Success in research and innovation should primarily build and depend on merit, on clarity of thought, innovation of ideas, and integrity of processes. While the state-of-play of the current scientific system is far removed from this ideal, open science and responsible research innovation hold the promise to change this for the better. ON-MERRIT (Observing and Negating Matthew Effects in Responsible Research & Innovation Transition) investigates whether the transition to open science and responsible research innovation might actually worsen existing inequalities. To this end, the multidisciplinary team uses qualitative and computational methods to examine effects of cumulative (dis)advantages and eventually suggest a set of evidence-based recommendations for science policies, indicators and incentives. This talk introduces ON-MERRIT’s rationale and aims in greater depth, as well as presenting initial results and discussing further steps.