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  • 1 Department of Sociology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-3340, USA
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In order to investigate the nature of Merton's contribution to the sociology of science, I examine how his work has been cited by groups of authors who are highly co-cited with Merton. The groups differ substantially both in terms of which of Merton's publications they cite, and how they cite them. This implies that subsequent scholars have found Merton's sociology of science work valuable for many different reasons. This pattern is probably true for Merton's sociological oeuvre as a whole, and suggests that scholarly preeminence in the social sciences consists of making contributions that many different groups of scholars judge to be useful in justifying the importance of their own research.

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  • 2. Merton, R. K. 1957 Priorities in Scientific Discovery: A chapter in the sociology of science American Sociological Review 22 635659.

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  • 3. For example, the various editions of Merton's Social Theory and Social Structure, probably the most cited collection of essays in sociology, include his early papers in the sociology of science.

  • 4. Merton, R. K. 1973 The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations Univ. Chicago Press Chicago.

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  • 7. Latour, B., Woolgar, S., Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts, Beverly Hills, CA, Sage, p. 24.

  • 8. Latour, B., Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society, Cambridge, MA, Harvard Univ. Press, p. 263.

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  • 10. Merton, R. K. 1945 Sociology of knowledge Gurvitch, G. Moore, W. E. (eds.) Twentieth Century Sociology Philosophical Library New York.

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  • 11. Merton, R. K. 1938 Science, Technology and Society in Seventeenth-Century England Osiris: Studies on the History and Philosophy of Science Saint Catherine Press Bruges, Belgium.

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  • 12. Shapin, S. 1988 Understanding the Merton thesis Isis 79 594605.

  • 13. Bazerman, C. 1988 Shaping Written Knowledge: The Genre and Activity of the Experimental Article in Science Univ. of Wisconsin Press Madison, WI 278288.

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  • 17. Merton, R. K. 2000 On the Garfield input to the sociology of science: A retrospective collage Cronin, B. Atkins, H. B. (eds.) The Web of Knowledge: A Festschrift in Honor of Eugene Garfield Information Today Medford, NJ.

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  • 18. Price, D. J. D. 1986 Little Science, Big Science…And Beyond Columbia Univ. Press New York.

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