The norm of universalism in sciences. Social origin and gender of researchers in Denmark

  • Andersen H
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Abstract

Implied by the norm of universalism in modern science, known from Merton's CUDOS-norm set, is the demand that scientific careers should be open to talents, independent of personal attributes such as race, religion, class, and gender. In spite of a large amount of studies related to CUDOS-norms very few deals with class origin of researchers. Based on a survey among a sample of 788 Danish researchers this article investigates class bias, compared to gender bias in researcher recruitment and careers, and researcher assessments of impartiality and objectivity of evaluations and reward system. The data demonstrate very strong class bias, and also confirm the well-known gender bias in recruitment, class bias being the strongest. This is shown to be mainly because of bias in the educational system, however. Concerning later career attainment bias is also found, but much weaker, and most pronounced concerning social origin. Regarding researcher assessments of impartiality there are no indications of strong mistrust among researchers in general; nor are there significant differences in degree of trust in reward system, conditioned by class origin or gender. In conclusion, the analysis does not lend strong support to an assumption of deviance from norms of universalism.

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Authors

  • Heine Andersen

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