The Scientometrics chair furthers the theoretical understanding of the role and construction of science and technology indicators. The main focus is on citation and communication theories and models, and on the implications of the citation culture.


The last couple of decades have seen an unprecedented growth of evaluation institutions and procedures in scientific and scholarly research. Bibliometrics has played an important role in stimulating the use of performance indicators and the current demand for research assessment reports can indeed be seen as a measure of success for the field. At the same time, this creates a new challenge: to counter abuse and misunderstanding of indicators by providing professional information to indicator users, and to process the various modes of critique and criticism of bibliometric and scientometric indicators in a creative way. This challenge is intimately related to the foundational debate about the meaning of the citation, a debate which has been conducted from the very beginning of citation analysis. The question of the meaning of the citation was already tackled by students of Robert Merton, and although many approaches have since been taken (with varying results) the question of the meaning of the citation is still relevant.

The research performed at CWTS related to this Chair consists of several research themes:

  • Theories of citation: what is the meaning of the citation and related indicators?
  • The history of information technology, scientometrics, and citation indexes: how did these information systems develop in the research system?
  • Evaluation Practices in Context: how are research assessments performed in the context of daily research practices? What role do indicators play in these evaluations?
  • The sociology of evaluation: how can we understand the rise of formalized accountability in society?
  • Citation and publication modelling: how can we use mathematical models and agent-based simulations to increase our understanding of the flows of communication in the scientific system?
  • Career studies: how do scientific careers develop and how do they shape the development of science and scholarship?

Intimately connected to these research themes is the further development of teaching in science & technology studies at the University of Leiden and the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

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For more information about the Scientometrics chair, please contact Paul Wouters at


Paul Wouters

Director of CWTS and professor of Scientometrics. Paul is interested in how evaluation systems have developed and are creating new constraints for the development of knowledge. He is also interested in the history of science in general and the role of information systems in these histories in particular.

Nees Jan van Eck

Researcher and Head of ICT. Nees Jan's research focuses on the development of visualization tools and algorithms, mainly for analyzing the structure and development of science.

Thed van Leeuwen

Senior researcher and coordinator of the Social Sciences, Humanities & Law (WISSH) working group. Thed's research focuses on the development of indicators for the research assessment of scholarly activity in the social sciences, the humanities, and law. He is co-editor the OUP journal Research Evaluation.

Ingeborg Meijer

Researcher and coordinator of the Society Using Research (SURe) working group. Ingeborg focuses on the development of proxies, tools, and indicators to assess the uses of research in society; in public, professional, and private domains.

Clifford Tatum

Researcher and member of the EPIC working group. Clifford’s research is focused on Open Science and he is writing a PhD thesis about openness in scholarly communication. 

Sarah de Rijcke

Associate professor and deputy director of CWTS, and coordinator of the Evaluation Practices in Context (EPIC) working group. Her research focuses on the growing use of assessment procedures and bibliometric indicators in scientific and scholarly research, and the effects on knowledge production.

Alex Rushforth

Postdoctoral researcher. Alex's research concerns how governance changes impact modern science. At present this has taken him to explore the effects that formal evaluations and new metric indicators are having on research in academic institutions.

Ludo Waltman

Researcher and deputy director of CWTS, and coordinator of the Advanced Bibliometric Methods (ABM) working group. Ludo's research interests focus on bibliometric methods, in particular the analysis and visualization of bibliometric networks and the development of bibliometric indicators.

Inge van der Weijden

Researcher and coordinator of the Career Policy & Paths in Science (CPPS) working group. Inge conducts research on the motivation, selection, and evaluation of scholars in order to better understand career development of scientists. She is responsible for the CWTS press communication.

Zohreh Zahedi

PhD candidate. Zohreh is doing research on altmetrics (alternative metrics and tools) and investigating potential of using altmetrics for measuring research performance.

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