The first year of this 3 year study focused on an analysis of the historical formation of scientific community in Korea. We examined when and how scientific community emerged and grew in relation to macro social changes in Korea over the four periods( ...
The first year of this 3 year study focused on an analysis of the historical formation of scientific community in Korea. We examined when and how scientific community emerged and grew in relation to macro social changes in Korea over the four periods(birth/foundation building/growth/differentiation). In the era of Enlightenment and Japanese colonial rule, which amounts to the birth period of the Korean scientific community, modern science was introduced to Korea by those studying in Japan and the USA, who regarded scientific development as the key to achieve the independence from Japan as well as the enlightenment of the nation. Then the period from the Liberation and the American military government to the Korean War seriously affected the incipient Korean scientific community through severe ideological confrontation and mass migration(to either north or south) of many scientists and engineers. This not only caused the division and reduction of the scientific community, but also served as the moment that made the avoidance of ideological matters and the indifference to social concerns as the typical attitudes of Korean scientists and engineers. The growth period was the 1960s and 1970s, in which the government led with a strong initiative the development of science and technology by establishing government-sponsored research institutes including KIST. During this period, scientific community heavily depended on government and embraced widely its developmentalism and patriotism represented by such an official slogan of 'kwahak-kisool-ipkook'. In the 1980s and 1990s, private companies increased their R & D investment and universities also enjoyed the increase of government support in their scientific research. As a result, the Korean scientific community diversified its institutional affiliation and social relations into universities, research institutions, and industries. And, as a consequence of globalization, it entered the period of differentiation in which market as well as government became its important environment.
The second year of this study focused on an analysis of the structural characteristics of the Korean scientific community in terms of its norms, reward system, stratification, and gender inequality. First, we examined whether the Merton's norms and statist value, which had been indicated as a typical value to Korean scientists, were actually effective or not. In the survey results, we found the differences among respondents by age, gender, major, and affiliated institutions. Second, we analyzed the trend and role of scientific prizes and medals as a form of reward system in the Korean scientific community. We found that such prizes and medals were not the results of autonomous activities of scientific community as seen in Western countries, but the incentives that government planned and offered according to its industrial and science policies. Third, as regards stratification of the Korean scientific community, we confirmed not only the existence of structural inequality in terms of three major recognition types-productivity, citation, research funds- but also the phenomenon of cumulative advantage.
The third year of this study focused on the process of socialization and identity formation of Korean scientists. In the results of survey and focus group interviews, we found that the role of seniors was greater than professors in the process of learning tacit knowledge necessary for laboratory experiments, and that the transfer of such tacit knowledge was systematically institutionalized. We also found that collectivist culture rather than competitive individualist culture was dominant. As regards identity of Korean scientists, the most important elements were autonomy and expertise. We found that identity of a scientist was not fixed and uniformed but constructed actively by science graduates.