EHB, Elsevier Survey Results

Dear HBES Members:

The results from the survey you all filled out about Evolution and Human Behavior and Elsevier were very clear, and very helpful. We received around 280 responses to each survey question.

The main question of the survey was: Given that the transition would eliminate $130K/year inflow into the Society’s reserves, how important is it to you that the official journal of HBES be an open-access journal…. (first chart) eventually, within ~5 years …. (middle chart) soon, within ~2 years ….(last chart) ASAP. The scale was: -5 = strongly against to +5 = strongly in favor.




Most people did not want to cut ties with Elsevier ASAP to go open-access (panel c); many people were in favor of having our own open-access journal in about five years (panel a), and the field was split on the question of exiting to go open-access in about two years (panel b).

Given these results, we negotiated a 3 year contract with Elsevier, on good terms, which can be reconsidered in 2022. Many thanks for the guidance, helpful comments, and feedback! We will continue to involve you in these decisions moving forward.



HBES Executive Council and Publication Committee




Boston skyline

HBES 2019 Boston: Post-Conference Survey Results

Dear HBES Members:

Thank you to everyone who filled out the post-conference survey for HBES 2019 in Boston.  The results – including the many insightful comments and suggestions – were very helpful, and the council will be using them to improve our annual conference moving forward. Below, we have included some highlights from the survey spanning the range of topics you provided feedback on.

Some context about the survey: The HBES post-conference survey was first sent out to the membership list on June 26, 2019, with a reminder email sent out on July 8, 2019. The survey was closed on July 24, 2019. The survey received 198 engagements. The Boston conference had registered 489 attendees and our 2019 society membership prior to the Boston conference had 591 members. Thus, the survey gathered about one third of the HBES membership.

Questions about the survey can be directed to Nicole Barbaro (Communications Officer) and Leda Cosmides (President).


The Executive Council of HBES


What does the HBES 2019 membership look like?

Our polled membership is approximately 39% female, 59% male, 2% another gender identity. Additionally, 70% report working/residing in the United States, and 30% report working/residing outside the United States.


In what departments do our members work?


For what reasons are you a member of HBES?


How satisfied are members with our Code of Conduct?


Sexual Harassment at HBES 2019

85% of respondents thought sexual harassment was not a problem, or less of a problem at HBES than at other conferences; 96% thought it was less than or equal to that at other conferences. Five individuals reported that they had experienced sexual harassment at HBES 2019 via the post-conference survey. The Grievance Committee also received reports of sexual harassment via the online report submission form on the HBES website; these involved the behavior of one individual. The Grievance Committee and the Executive Council promptly responded to these reports according to the procedures outlined in the Code of Conduct. The complainants have been notified of the proceedings.



Overall, most members find the quality of the HBES conference above average or excellent relative to other conferences they attend


Overall, most members find that HBES provides good opportunities for networking relative to other conferences they attend.


To what extent do members agree that HBES events provide environments where people are free to express their ideas, opinions, or beliefs.



To what extent do members agree that at HBES events, people have an opportunity to excel regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

Interview with 2019 HBES Lifetime Career Award Winner Bobbi Low by Jaimie A. Krems

Bobbi Low is Professor Emerita in the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, where she’s also affiliated with the Institute for Social Research and the Center for Study of Complex Systems. She is also a co-founding member of HBES and winner of the 2019 Lifetime Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution, which she received at our annual HBES conference in Boston. Bobbi Low is also a pioneer, a path-breaker, and a research powerhouse—but you knew that. So we decided to ask Bobbi a bunch of questions to find out some information we didn’t know before, and also to take advantage of her perspective on evolutionary social science over her eminent career.

In Fall 2019, Jaimie Arona Krems, an assistant professor at the Oklahoma Center for Evolutionary Analysis (OCEAN) at Oklahoma State University and fellow member of the HBES Grievance Committee, chatted with Bobbi Low. Below is some of their conversation, lightly edited for length and clarity.


Jaimie: What’s your origin story? (By origin story, I mean, if you were a comic book hero, how did you come into being?)

Bobbi: I was a nerdy/dorky kid (of course envying the popular crowd!), but the one thing I knew how to do was go to school. I absolutely loved reading—still do. I would read anything. I was 12 or 14 when I read both Coming of Age in Samoa and Polly Adler’s (a famous New York madame) memoir A House is Not a Home. (Yeah, I was too young to understand…I thought having parties all the time would be great.)


