The ISHPSSB was formed in 1989 in order to hold a biennial meeting, bringing together researchers interested in biology as a discipline, and specifically in its history, philosophy and sociology. One of the driving forces was Richard M. Burian.

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The Society's operations are guided by the operations manual, follow the operational calendar, and are bound by the bylaws. The officers (executive committee) and other council members are elected every two years in the runup to the Society's meeting. The editorial board, which deals with the communications of the society (website, newsletter, listserv), consists of council members and non-elected volunteers. Past candidate descriptions as well as past committees and officers can be found in the operations archive.