The Rewards System Of Science

1895 Words Oct 30th, 2014 8 Pages
In this paper I will summarize Merton’s description of the rewards system of science. I ask, “What should a good rewards system look like?” I make a normative proposition that we ought to completely separate the laboratories and businesses that provide the tools for scientists from the scientists themselves. I envision a style of science that allows individuals and teams of scientists to engage in open-source science that allows them to contract out their skills to particular institutions and groups that need a scientific service.
I ask not what is good for science, but what is good for scientists? Feyerabend was right to point out the fact that Kuhn might be ignoring individual scientists in his pursuit for a structure of science. While Feyerabend was concerned with what happens to the morals of scientists and Kuhn was concerned with the general structure, I want to explore what would be best for both science and scientists. This will be a restructuring of the rewards system. Merton claimed that the basic currency for scientific reward is recognition (Godfrey-Smith 123). He argues that the best reward is being the first person to come up with an idea. Merton also claims that this is the only property right in science. The best case scenario is having an idea named after one’s self; i.e. Darwinism, Planck’s Constant, and Boyle’s Law. Merton gives examples that give credence to his idea of a rewards system. He discusses the altercations between Newton and Hooke, and Newton…

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