Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Critiques of Big Science

Martin, Joseph D.



Panagiotis Charitos

Theodore Arabatzis

Harry Cliff

Günther Dissertori

Juliette Forneris

Jason Li-Ying


The name “big science,” like “big bang” or “big pharma,” began as a slur. Big science, that is, has been the subject of critique for at least as long as we have had a name for it. This chapter explores that legacy. It demonstrates how big science became pivot point in disagreements over the social and cultural value of scientific inquiry, how those debates exposed disciplinary rivalries and jealousies, and how debates about the merits of big science within the science community translated into the world of policymaking, in particular as big science became megascience toward the end of the twentieth century.


Martin, J. D. (in press). Critiques of Big Science. In P. Charitos, T. Arabatzis, H. Cliff, G. Dissertori, J. Forneris, & J. Li-Ying (Eds.), Big Science in the 21st Century: Economic and Societal Impacts. IOP Publishing

Acceptance Date Aug 18, 2021
Deposit Date Aug 19, 2021
Publisher IOP Publishing
Book Title Big Science in the 21st Century: Economic and Societal Impacts
Chapter Number 7
ISBN 9780750336291
Public URL
Publisher URL