The Ethos of Science in Contemporary Poland

Jacek Bieliński, Aldona Tomczyńska

2019 Minerva, T. 56, s. 151-173

Modern science is moving away from Michael Polanyi’s vision of ‘the Republic of Science’ and gradually becoming subordinate to political and economic social institutions. This process is accompanied by changes in the normative structure of science. Poland provides an interesting case for empirical study of the scientific ethos mostly because in a relatively short time it experienced a significant reform of the science system, especially in terms of evaluating and financing scientific work. In this paper we examine whether different sets of values and norms are embedded into the normative structure of science in contemporary Poland. The results of a representative survey conducted among 801 researchers were examined with the use of confirmatory factor analysis and fuzzy clustering. The statistical analysis revealed a great complexity in the normative structure of science that goes beyond the expectations formulated on the basis of the theories reviewed. We identified three distinctive groups of researchers, guided by different sets of values and norms in their professional conduct (academic science, post-academic science and the industrial science) and a cluster of researchers with an unidentified system of principles. We argue that the complexity of the normative structure of science should be taken into account in the decision-making regarding any future reforms of the science system.