Dr Anthony F.J. van Raan

Photo by Sander Pardon
Professor em. of Quantitative Studies of Science

Anthony F.J. van Raan ( Breda , the Netherlands) is Professor em. of Quantitative Studies of Science, Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University , Leiden, The Netherlands.
E-mail: vanraan at cwts.leidenuniv.nl

Anthony (Ton) van Raan studied mathematics, physics and astronomy at the University of Utrecht (with 1999 Nobel Laureate Martin Veltman as one of his theoretical physics teachers) and graduated (M.Sc.) in 1969. In 1973 he received a PhD in physics at the University of Utrecht, with a thesis on the interaction between electrons and helium atoms.

From 1969 to 1973 he was junior lecturer and researcher in Utrecht, from 1973 to 1977 post-doctoral research fellow (assistant professor) at the University of Bielefeld (Germany) teaching physics and astrophysics, and from 1977 senior lecturer and research fellow in Leiden. He has been visiting scientist in several universities and research institutes in the US, UK, and France. Previous work in experimental atomic and molecular physics, laser-physics, astrophysics. In 1985 'field switch' from physics to science and technology (S&T) studies; 1986 senior researcher (associate professor) and (founding) director of CWTS. In 1991 appointment as full Professor of Quantitative Studies of Science. In 2010 he retired as director of CWTS while remaining research/emeritus professor.

Professor Van Raan published (as author and co-author) about thirty articles in physics and more than hundred in science and technology studies. He is the editor of the standard Handbook of Quantitative Studies of Science and Technology (Elsevier) and member of the editorial advisory boards of the international journals Research Evaluation , Scientometrics and the Journal of Informetrics .

Current research

Professor Van Raan's main research area concerns the design, construction and application of quantitative indicators on important aspects of science and technology. His work covers the development of scientific and technological fields; analysis of scientific progress and assessment of scientific performance; statistical properties of indicators, mapping of science and technology and in particular research related to important socio-economic issues; science as a 'self-organizing' cognitive ecosystem. In this work he uses elements of physics and mathematics, particularly complex systems. In this context he also studies scaling phenomema in urban systems.

Teaching and PhD supervision

Professor Van Raan initiated about fifteen years ago the annual CWTS Graduate Course in science and technology studies. He is a key note lecturer in the annual European Summerschool for Scientometrics (ESSS).

Professor van Raan is (so far, 2016) the supervisor of 13 PhD examinations.

Participation in advisory committees

Professor Van Raan's advisory work has been frequently used by the government of the Netherlands, and other European Union member states, by the European Commission, the OECD, by other European scientific organizations such as the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and by the business sector (Elsevier). He recently (2013-2015) has been member of the Expert Group on Monitoring and Evaluation of the European Research Council (ERC)

Further memberships

Netherlands Royal Society for Astronomy and Meteorology ( NVWS ), Netherlands Physics Society
(NNV), International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics ( ISSI ).


In 1995 he received in Chicago, together with the American sociologist Robert K. Merton, the Derek de Solla Price Award , the highest international award in the field of quantitative studies of science.
On the occasion of his retirement as CWTS director in 2010, Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands appointed Professor van Raan to Ridder (Knight) in the Order of the Dutch Lion (Nederlandse Leeuw ).


Publications from 1990 are listed annually under 'Publications' in the CWTS website. Professor van Raan's research has appeared in a wide variety of outstanding international journals such as The Physical Review, Journal of Physics, Scientometrics, Research Policy, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Nature, Physica A. We here present the publications from 2000 in pdf-format.


Centre for Science and Technology Studies
Leiden University
P.O. Box 9555
2300 RB Leiden
The Netherlands
Tel.: +31 715273909 (secr.)
E-mail: vanraan@cwts.leidenuniv.nl

CWTS is located close to Leiden Central Station and to the historic city centre of Leiden. The institute can be reached very conveniently by bike, car, train. Leiden has excellent connections with the rest of the world. Amsterdam International Airport Schiphol is within 12 direct intercity train minutes.


Professor van Raan is owner of a small spin-off company Science Consult for advise on research evaluation and science policy issues.


Professor Van Raan is a member of the Board of the Foundation Lucas van Leyden to support the Art Museum De Lakenhal.
He is also board member of the Leiden Regio Kring to stimulate the socio-economic development of the Leiden urban area. Professor van Raan is the ‘inventor’ of the now widely used device 'Leiden Stad van Ontdekkingen' (Leiden City of Discoveries) and also the founder of the ‘discoveries trail’ through the old city center of Leiden , see http://leidendiscoveries.nl/en. He often acts as an advisor for the municipality and the city council in issues related to the development of the city of Leiden and its relation with University.

Professor Van Raan lives in Leiden with his wife Paula Wilke. They have three sons, Clemens, Lukas and Paul, and two grandchildren Max and Suze.