New research on scientific performance

Can you measure the impact of science on society? What are the disadvantages of ever more rankings and scoreboards? And what is the effect of the current culture of evaluation on knowledge? These are some of the central questions posed in the new research programme of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (Centrum voor Wetenschaps- en Technologiestudies (CWTS)).

Meeting a need

There is a growing need among managers of universities and research institutes for instruments that measure performance. The Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) is responding to this need with their new research programme, Merit, Expertise and Measurement. The CWTS is a world leader in the field of scientometrics: the systematic measuring of the quality of research. Thanks to the CWTS, scientometrics now has a strong foundation, so that the Centre can focus on addressing new problems. In addition, the Centre also aims to provide scientometrics with a stronger theoretical basis.

Making way for new issues

An example of a new problem is the misuse or incorrect interpretation of bibliometric indicators. Bibliometrics makes it possible to determine which scientists are cited most often. This does not however mean that the number of citations is a direct measure of scientific quality. In order to reach a common set of quality standards of bibliometric indicators, one of the key themes of the new research programme is international collaboration. Another example of a new problem is the need to evaluate technical sciences, social sciences and humanities in their own right. This requires new indicators.

Five new working groups

The research programme is carried out by five new work groups, each led by a senior researcher.

  • Advanced bibliometric methodology (Dr Ludo Waltman)

  • The practice of evaluating in context (Dr Sarah de Rijcke)

  • Bibliometric indicators for Humanities and Social Sciences (Dr Theo van Leeuwen)

  • Social impact of research (Dr Ingeborg Meijer)

  • Career policy in the academic world (Dr Inge van der Weijden)


These five working groups are closely collaborating with the already existing research chairs of CWTS:

  • Scientometrics (Professor Paul Wouters)

  • Innovation Studies (Professor Robert Tijssen)

  • Science Policy Studies (Professor Cornelis van Bochove)


(22 December 2012)

See also

Last Modified: 03-01-2013