Messing with Merton: The intersection between open science practices and Mertonian values

Mohammad Hosseini*, Enric Senabre Hidalgo, Serge P J M Horbach, Stephan Güttinger, Bart Penders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Although adherence to Mertonian values of science (i.e., communism, universalism, organized skepticism, disinterestedness) is desired and promoted in academia, such adherence can cause friction with the normative structures and practices of Open Science. Mertonian values and Open Science practices aim to improve the conduct and communication of research and are promoted by institutional actors. However, Mertonian values remain mostly idealistic and contextualized in local and disciplinary cultures and Open Science practices rely heavily on third-party resources and technology that are not equally accessible to all parties. Furthermore, although still popular, Mertonian values were developed in a different institutional and political context. In this article, we argue that new normative structures for science need to look beyond nostalgia and consider aspirations and outcomes of Open Science practices. To contribute to such a vision, we explore the intersection of several Open Science practices with Mertonian values to flesh out challenges involved in upholding these values. We demonstrate that this intersection becomes complicated when the interests of numerous groups collide and contrast. Acknowledging and exploring such tensions informs our understanding of researchers' behavior and supports efforts that seek to improve researchers' interactions with other normative structures such as research ethics and integrity frameworks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalAccountability in Research-Policies and Quality Assurance
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Nov 2022

Cite this