2017 January

JANUARY 10, 2017

Inside HFES

Let's Resolve to Take on the Grand Challenges!
By Nancy J. Cooke, President

We Are All Science Communicators
By Lois Smith, Communications Director

Call for Papers: Replication Special Issue

Fellows and Awards Nominations Reminder

Entries Invited for Product Design Award
By Stanley H. Caplan, PDTG Award Committee Cochair

HFES Meetings

Submissions Welcome for HFES 2017

ErgoX 2017 Schedule Now Online

Other News

8th AHFE Conference Call For Papers

ACE–ODAM Joint Conference Call For Submissions


Inside HFES

Let's Resolve to Take on the Grand Challenges!

By Nancy J. Cooke, President

            Nancy J. Cooke

The New Year is a time of individual reflection and goal setting. If you are like me, most New Year's resolutions focus on personal goals such as weight loss, with less attention to professional goals. You are in luck, because I have a suggestion for the latter. In his 2016 presidential address, Bill Marras introduced us to the National Academy of Engineering's Grand Challenges and proposed we align with them to increase the relevance of HF/E. These are 14 "B-HAG" (Big - Hairy Audacious Goal) problems that can be grouped into four even bigger buckets: Sustainability, Human Health, Vulnerability, and Joy of Living.

How can we align our individual HF/E work with these grand challenges? What if our work does not clearly map onto a challenge? What goals can we set that would move us in that direction? How can we at the same time align our work with the outward-facing vision? Here are some ideas for your consideration.

Grand Challenges Sustainabilty Human Health Vulnerability Joy of Living
Advanced Personalized Learning  
Make Solar energy Economical    
Enhance Virtual Reality
Reverse Engineer the Brain  
Engineer Better Medicines  
Advance Health Informatics  
Restore and Improve urban Infrastructure  
Secure Cyber Space
Provide Access to Clean Water  
Provide Energy From Fusion  
Prevent Nuclear Terror    
Manage the Nitrogen Cycle    
Develop Carbon Sequestration Methods  
Engineer Tools of Scientific Discovery

Table courtesy of Bill Marras.

1. Let a Problem Be Your Guide

The Grand Challenges provide a problem-oriented framework. You may also be aware of the 10 "big ideas" of the National Science Foundation that provide another complementary framework (https://www.nsf.gov/about/congress/ reports/nsf_big_ideas.pdf). Of course, the NAE Grand Challenges are not the only challenges facing our world today, though most of the problems that we find ourselves working on can probably fall into one of the four bigger buckets. Human factors as an applied science, or engineering itself, tends to be problem focused (e.g., improve patient safety, decrease traffic fatalities). Having a problem drive your research or practice speaks to the ultimate impact of the work.

A problem-oriented focus also seems to excite today's youth, who increasingly come to college with a problem in mind (climate change, cancer, clean water needs) rather than a disciplinary major. When I talk to students who are considering a major in our human-systems engineering program, I talk not about the methods that we use or the human science that we draw from but about the problems that we help to solve. I tell them that in many cases, human factors saves lives.

Therefore, one way to use the Grand Challenges and other big problems is to let them guide your research and practice, periodically checking to see that your work is speaking to the problem and, as much as possible, finding ways to implement change for true impact.


2. Tell People That HF/E Is Part of the Solution

Use the Grand Challenges as a communication device. They provide a way for us to communicate our relevance to the world. HF/E has value and is relevant to addressing these challenges. We will in fact be highlighting work that we are doing as a Society that is tied to these challenges. This year, when you submit your Annual Meeting proposal, you will be able to check a box indicating that your proposal addresses a problem in one of the four buckets.

Keep in mind that the buckets are bigger than the challenges. You may be addressing problems that are in the bucket but are not one of the 14 Grand Challenges. Technical group program chairs will also be asked to help identify proposals that address problems in the Grand Challenge buckets. These will be highlighted in the program. In this way we will be communicating the value and relevance of our work through the Grand Challenges that we address.


