Professor Klaas Timmermans:


"Increasingly more research is being done at universities of applied sciences."

Increasingly more research is being done at universities of applied sciences. As a researcher, I think that is an excellent development. However, doing research can be at odds with your teaching job. From my own experience I know that being a lecturer can be more compelling than doing your own research. You do not want to leave a group of students without your guidance...

Publishing is part of doing research. After all, researchers follow up on each other’s researches through peer-reviewed publications. For this fellow scientists anonymously assess manuscripts, offer suggestions for improvements and after acceptance of a manuscript, the information is available to everyone. Colleagues can take note of the latest results and elaborate on them.

Publishing has the additional advantage that the author is ‘forced’ to write down the research down to the smallest detail by carefully formulating research questions, hypotheses and conclusions. Experience has shown that weaknesses and strengths emerge directly and often mercilessly when describing the research. Hence my advice to students, PhD students and post-docs: start preparing a publication early, then additions and improvements are still possible. In this way, a valuable publication can be made that others can ultimately benefit from.

A strong focus on applied research may lend itself less to publication. But there are also journals that focus specifically on applied research, in my field for example Journal of Applied Phycology, or more on methods, Limnology and Oceanography Methods. On the other hand, I also know various publications in top journals such as Nature and Science based on applied research. Keep in mind: I think in essence the discussion about fundamental or applied research is nonsense. You only have bad and good research, and good research can always be published somewhere, preferably in a peer-reviewed journal.

At universities of applied sciences and at research institutes, publishing is generally accepted, and in fact the university it is ‘assessed’ on the basis of its publications. Not only on the number of publications, but also on the influence that a publication has had, for example: how often has it been quoted.

Now that more research is being done at universities of applied sciences, it is only logical that there will be more publications from these researches as well. It is my impression that this is not an automatism, though. As a lecturer at HZ and researcher at the NIOZ, I set myself an important task here: motivating more researchers at HZ to write publications. For this, time and recognition have to be created. Writing publications will automatically lift the research to a higher level, and precious research results will not disappear into a drawer as a report.

So do publish, HBO-researcher!