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Lecture Series: Science of Science in the Spotlight


The Science of Science in the Spotlight Lecture Series provides a forum for multi­disciplinary exchange and dialogue across the fields of higher education, bibliometrics, and science studies in Luxembourg. Through international visits and collaboration with leading experts in the rele­vant research fields and disciplines, the Lecture Series offers an ideal platform to bolster Luxembourg’s growing research expertise and current initiatives in the "science of science”, including diverse science and policy communities and the wider public. At the interface of different strands of research that have grown in Luxembourg over the past decade, the lecture series showcases emerging collaboration patterns within Luxembourg, across Europe, and globally. It provides opportunities to discuss cutting-edge research results in this highly innovative multidisciplinary field of research. The lectures stimulate debate on theoretical and methodological approaches and on data acquisition and analysis. Leading researchers visiting Luxem­­bourg will share their knowledge at the intersection of higher education research and science studies, bibliometrics—embedded in social and computational sciences more generally. Discussions relate to such topics as international higher education developments, science capacity-building, scientific knowledge production, research evaluation, collaborative net­works, and researcher mobility. A multidisciplinary series of events, these lectures provide diverse insights and solidify Luxembourg’s networks in this global field of research, to build new relationships, and to encourage a multidisciplinary, interfaculty, and interorganizational exchange with leading researchers from abroad.

For further information, please contact Dr. Jennifer Dusdal.

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Programme of the Lectures Series 2021




24.02.2021, 17:00-18:30 (CET)

Remote session

Prof. Dr. Marek Kwiek
Full Professor and Director of the Center for Public Policy Studies, UNESCO Chair in Institutional Research and Higher Education Policy, University of Poznan, Poland)

Inequalities in Science: A Study of Major Research Collaboration Types and Their Implications for Academic Careers

In the highly competitive global science, publications are a major determinant of successful academic careers. Academic reputation comes almost exclusively from publications, just as social stratification in science is largely publication based. Individual scientists make collaboration decisions: choosing team or solo publications? Choosing same-sex or mixed-sex collaborations? Choosing local, national or international collaborations? Past authorship decisions bear on the availability of future external research grants, getting hired or tenured. Research funding agencies and hiring committees may favor publications in top journals, publications written in international collaboration, or single-authored publications. Publishing with scientists of the same gender is easier but does it lead to academic success? Collaboration supports promotion – but is it national or international collaboration? Finally, in solo research there is no ambiguity in credit allocation, no errors in signals about scientists’ research abilities. All in all, inequalities in science result also from the various collaboration types. We examined (1) local-national-international collaboration, (2) solo-team collaboration, and (3) male-female collaboration of all internationally visible (25,000) Polish university professors based on their 160,000 Scopus-indexed articles. We merged a national registry of 100,000 scientists (with full administrative and biographical data) with the Scopus publication database of 400,000 publications. We examined the propensity to conduct national/international collaboration, team/solo research, and same-sex/mixed sex collaboration across male-dominated, female-dominated, and gender-balanced disciplines. Having an integrated biographical, administrative, publication, and citation database at our disposal (“The Polish Science Observatory”), we examined the propensity to engage in the various collaboration types and we used several new variables. We draw conclusions from a single-nation context to academic science in general – and discuss practical implications of our research for academic careers.

Video of the lecture:


31.03.2021, 17:00-18:30 (CEST)

Remote session      

Prof. Dr. Dashun Wang
(Associate Professor of Management and Organizations at the Kellogg School of Management, and the McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University, USA)

Initial Progress on the Science of Science

The increasing availability of large-scale datasets that trace the entirety of the scientific enterprise, have created an unprecedented opportunity to explore scientific production and reward. Parallel developments in data science, network science, and artificial intelligence offer us powerful tools and techniques to make sense of these millions of data points. Together, they tell a complex yet insightful story about how scientific careers unfold, how collaborations contribute to discovery, and how scientific progress emerges through a combination of multiple interconnected factors. These opportunities—and challenges that come with them—have fueled the emergence of a multidisciplinary community of scientists that are united by their goals of understanding science. These practitioners of the science of science use the scientific methods to study themselves, examine projects that work as well as those that fail, quantify the patterns that characterize discovery and invention, and offer lessons to improve science as a whole. In this talk, I’ll highlight some examples of research in this area, hoping to illustrate the promise of science of science as well as its limitations.