3. Play Well With Others to Jointly Find a Solution

Addressing the Grand Challenges is not something that can be done alone or by a group of HF/E experts, or by any single discipline. These problems require multidisciplinary collaboration. The HFES vision statement mentions "outward-facing collaborations." This is not to be mistaken for the outward-facing model of the missionary in a foreign land who wants to convert the masses to HF/E. That is too one-sided. Rather, we need to work side by side with those in other disciplines. They will learn a bit about HF/E and we will learn about their perspective.

This kind of deep knowledge integration is not easy, but it is necessary for truly transdisciplinary work. I had the good fortune to chair a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee that produced a report "Enhancing the Effectiveness of Team Science," which provides recommendations for improving multidisciplinary collaboration.

In sum, we know that the work we do in HF/E is incredibly relevant, and in many cases, this work saves lives. It is time to share this news with others and work alongside them to jointly solve some of our world's toughest problems.

As we work to embrace the NAE Grand Challenges, the leadership of HFES is also preparing for the retirement of our beloved and highly valued Executive Director, Lynn Strother. With this change also comes opportunity, and the Executive Council will be re-examining and updating our strategic goals and planning the future directions for HFES. Our strategic directions will inform a task force led by Debbie Boehm-Davis that will select an interim director and prepare to search for the new executive director. Strategy will also inform another task force, chaired by Camille Peres, that is considering operational changes. I am very gratefulfor the leadership of Debbie and Camille and for the service of each member of the Executive Council and task forces who are navigating through this period of transition.


Inside HFES

We Are All Science Communicators

By Lois Smith, Communications Director

Among the many jobs of the human factors/ergonomics professional is one that perhaps many of you don't consider consciously, or as a priority: that of communicating the importance of what you do to the general public. My job is to help you do that, but I'd like to take a few minutes to highlight some ways in which you can be as much a science communicator as you are a researcher, instructor, designer, consultant, etc.

The stimulus for this article is a recently published report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Communicating Science Effectively. As noted in the highlights, NASEM "convened a diverse panel of scientists and science communicators to offer a research agenda that can inform efforts to communicate about science effectively." The report noted challenges to successfulscience communication given, among other things, individual and social influences and the complexities of the media environment.

As complicated as it can be to promote your work, given the need to be clear, concise, and engaging, these activities won't take much time in your busy schedule.

Minimally time-intensive:

  • Send me (lois@hfes.org) a message about newsworthy work you're doing so we can explore the idea of developing a press release — especially if your work is in an area related to "hot" news (e.g., cybersecurity, autonomous vehicles, patient safety, artificial intelligence, big data, virtual reality). Not everything we cover in HFES press releases needs to be based on a paper you publish in an HFES or other journal or proceedings.

  • Make sure your institution's PR department knows about your newsworthy work.

  • Post on social media about work in progress, presentations you'll be making at conferences and other events, and your publications. In Twitter, use hashtags (e.g., #humanfactors, #ergonomics, #usability) to enhance your tweets' exposure.

A bit more time-intensive:

  • Submit comments to blog posts on topics related to your work or interest areas.

  • Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper — or even nationally distributed ones like the The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post — in response to articles you read in those publications, emphasizing the HF/E science and practice related to the topic under discussion.

  • Reach out to reporters who cover news in your expertise areas and offer yourself as a resource for input on future stories they may need to write. Online news articles with reporter bylines usually make this easy to do via hyperlinks to their social media sites or e-mail addresses.

  • Offer updates and corrections to Wikipedia pages related to your areas of scientific merit. Wikipedia is a go-to resource (for good or ill) for the public and media.

For the truly ambitious:

  • Write for the Ergonomics in Design blog. Contact me if you have ideas for blog posts or can recommend other potential contributors.

  • Pitch to and write articles for publications, blogs, and Web sites where good science stories can be found. For example, consumer magazines that cover business, tech, and science include WIRED, MIT Technology Review, and Information Week. A couple of examples of trade magazines that cover health and safety are Occupational Health & Safety and EHS Today. Among the Web news sites that cover HF/E-related topics are TechRepublicReadWriteTechCrunch, and the Huffington Post (particularly HuffPost Tech).

  • Start your own blog.