J: How did you survive the leaky pipeline (i.e., the pipeline in STEM education that famously drips women and retains men)?

B: I have one trait that’s not helpful in most cases: I am pretty oblivious…but entering academe, it actually helped. After the first year, I realized that nothing ever was decided in faculty meetings—so I avoided them as much as I could, even scheduling seminar class in the faculty meeting time slot. As you’d guess, it really slowed down my progress ‘up the ladder’ but I really didn’t notice much. I should tell you that I have always been a misfit in my school: they hired me because at that time there was pressure to hire women, and I had wildlife experience (I was hired to teach ‘wildlife biology’ though I soon turned it into behavioral ecology of terrestrial vertebrates).


J: What advice might you have for people just starting to pursue their interests in evolutionary social science?

B: Find a knowledgeable and supportive mentor


J: Currently lots of posts/tweets about leaving academia for better-paying jobs. Can you mention some good reasons to stay in the academy?

B: Ouch! That’s a good one. If you are truly passionate about doing good research, and if you love teaching, you belong in the academy. I probably couldn’t have survived anywhere else—even now I am still going to school. But demographics rule: we are an aging population, with fewer students coming into university ages, so even now, many departments are shrinking and streamlining. It’s a buyer’s market out there. And I know a number of anthropologists who work for corporations, medical schools, and more. Anywhere multiculturalism is not a long-standing condition, there will be a need for social scientists.


J: In academia, rejection is the mode. How do you deal with the rejection letter?

B: I put it in the drawer, maybe shed a few tears in private, and check it in about a week. It’s important to check it as soon at that. When I was starting, I was so depressed by a letter from American Naturalist that I couldn’t look at it. When it surfaced two years later, I saw that it was a simple ‘revise and resubmit’ letter, though of course by then it was far too late!


J: If I’m correct, you were the first full-time female faculty member…how has HBES and evolutionary social science changed since your start? Is anything clearly better or worse?

B: I think it’s clear that the fields and the society have developed amazingly over the years. Impact has grown, too: a glance at my google feed always turns up some ‘hybrid’ popularizing article in evolutionary anthropology (cookies, I know…but the stories are out there!)


J: Does HBES differ from other societies to which you belong, and if so, how?

B: I am not sure it does…. just because we understand human frailties in a particular way, doesn’t mean we can circumvent them. Next meeting, think about non-human behavioral ecology—think about the people you see as critters—and you’ll find bucks sparring, and more.


J: Would you tell us one boring fact about yourself and/or one thing that most people at HBES would be unlikely to know about you?

B: Actually most facts about me are boring. Most people don’t know things like: I bet I have caught more snakes than anyone else you know. I was pretty much a cowboy-field biologist in grad school: lots of time in the field—especially deserts, carried a knife on lower leg, pickled specimens by moonlight, teased vultures by staggering and falling down until they came in to investigate, walked out on bridge girders over the Pecos River…stuff like that. It was enormous fun.


J: Out of curiosity, what animal would you be?

B: A lizard, I think. I am utterly heliotropic (how I ever came to live in Michigan I’ll never understand fully).


HBES 2020 Detroit Website is Live

The HBES 2020 Conference website is now live! The conference will take place June 24-27, 2020 in Detroit, MI.

Plenary speakers have been announced. Abstract submissions will open January 31, 2020.


More conference details to come!

HBES General Funding Grant Proposals Due November 1st

HBES members:

We are soliciting proposals for the HBES General Funding Grant, which are due November 1st 2019. The General Funding Grant is intended to subsidize costs associated with hosting events such as conferences and pre-conference meetings, workshops, and other activities or educational opportunities related to the mission of HBES.

HBES will fund proposals of up to $5,500 (we do not fund honoraria).

Priority is given to proposals that:

  1. benefit junior scholars (and, especially students) either directly, through subsidizing travel and cost of attendance to events or, indirectly, through educational opportunities afforded by the funding;
  2. have a broad, wide-reaching impact; and
  3. support is not easily available through other channels.

Applicants are eligible to apply for the General Funding Grant if they are current, active members (at any level) of HBES at the time they apply for funding.

Proposals are to be submitted online. Please see the HBES funding page for complete details, and submission link.