Video of the lecture :


28.04.2021, 17:00-18:30 (CEST)

Remote session

Prof. Dr. Dominique Foray
(Professor of Economics and Management of Innovations, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland)

The phenomenal speed of innovation during the COVID pandemic – lessons learned from the crisis

One year ago, innovation economists predicted that the prospect for inventing or discovering COVID vaccines within a year was totally irrealistic. This prediction was based on two range of arguments: the classical argument about vaccine research market failures and the somewhat newer argument on the inelasticity of science. One year after, it looks like the prediction was wrong! In this talk we will discuss various reasons for the phenomenal speed of innovation during the COVID pandemic and some lessons learned from the crisis in the area of science and innovation policy.

19.05.2021, 17:00-18:30 (CEST)

Remote session

Prof. Dr. Gili S. Drori
(Associate Professor, Chair of the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Paradoxes of the globally embedded university: Lessons from the identity practices of Israeli higher education organizations

Embedded in global culture that prizes “world class university”, Israeli higher education organizations are caught in web of institutionalized – and loosely coupled, if not conflicting – expectations. They are under pressure to achieve global excellence, satisfy Israeli economic and security needs, and serve Israel’s diverse social groups; they are also required to meet standards of proper governance, while maintaining academic collegial traditions; and they wrestle with Israeli, Jewish, Zionist and Palestinian legacies. This contextual complexity is expressed in the identity practices of Israeli HEOs, namely in the iconographic (logos, campus architecture) and textual (mission statements, website information) expressions of who they are, who they are not, and what they aspire to be. In these ways, Israeli HEOs reflect the challenges and paradoxes of glocal organization, organizations and organizing that are shared by HEOs worldwide, especially by those outside the global core.

Meeting link:
Meeting number: 163 565 4594
Password: SciSci

30.06.2021, 17:00-18:30 (CEST)

Remote session or on-site

Prof. Dr. Eva Barlösius
(Professor for Macrosociology, Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany)

Data Sharing - variously shaped research practices

21.07.2021, 17:00-18:30 (CEST)

Remote session or on-site

Prof. Dr. Lin Zhang
(Professor at the School of Information management, Wuhan University, China)

Understanding Chinese science: new perspectives from scientometrics and research policy

China’s emergence in science and technology has a far reaching impact on global science. With its tremendous rise in research investment, fast growing S&T workforce, and rapid increase in international collaboration, China has become one of the most important contributors to global scientific knowledge. This talk aims to provide audience with a deeper understanding of the Chinese science system, the new developments of Chinese research policy, and its implication for the global science.


Programme of the Lectures Series 2020




10.03.2020, 17:00-19:00

Luxembourg Learning Center Hub 2.02

Prof. Dr. Christine Musselin
(Directrice de recherche CNRS, Co-director of LIEPP "Higher Education and Research" Research Group, Sciences Po, Paris, France)

Effects of competition on universities. Building on the case of French universities

In France as in many other countries, higher education public policies aimed at increasing the level of competition between academics, research teams, training programs but also among universities.
Building on the French case, Christine Musselin identifies how these policies impacts on the internal government and the power relationships within universities, how they modify the higher education landscape, how they redefine what “good science” is and who is engage in this normative work. And how they affect the academic profession. She will also show that competition leads to new forms of cooperation and that this formalizes the increasing stratification of higher education systems.

Video of the lecture:


28.04.2019, 17:00-19:00

Remote session

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Glänzel
(Professor of Statistics at KU Leuven, Director of the Centre for R&D Monitoring, Belgium)

Building reliable bibliometric indicators for measuring research performance

This talk deals with the challenge of building and using bibliometric indicators in an evaluative context. The aim is to show how valid metrics for scientific information and research assessment can be developed and applied and what the main possible pitfalls in this process are. The talk is organized in seven chapters proceeding from the ‘perspective change’ that scientometrics has undergone in the last decades of the 20th  century and the strong interaction between metrics and information retrieval. The first two chapters deal with the use of suitable data sources and the quality and cleanness of data, including data retrieval and subject delineation. The following three chapters deal with methodological issues and are devoted to the explanation of important criteria of soundness of methodology, the discussion of the effect of subject granularity and aggregation level and finally to the extension of traditional indicators towards performance profiles. Special focus is laid on the use of composite indicators, notably in the context of ranking exercises (sixth chapter). The last chapter introduces the challenge of measuring impacts beyond scholarly communication including issues regarding the appropriate integration of data originated from heterogeneous sources.

