Citation is an essential part of science. It places a researcher’s thinking within a continuum of thought, indicating sources of ideas and theories that the author agrees or disagrees with.

A highly cited paper is normally considered to be very relevant within its field, and increasingly across disciplines. It has, somehow, resonated throughout the scientific community.

Professor Jos H. Beijnen, pharmacist at Slotervaart Hospital and the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam and appointed at Utrecht University, and Peter N. Nijkamp, based at the Department of Spatial Economics, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, both believe that collaboration and relevant research have helped them become two of the most highly cited Dutch researchers.

Jos H Beijen
Jos H. Beijnen

Collaboration is inspirational

Beijnen is the most active Dutch author in Life Sciences and his most cited paper (1) has received over 950 citations. He attributes his remarkable output to efficient use of his time. He adds, “The selection of collaborators, in my case mostly young pharmacy students who want to do their Ph.D. in my group, is crucial. Their enthusiasm for research fuels me and gives me the energy to work seven days a week.”

Nijkamp agrees: “The biggest challenge for a scientist is to find promising and bright young talents. I have been lucky to find so many interesting young people all over the world with whom I have worked and from whom I have learned a lot.” Nijkamp is the most prolific of Dutch authors in Social Sciences. His most-cited document, with 59 citations, covers un-tolled congestion pricing (2).

Relevant research

Beijnen also believes research should be aimed at tackling issues that directly benefit society. “Our research is always based on a clinical research question. Our research should be beneficial to our patients, and that is what we always keep in mind.”

Nijkamp feels the same: “Most of my research finds its inspiration in pressing societal problems, so it’s no wonder that the information is then shared across a wide audience.”

Peter N Nijkamp
Peter N. Nijkamp

Cross-discipline, cross-border communication

Nijkamp adds that collaboration with his students and peers, as well as with researchers overseas and in different disciplines, has helped him maintain high output. “Modern quantitative economic research is a fascinating activity, where tools from various disciplines are extensively used. This leads to often surprising findings, with great scientific and policy-making value. Research in the social sciences is no longer a solitary activity. Increasingly, modern research in economics is based on collaboration with dozens of good people abroad. I have produced most of my publications together with many people outside the Netherlands.”

The most relevant and highly cited papers are not produced in a vacuum; they offer insight into important questions in their field and their work has wide-ranging value thanks to the collaboration of students, peers in different geographical regions and, increasingly, from different fields. As Nijkamp concludes: “The knowledge society is indeed operating on a global market.”


(1) Schinkel, A.H.; Smit, J.J.M.; Van Tellingen, O.; Beijnen, J.H.; Wagenaar, E.; Van Deemter, L.; Mol, C.A.A.M.; Van der Valk, M.A.; Robanus-Maandag, E.C.; te Riele, H.P.J.; Berns, A.J.M.; Borst, P. (1994) “Disruption of the mouse mdr1a P-glycoprotein gene leads to a deficiency in the blood-brain barrier and to increased sensitivity to drugs”, Cell, Vol. 77, pp. 491–502.
(2) Verhoef, E., Nijkamp, P., Rietveld, P. (1996) “Second-best congestion pricing: The case of an untolled alternative”, Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 279–302.
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