Intellectual property, Mertonian norms, and academia: Issues and conflicts, 1916-1990

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Harland G. Bloland - Committee Chair


This study focuses primarily on American academic scientists and innovative interactions between these scientists, the university, industry, and the state, between 1916-1990. The purpose of this study was to support the hypothesis that Mertonian norms are undergoing evolutionary change. Merton (1942) elucidated what were thought to be immutable scientific norms. The philosopher Paul Schrecker (1948) argued that all norms directing human work evolve. Analysis of historical events and thematic analysis of pertinent literature demonstrates continuing change in normative behaviors actually extending back to 1860. Findings were applied to the Kondratieff-Schumpeterian economic long-wave to help explain the evolution of scientific norms. Findings support Schrecker's hypothesis that norms evolve; Schrecker's hypothesis that innovations are the result of acts arising from (herein known as) "unlawful-S" normative behavior; Schrecker's hypothesis that the provinces of civilization are isomorphic and that normative change in one is reflected in change in another; Kondratieff's and Schumpeter's hypothesis that innovations occur predominately in recessionary times and drive the economic cycle; Kondratieff's and Schumpeter's hypothesis of a long-wave economic cycle of 50-55 years, demonstrating that a similar cycle exists in the province of science. The author concludes that normative changes are often initiated by academic scientists; that scientific norms evolve in wave-like cycles, alternating between traditional and non-traditional normative periods with an approximate 50-55 year cycle; that non-traditional periods correspond to recessionary periods of innovation bolstering Schrecker's arguments that innovation results from "unlawful-S" behavior and Kondratieff and Schumpeter's arguments that innovations fuel economic recovery; that traditional periods, corresponding to periods of prosperity, are periods of assimilation of previously "unlawful-S" behaviors; that normative shifts in science, as in social mores, lead the Kondratieff wave by approximately 10 years; that normative shifts are initiated by Schreckerian "apostolic work"; that science is intertwined with, affects, and is effected by, changes in, the state, the economy, and the university.


Economics, Theory; Education, History of; History of Science; Education, Higher

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