Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - RMZ





Prof. Dr. Martin Reinhart, professor of science studies, is the founder and executive director of the center.

Prof. Dr. Vivien Petras, professor of information studies, is the acting director.

Advisory Board


The advisory board consists of professors and academic staff and is elected within the status groups by the general assembly.

The advisory board currently consists of:

Beck, Petra

Robert K. Merton Zentrum

Prof. Dr. Knut Blind

Institut für Technologie und Management, Technische Universität Berlin

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Dirnagl

Charité; Berliner Institut für Gesundheitsforschung

Dr. Stephan Gauch

Robert K. Merton Zentrum

Prof. Dr. Anke te Heesen

Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität

Prof. Dr. Jörg Niewöhner

Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Humboldt-Universität

Prof. Dr. Vivien Petras

Institut für Bibliotheks- und Informationswissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität

Prof. Dr. Martin Reinhart

Robert K. Merton Zentrum

Dr. Cornelia Schendzielorz

Robert K. Merton Zentrum
General Assembly


The general assembly determines the principles of the work of the RMZ.

It is made up of scientists who are involved in the Center's projects and / or who have proven themselves in research and teaching in the field of science studies.

The assembly takes place once per year. It elects the members of the advisory board, receives the report from the executive director and supports the advisory board.


Next assembly in Winter term 2024/25: tba



Statute of the Robert K. Merton Center (german).

Robert K. Merton


The center is named after Robert K. Merton, who plays a key role in the study of science for two reasons:

First, he founded the sociology of science beginning in the 1930s, laying the foundation for research on science that is equally theoretical and empirical. He combines discussions from the history of science, philosophy of science, and sociology (esp. the German-language debate on the sociology of knowledge) into a research program that could be called a first school in the study of science. Central insights and a theory about the functioning of science go back to Merton and are received up to the present. In terms such as "Matthew effect," "Merton thesis," "ethos of science," or "obliteration by incorporation," these have also become known far beyond the boundaries of the discipline.

Second, Merton himself becomes a case of what he calls ambivalence in research. Namely, from the 1970s onward, he becomes an ambivalent figure in a research on science that not only breaks away from his influence, but also differentiates itself into a diverse research landscape with a wide variety of perspectives. Mertonʾs science studies is where the debate ignites as to which are the better methodological and theoretical approaches to science studies.

Up to the present, debates can be found in which one is either with or against Merton. At any rate, the name Merton shows the dynamism, disputability, and ambivalence that are constitutive not only of science research but, as he himself emphasized, constitutive of any form of research.

The Robert K. Merton Center would like to take this discursive, negotiating, questioning and questioning understanding of science into account and promote a dialogical and multi-perspective science research.