Video of the lecture:


12.05.2020, 17:00-19:00

Remote session

Prof. Dr. Ludo Waltman
(Deputy Director, Professor of Quantitative Science Studies at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University, The Netherlands)

Research on research: An overview of the landscape and its connections to research policy

Many scientific fields and communities contribute to research on research, ranging from scientometrics, science and technology studies, and higher education studies to science of science, metascience, and many others. Based on a large-scale scientometric analysis combined with expert input from the recently established Research on Research Institute (, I will present a visual overview of the landscape of research on research, showing the different communities contributing to research on research and the various topics addressed by these communities. I will also discuss how research on research connects to research policy.

Video of the lecture:


09.06.2020, 17:00-19:00

Remote session

Prof. Dr. Chaomei Chen
(Professor of Information Science at Drexel University, USA)

The Role of Uncertainties in the Science of Scientific Knowledge

Tracking the growth of scientific knowledge is a challenging but integral part of scientific inquiries, scholarly communication, and science of science. Facts, consensus, confidence, and objectivity are among the most desirable elements and instruments in representing and communicating scientific knowledge. In this talk, I will present a promising analytic framework for the science of science research by focusing on the role of uncertainties at various stages of scientific inquiries. I will demonstrate how contradictions, controversies, inconsistencies, and a variety of other forms of uncertainties play fundamental roles in the growth and update of scientific knowledge. I will also illustrate how researchers may benefit from the uncertainty-centric perspective by revisiting key research questions that have been studied from conventional perspectives, especially with references to the interpretation and re-interpretation of emerging fields, intellectual landmarks, critical paths, turning points, and boundary-spanning bridges. 

Video of the lecture:


22.09.2020, 17:00-19:00

Remote session

Prof. Dr. Cassidy R. Sugimoto
(President International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics, Associate Professor of Informatics at Indiana University Bloomington, USA)

A science of science approach to examining gender disparities in science

Despite progress, gender disparities in science persist. Women remain underrepresented in the scientific workforce and under rewarded for their contributions. This talk will examine multiple layers of gender disparities in science, triangulating data from bibliometric data and social surveys to provide a broader perspective on the gendered nature of scientific communication. Science of science provides a novel lens to evaluate these issues, drawing upon theories from sociology of science and utilizing new developments in scientometrics. The work will examine the contributions to scientific articles, disparities in productivity, and the impact of scientific work. Factors from grant funding to parenting will be examined. The talk will close on a discussion of the science policy implications of this evidence as well as charting a trajectory for science of science that includes issues of justice and equity.

Video of the lecture:


17:00-18:30 (CEST)


Prof. Dr. Vincent Larivière
(Professor of Information Science at Université de Montréal, Canada)

Are self-citations a normal feature of knowledge accumulation or a perversion of research evaluation?

Science is a cumulative activity, in which past knowledge serves as a foundation for new knowledge. One of the mechanisms through which the cumulative nature of science manifests itself is the act of citing. However, citations are also central to research evaluation, thus creating incentive for researchers to cite their own work. Therefore, such self-citations have been one of the most constant criticism against the use of citation indicators for the measurement of research impact. Using a dataset containing millions of papers and disambiguated authors, this talk will examine the relative importance of self-citations and self-references in the scholarly communication landscape, their relationship with age and gender of authors, as well as their effects on various research evaluation indicators. It will also present the results of a comparison of the content of cited and citing papers, thus making it possible to test whether researchers cite their own work in order to inflate their impact indicators. The talk with conclude with a discussion of the role of self-citations in the research ecosystem.

Video of the lecture: