The reason such a plethora of terms has proliferated is that each comes with the baggage - like how 'citizen science' might sound to an undocumented worker - of preconceived notions and affiliation with a particular structure of program. No one term has yet emerged to describe the wide spectrum of participatory science. Here at OST, we’ve decided to use the term ‘citizen science’ for a variety of reasons, most notably that it’s one of the easiest to understand and becoming one of the most popular. But we still have feelings about the term, so we’ve done a straw poll of staff members to see how they feel.
Shapin observed that the link Merton drew between Puritanism and seventeenth-century English science was a matter of happenstance rather than determinism. According to Merton, science requires certain “values” and “sentiments” allowing intellectual individualism, and fostering not only an interest in the transcendent, but also secular improvement. It so happened that these values and sentiments were to be found in Puritan asceticism and sense of social obligation, which thus provided a social context in which science could develop.
Definitively, this was not to say that Puritanism provided a unique source of these values and sentiments, or that science did not have other roots. It was obviously possible for science to develop in Catholic contexts as well, despite the less hospitable value system of Catholicism. The confluence of values simply seemed to promise some insight into the growth of science in a particular time and place.