As noted in the article by Nancy Cooke in this issue, consider submitting your work for the Annual Meeting on topics related to the National Academy of Engineering's Grand Challenges. HFES will be promoting accepted work that addresses those topics via press releases and social media posts.

Finally, if you'd like to be involved in helping the Society communicate HF/E science to the public, consider joining the Public Outreach Committee. Send an expression of interest to Outreach Division Chair Karen Jacobs at kjacobs@bu.edu.

Feel free to contact me any time at lois@hfes.org, 310/394-1811, for help in locating venues, science editors, or other resources to help you promote your work to the general public.


These articles offer some tips for effectively communicating science to lay readers.

Bearzi, Maddalena. (2013, October 11). 5 simple tips for communicating science. National Geographichttp://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2013/10/11/5-simple-tips-for-communicating-science

Burke, Katie L. (2015, July 31). 12 tips for scientists writing for the general public. American Scientisthttp://www.americanscientist.org/blog/pub/12-tips-for-scientists-writing-for-the-general-public

Shepherd, Marshall (2016, November 22). 9 tips for communicating science to people who are not scientists. Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/sites/marshallshepherd/2016/11/22/9-tips-for-communicating-science-to-people-who-are-not-scientists/#68c2f36a297e


Inside HFES

Call for Papers: Replication Special Issue

Human Factors announces a call for papers in response to its replication initiative. In the first instance submissions should be a brief summary of the study to be replicated (probably no longer than two pages). This summary should include the following information:

  1. Name and author(s) of the study that has been selected for replication. The study can have been published in any reputable journal, and is not confined to Human Factors

  2. Why the study is worthy of replication. The reasons should be one or more of the following:

    1. The study forms the basis of an important theory, model, intervention or other significant finding in the HFES literature

    2. The study is controversial in some way

    3. The study is highly cited or often viewed (please provide numbers)

  3. Who will do the replication, and whether the researchers will be from a single lab or multiple labs (multiple labs encouraged)

  4. Whether the original author will be included in the research group (encouraged)

  5. Anticipated number of participants and power calculations/expectations (large numbers of participants encouraged)

This should be submitted directly to Judy Edworthy, Replications Associate Editor (jedworthy@plymouth.ac.uk) by the end of February 2017.

If the initial proposal is accepted, authors will be invited to submit a more lengthy and detailed proposal including details of the methodology and statistical analysis to be used. Further details on what will be required will be provided on acceptance of the outline proposal. If these are accepted after preliminary peer review, the accepted documents will be pre-registered in open access (the Open Science Framework) and authors will be invited to carry out their replication in the manner indicated.

The journal intends publishing the resultant articles provided that the research follows all agreed protocols (as retained in the OSF documents) and meets the usual high standards of clarity and exposition expected by the journal. All articles will be subject to peer review in the usual way, notwithstanding the purpose of the article, which is to attempt replication of a previously-published study.

Interested researchers should get in touch with Judy Edworthy if further clarification is required. Some key references are given below:

Jones, K. S., Derby, P. L., & Schmidlin, E. A. (2010). An investigation of the prevalence of replication research in human factors. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 52(5):586-95

Maxwell, S. E., Lau, M. Y., & Howard, G. S. (2015). Is psychology suffering from a replication crisis? What does "failure to replicate" really mean? American Psychologist, 70(6), 487

Open Science Collaboration. (2015). Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science, 349(6251), aac4716.


Inside HFES

Fellows and Awards Nominations Reminder

HFES Full Members and Fellows are invited to submit nominations for new Fellows and eight Society awards, which will be presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.


Fellow is a special class of Society membership, as established in the HFES Bylaws. Individuals may apply for Fellow status on their own behalf, or they may submit a nomination on behalf of another.

The Fellow nomination package (including instructions, nomination and recommendation forms, and supporting information) may be obtained from the Fellows page. You may also contact HFES Director of Member Services Carlos de Falla. Completed Fellow nomination packages must be received at the HFES office on or before February 1.


