Peter van den Besselaar

News & Recent publications


Full professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Organization Sciences and the Network Institute.

Research director at Teresa Mom Consultancy, Amsterdam.

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 teresamomDOT com



  • New H2020 project.
    • GRANteD, a research project on gender bias in academic grants and careers will run from January 1, 2019 till May 1, 2023. The consortium consists of five partners (Joanneum Research (Austria); Orebro University (Sweden); DZHW - the German Center for Higher Education and Science Studies; CSIC (Spain); and Teresa Mom Consultancy bv (the Netherlands). The project wil study the causes and career effects of gender bias in grant allocation, and will develop strategies to counteract gender bias and mitigate its effects.
  • Nature Index:
  • StukRoodVlees blog: Vrouwen met kinderen op achterstand bij onderzoeksbeurzen? (August 16, 2018)
    • In the Dutch newspaper NRC it was argued that women with young children have a lower (or even zero) probability to acquire research grants. Using a large dataset of grant applicants, we show that it is in fact the opposite: women with young children have a higher success rate than other women and also higher than male applicants.
  • LSE Impact blog: A vicious circle of gender biasexplains why differneces between men's and women's scholarly productivity have not changed since the 1960s. (August 7, 2018)
  • Research Europe: Country comparison cast doubt on science policy orthodoxy (May 24, 2018)
  • Nature Index: Scientists get more bang for the buck if given more freedom (May 23, 201)
  • Financieele Dagblad: De sexist in je hoofd (March 24, 2018)
  • LSE Impact blog: Quantity matters as citation impact increases with productivity (January 23, 2018)
  • Nature Index: Funding debate over paper quality vs quantity (September 21, 2017)


  • Academics coping with business logic: a study at Indonesian universities. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management 2018. With David F, Van den Sijde.
  • Quantity matters, but how does it work? Journal of Informetrics forthcoming 2018. With Ulf Sandström
  • FERASAT: a Serendipity-fostering Faceted Browser for Linked Data. In: A. Gangemi et al. (Eds.) ESWC 2018, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 10843, Springer-Nature, p. 351-366. With Ali Khailii & Klaar-Andries de Graaf.
  • Using linked open geo-boundaries for adaptive delineation of functional urban areas. In: A. Gangemi et al. (Eds.): ESWC 2018 Satellite Events, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 11155, 327–341. With Ali Khailii & Klaas-Andries de Graaf.
  • Studying grant decision-making: a linguistic analysis of review reports.Scientometrics 2018 (first online). With Ulf Sandström and Helene Schifbeanker
  • Funding, evaluation, and the performance of national research systems. Journal of Informetrics 11 (2018) - with Ulf Sandström
  • Does Institutional proximity affects grant application success? Paper presented at the PEERE conference, Roma, March 7-9-2018 - with Charlie Mom
  • Gender bias and cognitive proximity in grant allocation, Paper presented at the PEERE conference, Roma, March 7-9-2018 - with Ulf Sandstrom
  • Best paper award: Using linguistic analysis of peer review reports to study panel processes. Paper presented at the PEERE conference, Roma, March 7-9-2018 - With Ulf Sandstom and Helene Schiffbaenker
  • Vicious circles of gender bias, lower positions, and lower performance: Gender differences in scholarly productivity and impact. 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
  • Mapping science through bibliometric triangulation: an experimental approach applied to water research, Journal of the American Association of Information Science and Technology 68 (2017) 3, pp724-738 - with Bei Wen, Edwin Horlings, Marielle van der Zouwen





Current projects

Some finished projects




Publications since 2007 (full text)

Older publications

PhD students

  • Dennis Beckers
  • Al Idrissou
  • Bei Wen
  • Irene Sinteur (7 November 2018)
  • Firmansyah David (2017)
  • Tjerk Wardenaar (2015)
  • Pleun van Arensbergen (2014)
  • Thomas Gurney (2014)
  • Maaike Verbree (2011)
  • Anne-Marie Oostveen (2007)
  • Gaston Heimeriks (2005)
  • Carolien Metselaar (2000)