unilever plc, ASSYST and the University of Surrey, to whom we are grateful for their support.

Further details are available on the Summer School website: