Rejoinder to Van den Besselaar’s Letter entitled “Descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, rhetorical statistics.”


Van den Besselaar (2003) illustrates his argument with a quote of our conclusion that “the network of words does not significantly correlate with the geographical division” (Leydesdorff & Heimeriks, 2001, p. 1266). However, this conclusion was entirely based on replicating the simulations suggested by Van den Besselaar in previous exchanges, i.e., on random samplings. Van den Besselaar & Heimeriks (2000, pp. 89-93) was for that reason provided as a reference. Indeed, the inference cannot be based on the descriptive statistics.


Loet Leydesdorff, Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR)

University of Amsterdam, Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX  Amsterdam, The Netherlands ;





Leydesdorff, L. & Heimeriks, G. (2001). The Self-Organization of the European Information Society: The Case of “Biotechnology”. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 52(14), 1262-1274.


Van den Besselaar, P (2003). Descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, rhetorical statistics. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (forthcoming).


Van den Besselaar, P. & Heimeriks, G. (2000). Codification and self-organization inthe European STI system. (Deliverable 2.6 SOEIS Project), University of Amsterdam.