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Social networking and scientific communication: A paradoxical return to Mertonian roots?



Although modes of interaction between the two continue to evolve, society and science are inextricably linked. Preserving the integrity of science, and by extension society, in the era of Twitter and Facebook represents a significant challenge. The concept of open communication in science is not a new one. Sociologist and scientific historian Robert Merton elegantly chronicled the qualities, or “norms” of science as Communism, Universalism, Disinterestedness, and Organized Scepticism, referred to by the acronym “CUDOS.” Is social networking providing us with more efficient ways of upholding deep-rooted principles, or are we at risk of compromising the integrity of science by bypassing traditional gatekeepers?