Ton (A.F.J.) van Raan is Professor of Quantitative Studies of Science and until September 1, 2010, Director of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), Leiden University, Netherlands. After his retirement as Director of CWTS, he remained research professor.
He studied mathematics, physics and astronomy at the University of Utrecht. Ph.D. in Physics, Utrecht (1973), Ph.D. thesis on the interaction of electrons with helium atoms. Post-doctoral fellow physics (1973-1977) at the University of Bielefeld, visiting scientist in the US, UK, and France. Work in atomic and molecular physics, laser-physics, astrophysics, and in science policy and research management. From 1977 senior lecturer and research fellow physics in Leiden, in 1985 'field switch' from physics to science and technology (S&T) studies, 1991 Professor.
The research of Prof. Van Raan focuses on the design, construction and application of quantitative indicators on important aspects of science and technology. CWTS frequently conducts contract research for the government of the Netherlands, other European Union member states, the European Commission, national and international research organizations and the business sector. Main research interests: application of bibliometric indicators in research evaluation; science as a ‘self-organizing’ cognitive ecosystem, statistical properties of bibliometric indicators, ranking and benchmarking of universities, mapping of the science system.
In 1995 he received in Chicago, together with the American sociologist Robert K. Merton, the Derek de Solla Price Award, the highest international award in the field of quantitative studies of science. He published (as author and co-author) around thirty articles in physics and hundred in science and technology studies. He is editor of the standard Handbook of Quantitative Studies of Science and Technology (Elsevier) and member of the editorial advisory board of the international journals Scientometrics, Research Evaluation, and Journal of Informetrics.
Prof. van Raan set up a small spin-off company Science Consult for advice on research evaluation and science policy issues.
On the occasion of his retirement as CWTS director he was awarded by the Queen of the Netherlands with the royal distinction of Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion.