ON-MERRIT - Project details

Observing and Negating Matthew Effects in Responsible Research and Innovation Transition


The open science community is working on making science more transparent, participatory and reproducible and aims to create an inclusive and equitable research environment.

But does opening up processes automatically make the system more equitable, drive re-use and engagement? Does open science actually remove privileges in academia and help to overcome cumulative advantages, so called Matthew Effects?

ON-MERRIT (Observing and Negating Matthew Effects in Responsible Research & Innovation Transformation) investigates the impact of open science practices in industry, policy making, and academia to answer these questions. The project aims to eventually suggest a set of evidence-based policy recommendations, which ensure that the scientific system actually becomes more equitable, instead of worsening existing inequalities or creating new ones.

Various parts of ON-MERRIT will zoom into the disciplines agriculture, climate and health, which are key areas of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Gender will be a cross-cutting issue throughout the whole project.

Our multidisciplinary team will use a combination of qualitative and computational methods, complemented by stakeholder engagement and co-creation in order to examine the advantages and disadvantages in responsible and open research practices.

Building on the results ON-MERRIT will put together a set of recommendations for science policies, indicators and incentives, which could address and mitigate Matthew effects, such as:

  • policies for funding and research organisations
  • indicators for assessing research output and quality
  • incentives to foster scientific practices that increase transparency, equity, participation and reproducibility

ON-MERRIT aims at contributing to a system that rewards researchers based on merit, rather than on their reputation/prestige of groups they belong to, or their previous achievements.


  • Producing policy recommendations for a more equitable scientific system
  • Investigating OS impact in industry, academia and policy making using qualitative and computational methods
  • Key topics: SDGs: Agriculture, climate and health + gender as cross-cutting issue

Main Activities of the Göttingen State and University Library

  • Lead of communication work package
  • Lead of task ‘Investigation of open science practices in patent literature’



Project board at the SUB Göttingen

Project staff at the SUB Göttingen

SUB Göttingen departments / units involved in the project

Former project staff of the SUB Göttingen

Helene Brinken, Ilaria Fava, Nils Windisch