Revisiting 'Weinberg's Choice': Classic Tensions in the Concept of Scientific Merit
Alvin Weinberg's classic and much debated two articles in Minerva, "Criteria for Scientific Choice" (1963) and "Criteria for Scientific Choice II - The Two Cultures" (1964), represent two of the first and most important attempts to create a meta-discourse about priority setting in science policy, and many of the points advanced remain relevant. The goal of this paper is to elaborate on the relevance of some of Weinberg's original arguments to priority setting today. We have singled out four issues for attention: The tension between scientific and institutional choice, the assumptions behind the triad of scientific, technological and social merit, the elusive 'externality from size' argument for funding promoted by Weinberg, and finally the problems involved in the idea of basic science as an 'overhead cost' for applied science, and applied science as an 'overhead' on a sectoral mission. These four issues will be elaborated from a policy perspective and connected to present day challenges for science and technology policy.
- Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
- Science and technology policy
- Scientific choice
- Applied science
- ISSN: 0026-4695