Mertonian Norms: CUDOS, Communalism, Universalism and Disinterestedness

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  • The Normative Structure of Science, 1973
  • Merton was the first thinker who applied Sociology to Science
  • He belongs to the Old School
  • He outlined the norms or values that govern scientific communities
  • Ethos of science or values of science
  • Norms and culture of scientific researchers
  • Morally right for researcher
  • They are informal in expression and transmission
  • Guidelines to develop practices
  • Work as ethical advice



  • Scientific idea or claim is not owned by one but all
  • Property cannot be claimed only recognition can be given
  • Scientific Claims should not rest on who is making it
  • Intellectual property
  • Secrecy not entertained
  • Promotes collective collaboration


  • Or communality
  • Findings of science are common property of scientific community
  • It means that the particulars of a scientist like race, ethnicity, gender have nothing to do with the ideas that he produces
  • Disregard socio-political status


  • Focus on identifying the truth
  • Not about own profits
  • Scientists should be rewarded for their selfless devotion and contribution to Science
  • Benefit of common scientific enterprise

Organized Scepticism

  • Not take things at face value
  • See proof and verify
  • Both in methodology and institutional codes of conduct
  • Proposed ideas should be tested
  • Every idea calls for regular and structured scrutiny


Q. 1. According to R. K. Merton, which of the following constitute the ‘ethos of science’ ?

A. Organised scepticism

B. Interestedness

C. Universalism

D. Communalism

E. Cognitivism

Choose the most appropriate answer from the options given below:

i. A, B, C

ii. E, C, A

iii. A, C, D

iv. C, D, E

Answer: iii. A, C, D

Q. 2. The counter norm of organized scepticism is ________

i. Organized dogmatism

ii. Conviction

iii. Faith and belief

iv. None of these

Answer: i. Organized dogmatism

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