Nominations are invited for individuals whose contributions merit special recognition. The eight awards for which nominees are sought are as follows:

  • Hal W. Hendrick Distinguished International Colleague Award

  • PaulM. Fitts Education Award

  • A. R. Lauer Safety Award

  • Alexander C. Williams, Jr., Design Award

  • Jack A. Kraft Innovator Award

  • Oliver Keith Hansen Outreach Award

  • William C. Howell Young Investigator Award

  • Bentzi Karsh Early-Career Service Award

Nominees are not required to be HFES members, but only members may submit nominations. Submissions are due on or before March 31. To nominate,

  • submit the candidate's résumé or curriculum vitae, a nominating letter, and at least two but not more than three letters of support from individuals who know the candidate well enough to assess his or her candidacy in terms of the award's criteria;

  • compile all materials into a single PDF file; and

  • submit packages via e-mail to Lynn Strother.

For more information on the scope and criteria for HFES awards, please view the HFES Awards Web page.


Inside HFES

Entries Invited for Product Design Award

By Stanley H. Caplan, PDTG Award Committee Cochair

Win $1,000 and the recognition of your peers! The Product Design Technical Group (PDTG) of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society invites you to submit a nomination for the 2017 Stanley H. Caplan User-Centered Product Design Award. The award emphasizes both product design and the methods used to specify and achieve the design. There is no entry fee for the award, which is open to members and nonmembers of HFES and PDTG. Any human factors professional, product designer, or product team may participate. Please relay this information to potentially interested colleagues.

Consideration will be given to products, software, or systems that are used in the home, in the workplace, or while mobile, including consumer, commercial, and medical products but excluding military equipment or systems. The product or system being nominated must be operational at the time of submission. The product must be scheduled for commercial use within one year with no substantial changes or not have been on the market for more than three years prior to submission. Past winning products have been high tech and low tech, digital and non-digital and they have come from large and small companies and consulting firms. For more examples and complete details about submitting a product for consideration, visit the PDTG Web site at http://pdtg-hfes.blogspot.com.

The winners will be recognized at an award ceremony on October 10 at the HFES 2017 Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, and they will be asked to give a presentation on the product and process used for its development.

Call For Nominations

Nominations should be submitted by May 5. You may submit a nomination for your own work or the work of others. The winner(s) and any honorable mentions will be judged by a panel of experienced PDTG practitioners in early August. To submit a nomination, contact Stanley H. Caplan (scaplan@usabilityassociates.com).


HFES Meetings

Submissions Welcome for HFES 2017

The Call for Proposals is now open for submissions on any HF/E topic for presentation at the HFES 2017 International Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.

In addition to submitting your own work, we encourage you to spread the word to colleagues in allied fields who are engaged in research and practice on topics related to HF/E. If their work is accepted, you will be helping to extend the network for and discussions about the advancement of HF/E in safety-critical areas.


HFES Meetings

ErgoX 2017 Schedule Now Online

The preliminary program for this year's ErgoX has just been released, and registration will open January 17. More complete details about individual presentations will be added as they come in, so be sure to bookmark the ErgoX site for updates.

Highlights include the keynote by Alan Hedge, the preconference workshop on ergonomics tools and tips, spotlight talks on topics such as fatigue and extreme environments, and master classes for professionals in health care, extreme work environments, point of sale, and warehousing.


Other News

8th AHFE Conference Call For Papers

Papers for lecture presentations are being accepted for the 8th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics, which will take place on July 17–20, 2017, in Los Angeles, California.

The topic is "Advances in Predicting Human Error During Interactions With Advanced Technologies." Abstracts are due on January 20 and can be submitted here.


Other News

ACE–ODAM Joint Conference Call For Submissions

Oral presentations, panels, roundtables, symposia, and workshops are invited for the 12th International Symposium on Human Factors in Organizational Design and Management and the 48th Annual Conference of the Association of Canadian Ergonomists, a joint conference that will take place on July 31–August 3, 2017 in Banff, Alberta, Canada.

The conference will examine the contribution of HF/E to creating optimally safe performance in work systems. Research and practitioner contributions from multiple disciplines that are involved in the investigation, design, and implementation of interactions to improve the performance, safety, and well-being of people, systems, and organizations are invited. The submission deadline is February 3. For more information, visit the conference Web site.