International Federation for Systems Research

The International Federation for Systems Research (IFSR) is an international federation for global and local societies in the field of systems science. This federation is a non-profit, scientific and educational agency founded in 1980, and constituted of some forty-three member organizations from various countries.


The overall purpose of the Federation is to advance cybernetic and systems research and systems applications and to serve the international systems community. For this purpose the federation wants to coordinate systems research among member organizations. They are focused on the organization and sponsorship of research and development, international meetings and workshops in the field. More specific the federation wants to develop and promote international programs and publications in the area of systems research and applications.

Other tasks include the development and promotion of:

For its member organizations the federation seeks coordinating programs and provides assistance to them.

The IFSR was founded on 12 March 1980 by the American Society for General Systems Research (now ISSS), the Austrian Society for Cybernetic Studies, and the Dutch Systems Group with George Klir as first president of the IFSR.[1] The International Academy of Systems and Cybernetic Sciences (IASCYS) was originally founded 2010 by the International Federation for Systems Research.

Member organizations

The IFSR is a member organizations of over 43 systems science worldwide[2] such as:

Journal, bookseries, and newsletter

The IFSR Journal of Systems Research was established in 1984 but was merged with the International Society for the Systems Sciences's Journal of Behavioural Science in 1997, forming the Journal of Systems Research and Behavioural Science.[3] The Journal aims to stimulate disciplined inquiry and provides transdisciplinary focus for the exchange of ideas and knowledge; relating to the analysis, design, development, and management of systems and programs. The journal (ISSN 1092-7026), is edited by Michael C. Jackson and is published six times a year.

This IFSR Book Series provides a publication avenue for high quality systems literature. George Klir (State University New York City, Springer Publishing) is the editor of the book series. The editorial board for the IFSR International book series[4] includes:

  • Gerrit Broekstra, Nyenrode University, The Netherlands Business School, Netherlands
  • John L. Casti, Santa Fe Institute, NM, USA
  • Brian R. Gaines, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Ivan M. Havel, Center for Theoretical Study, Charles University, Czech Republic
  • Klaus Kornwachs, Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus, Germany
  • Franz Pichler, Institute of Systems Science, Johannes Kepler University of Linz, Austria

The IFSR Newsletter is the informal newsletter of the IFSR (hard copy: ISSN 1818-0809, online: ISSN 1818-0817), published once or twice a year since 1981, edited by Paul F de. P. Hanika (1981–1985), Robert Trappl (1985), Steven Sokoloff (1986 – 1994), and Gerhard Chroust (1993–present).[5] The newsletter informs member societies about new academic work, updates on fellow member societies and prominent scientists, updates on past systems conferences and plans for future conferences. Back issues of newsletters are available on the web site.

IFSR Conversations

The Conversations, initially held in Fuschl near Salzburg, Austria, were established by the IFSR in 1980 and are held biennially. The Conversations convene approximately 30 - 40 systems scientists from around the world to discuss systemic issues and develop understanding relevant for society and its environment. The last IFSR Conversation was held in 2014 in St. Magdalena, Linz, Austria. Work is currently underway in planning the 2016 IFSR Conversation.

The Conversations were established primarily under the guidance of Bela H. Banathy, as an alternative to traditional conferences.[6] A number of systems professionals found that they were disillusioned with a format in which the majority of the time was spent on papers being read or presented to passive listeners, with minimal time for discussion and interaction about the ideas. As described by Bela, they were to be:

"Conversations were introduced by Bela H. Banathy around 1980 as an alternative to the classical conferences which usually consist only of presentation of streamlined papers and short question slots. In a Conversation a small group of systems scientists and practitioners meets for several days to discuss in a self-guided way a topic of scientific and social importance. A Conversations is preceded by an intensive off-line preparation phase (including exchanges of ‘input papers’), followed by the face-to-face discussion at the Conversation and followed by a post-conversation consolidation period. No papers are presented during the conversation, the participants discuss face-to-face their topic, often modifying it in the course of the conversation."[7]

The results of the conference are published in the Proceedings of the IFSR Conversations. This document publishes the team reports plus several contributed papers. A short description of the IFSR’s activities completes the proceedings. The Proceedings are distributed to member societies and conference attendees, and are also available online at the site. The 2012 Proceedings are available at: The Proceedings of the IFSR Conversation 2012, St. Magdalena, Linz. The most current Proceedings (2014) are available at: . Previous Proceedings are also available online in the Archives section of the website.

The Conversations have led to significant development of a theoretical basis for Systems Engineering, progress in the evolution of Cybernetics to Second Order Science, continuing elucidation of GST* (General Systems Theory), and informing Systems Research. These developments are described in the IFSR Newsletter .

Past presidents

More prominent system scientists have been officers of the IFSR since 1980.[5] Presidents of the federation were:

IFSR 2014-2016 Executive Committee[8]

International Academy of Systems and Cybernetic Sciences

On April 7, 2010 the General Assembly of the IFSR approved the founding of the International Academy of Systems and Cybernetic Sciences (IASCYS).[9]

IASCYS is aimed to honor and activate outstanding members of IFSR member-associations. While no one can apply for membership in IASCYS as an individual, every member association of the IFSR can suggest candidates in an official letter supplying all official data on the candidate’s scientific and professional achievement in accordance with the criteria of the IASCYS.

IASCYS fills in the gap resulting from the failure of national and international academies of sciences and arts to include systems and cybernetic sciences in their list of sciences and arts and have their outstanding professionals included in academy membership.

In order to honor the most distinguished Systems and Cybernetics professionals and to simultaneously to promote the systems thinking world view of holism, each year during a ceremonial assembly, a selected academic receives the Bertalanffy/Wiener medal of the Academy.

The officers of the IASCYS Executive Committee are:

See also


  1. Gerhard Chroust, 25 Years of the IFSR: A Milestone in the Systems Sciences, retrieved 16 April 2008.
  2. Listing of 43 member organizations IFSR, 2013.
  3. Journals: Systems Research and Behavioural Science Merge, IFSR Newsletter 1997 Vol 16. No. 4 December, pp. 4
  4. Editorial Board for the IFSR International Book Series on Systems Science and Engineering
  5. 1 2 Appendix: What is the IFSR? IFSR Conversations 2012, Proceedings of the IFSR Conversation 2012, St. Magdalena, Linz, Austria, 2012, pp. 109
  6. 16th IFSR Conversation 2012 “Systems and Science at Crossroads” St. Magdalena April 14 to 19, IFSR Newsletter 2012 Vol. 29 No. 1 September, pp. 14
  7. Looking back at St. Magdalena 2012: IFSR Conversations 2012, Proceedings of the IFSR Conversation 2012, St. Magdalena, Linz, Austria, pp. 1
  8. The New Executive Committee of the IFSR, IFSR Newsletter 2014 Vol. 31 No. 1 August, pp. 3
  9. International Academy of Systems and Cybernetic Sciences (IASCYS), IFSR Newsletter 2010 Vol. 27 No. 2 December, pp. 4

External links

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