Peter van den Besselaar



Full professor at the Vrije Universitei Amsterdam, Department of Organization Sciences and the Network Institute. My research focuses on the organization, governance and dynamics of science. Apart from that I am strongly interested in the use of computational methods and big data in social research. I also still do some research in the field of social informatics.


Between 1982 and 2002, I was at the University of Amsterdam, the department of social informatics, first as assistant professor and then as associate professor. In 2002, I moved to the Royal Netherland Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), where I was director of the social science data archive (Steinmetz Archive) until 2005, and research director and head of the department of Science System Assessment until 2010. I combined these positions with an endowed communication science chair at the University of Amsterdam (2004-2009), and endowed science policy research chair at the VU University (2009-2014).

I studied mechanical engineering (propedeuse, TU Eindhoven), mathematics (BSc, University Utrecht) and philosophy (MA with honors, University of Amsterdam). I have a PhD in informatics (Faculty of Psychology, University of Amsterdam)


p.a.a.vanden.besselaar AT vu DOT nl

peter AT vandenbesselaar DOT net




  • Vicious circles of gender bias, lower positions, and lower performance: Gender differences in scholarly productivity and impact. Forthcoming PLoS ONE 12 (2017) - with Ulf Sandström
  • Perverse effects of output-based research funding? Butler’s Australian case revisited. Journal of Informetrics 11 (2017) - with Ulf Sandström and Ulf Heyman
  • Counterintuitive effects of incentives? In press: Research Evaluation 26 (2017) - with Ulf Sandström
  • Do observations have any role in science policy studies? Journal of Informetrics 11 (2017) - with Ulf Sandström and Ulf Heyman
  • Managerial influence on attitude formation in organizations: how to manage emergence, Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory. Online first - with Peter van Woensel, Dick de Gilder, Peter Groenewegen
  • Quantity and/or Quality? The Importance of Publishing Many Papers. PLoS ONE 11: e0166149 - with Ulf Sandström
  • Gender differences in research performance and in academic careers. Scientometrics (2016) 106:143–162, - with Ulf Sandström
  • SMS: a linked open data infrastructure for science and innovation studies Ismael Rafols et al, Peripheries, Frontiers and Beyond; Proceedings STI, Valencia 2016. - with Ali Khalili, Al Koudous Idrissou, Stefan Schlobach, Frank van Harmelen.
  • Predicting panel scores by linguistic analysis. Ismael Rafols et al, Peripheries, Frontiers and Beyond; Proceedings STI 2016, Valencia
  • December 2015: Blog over het glazen plafond in de wetenschap





Current projects

Some finished projects





Publications since 2007 (full text)

Older publications

PhD students

  • Dennis Beckers
  • Al Idrissou
  • Irene Sinteur
  • Bei Wen
  • Firmansyah David
  • Tjerk Wardenaar (2015)
  • Pleun van Arensbergen (2014)
  • Thomas Gurney (2014)
  • Maaike Verbree (2011)
  • Anne-Marie Oostveen (2007)
  • Gaston Heimeriks (2005)
  • Carolien Metselaar (2000)