The high quality of research at Dutch universities is expressed in the citation impact scores of publications, positions in international rankings, the return rates of European framework programmes and the number of grants awarded to researchers in the Netherlands by the European Research Council.
International scientific influence is measured by the number of times a publication is cited, called its ‘citation impact score’. The Netherlands' (2006-2009) citation impact score standardised per region is 40 per cent higher than the world average, putting the Netherlands in third place behind Switzerland and Denmark.
The figure shows that the citation impact score of international co-publications is also high.
Internationally, the Netherlands is in eighth place when it comes to international co-publications, however, these publications are very highly evaluated. For these types of publications, the citation impact of the Dutch universities is ranked third after Switzerland and Denmark.
This prominent international position provides no guarantee for the future, however. The high quality and productivity of research at Dutch universities is the result of past investments and the efficient manner in which Dutch research is organised. The question remains as to whether it is possible to maintain this position in the face of decreasing investments.
It has been suggested that it is doubtful whether the Netherlands can retain this position into the future.
Standard Evaluation Protocol
Evaluations of scientific research are carried out using the Standard Evaluation Protocol (SEP) developed by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the VSNU. The current SEP will apply from 2015-2021.
The Standard Evaluation Protocol (SEP) describes the goals and methodologies used in the evaluations of scientific research that are carried out at universities and NWO/KNAW institutions every six years. Since the 1990s, the SEP has constituted the core of the quality assurance system for research, and has proven its exceptional worth since that time. In 2013, the 2009-2015 SEP was evaluated and fully revised by the VSNU, NWO and KNAW to bring it more in line with the contemporary demands placed by science and society.