Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Resistance to the Systematic Study of Multiple Discoveries in Science


The pages of the history of science record thousands of instances of similar discoveries having been made by scientists working independently of one another. Sometimes the discoveries are simultaneous or almost so; sometimes a scientist will make anew a discovery which, unknown to him, somebody else had made years before. Such occurrences suggest that discoveries become virtually inevitable when prerequisite kinds of knowledge and tools accumulate in man's cultural store and when the attention of an appreciable number of investigators becomes focussed on a problem, by emerging social needs, by developments internal to the science, or by both. Since at least 1917, when the anthropologist A. L. Kroeber published his influential paper dealing in part with the subject (I) and especially since 1922, when the sociologists William F. Ogburn and Dorothy S. Thomas compiled a list of some 150 cases of multiple independent discoveries and inventions (2), this hypothesis has become firmly established in sociological thought.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Bernhard J. Stern , Society and Medical Progress (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1941)

Bernard Barber , “Resistance by scientists to scientific discovery”, Science, 09 1, 1961, 134, 596602

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

European Journal of Sociology / Archives Européennes de Sociologie
  • ISSN: 0003-9756
  • EISSN: 1474-0583
  • URL: /core/journals/european-journal-of-sociology-archives-europeennes-de-sociologie
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 26 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 221 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 29th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.