Centre for Science and Technology Studies
How do you ensure that research is performed, evaluated and managed in a responsible way? This question is also of the utmost important to the University itself. The Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) studies scientific research and its relationship with technology, innovation and society.
The research, tools and evaluation expertise of CWTS support strategic decisionmaking, research evaluation and the development of research policy.
The researchers from CWTS regularly participate in European projects, focusing, for instance, on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), as with the Horizon 2020 MoRRI project and its successor SUPER MoRRI. They also often conduct research for government, universities and research funders.
Research is conducted within three groups:
- Quantitative Science Studies
- Science and Evaluation Studies
- Science, Technology and Innovation Studies
Quantitative Science Studies (QSS)
The QSS group studies science from a quantitative perspective. Its researchers use and develop different methods, ranging from mathematical analysis and computer simulation to advanced data analysis and visualisation.
A familiar CWTS project is the annual Leiden Ranking, which ranks the academic performance of universities around the world and is based on the CWTS’s own methodology. Compiled in a transparent fashion and available to all, the ranking has become a benchmark within the national and international academic world.
‘Clearly the work of CWTS has had, and continues to have, a very large impact on policy and management strategies within higher education, and research institutions more generally.’
Research Assessment Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS)
QSS is also very active in the visualisation of science. It has developed the VOSviewer software, which can be used to make digital maps of scientific networks.
Science and Evaluation Studies (SES)
The SES group analyses the politics and practice of research evaluations in relation to science and research policy. How do evaluations and funding influence the practice of science? How do research questions change under the pressure of publishing?
The researchers are interested in changes to the structure of the science system, which have negative aspects too. The subjects that they study include workplace stress, the rise of burnout in academia, the system of project funding and the pressure to publish.
An important study within this group is the European FluidKnowledge project, which is studying the evaluation of ocean science in the past, present and future. The researchers are working on this project with the government and marine research institutes.
Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS)
The STIS group focuses on the links and interaction between knowledge development and knowledge application. Its research projects relate to topics such as research-driven innovation, knowledge flows, collaboration between universities and business.
The group uses big-data methods to conduct empirical research into scientific discoveries, for instance, and their relationship to new, advanced technologies.
STIS also develops indicators to map the science, technology and innovation performance of individual universities. Some of these indicators have since been included in U-Multirank, an online European platform that provides information to students and other users.
Cross-pollination between researchers from different research groups takes place within four thematic hubs. These bring together the diversity and strengths of the different research groups and draw attention to important themes.
- open science
- academic careers
- responsible evaluation
- engagement and responsibility in research & innovation
These are of great significance to academia as a whole.