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Inaugural lectures by Sarah de Rijcke and Ludo Waltman

July 11th, 2019

In the past two months, two inaugural lectures were delivered by recently appointed CWTS professors. On May 17, Sarah de Rijcke, professor of Science and Evaluation Studies, gave her lecture Taking stock of research evaluation and the conditions for conducting research. On June 21, Ludo Waltman, professor of Quantitative Science Studies, delivered his lecture Quantitative literacy for responsible research policy.

In her inaugural lecture, Sarah described how the fundamental research in her chair draws together a number of shared concerns from the international debate on the state of the science system. Her work focuses on the conditions for conducting research (including evaluation, funding) in relation to developments in the content of the research. An important ambition for the chair is to work towards a combination of ethnographic and computational methods, informed by concepts from science and technology studies. Sarah also made a plea for more responsible approaches to research evaluation, and to stop mainly outsourcing evaluative decisions to bureaucratic procedures and insensitive indicators. She demonstrated that for this kind of work the conceptual and methodological tools of the social sciences and humanities are absolutely critical.

Ludo started his inaugural lecture by discussing the improvements made to the indicators, algorithms, and software tools used by CWTS. He explained how these improvements have led to better ways in which scientometric methods support the evaluation of scientific research. Ludo then talked about contextualized scientometrics. In this new approach to scientometrics, scientometric analyses are made fully transparent, enabling a deep engagement of end users in the interpretation of the analyses. Ludo emphasized that contextualized scientometrics requires openly available scientometric data sources. Finally, Ludo called for higher levels of quantitative literacy to improve the way scientometric analyses are used to inform research policy. Improvements need to be made in research and education. In addition, Ludo stressed the importance of having realistic expectations from scientometric analyses.

The two inaugural lectures were in Dutch, but the texts of the lectures have also been translated to English. The Dutch and English texts are now available for download.


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