How closely do we conform to Merton’s norms?
Merton’s norms speak to an idealized scientific ethos whereby researchers prioritize openness, integrity, and transparency. But how closely do researchers really conform to Merton’s norms? To find out, Dr. Melissa Anderson and her colleagues, in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), surveyed early-career and mid-career researchers on (1) their level of agreement with Merton’s norms, (2) the degree to which they followed those norms themselves, and (3) their perception of other scientists’ conformity to the norms. The study revealed a striking cognitive dissonance within the scientific community.
If you have access to the original article (through your academic institution or journal subscription), it can be found here. If you don’t have access, the following articles are good alternatives:
- “Measuring the Prevalence of Questionable Research Practices with Incentives for Truth Telling.” by Leslie K. John, et al.
- “How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Survey Data” by Daniele Fanelli.
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