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Metrics and Knowledge Production


Additional Information

Admission requirements

A propedeutic exam of any Bachelors’program.


In the governance of scientific research we observe an increasing tendency to add quantitative measures to the longstanding tradition of qualitative assessment (by reading and commenting on each other’s work). This course will give an overview of the rise of statistical thinking over the last two centuries. This development paved the way for the emergence of scientometrics in the second half of the 20th century. Scientometrics is the branch of the social sciences that studies scientific and technological developments by means of quantitative methods. We will explore the growth of this relatively young field, by zooming in on what it has enabled and how it has effected academic work. Students will be introduced to quantitative techniques that chart scientific communication processes and cognitive structures of science and technology, using large-scale databases of scientific and technical publications. We will also discuss the explosion of ‘performance indicators’ in science, which are nowadays used from the level of the individual researcher to that of entire universities (through rankings). Finally, and as a teaser to minor course CWTSmi04 on “Visualizing Science”, we will demonstrate some of the possibilities of state of the art mapping techniques in science and technoloy studies.

Course objectives

  • The students will be introduced to the science of science approach, in particular in the quantitative realm of science & technology studies;

  • The students will become acquainted with, and develop a critical perspective on, the measurement of scientific performance;

  • The students will develop a basic insight into the birth of the quantitative part of the science of science, in the light of the developments described in the previous courses CWTSmi01 and CWTSmi02.


A seven week course

  • 7 lectures 2 hours for 7 weeks

  • 7 working group meetings 2 hours for 7 weeks

Assessment method

To be announced


We will use blackboard as communication platform for lecture notes, assignments and announcements.

Reading list

Compulsory readings will be made available via Blackboard or through the Leiden University Library.


Registration from 1 January 2014 via Usis.
Students from other universities will need permission to register. Please send an e-mail to Sarah de Rijcke at
This also holds for Exchange and Study Abroad students. For more information please see the “Prospective students website”: .

Contact information

Dr. Sarah de Rijcke,, 071-5276853.