Dr Remco Heesen

Started at UWA: 2019

Philosopher of Science studying the social structure of science

I love the interaction and feedback between the abstract parts of my work (thinking through philosophical theories of scientific knowledge, or trying to prove things about a mathematical model) and the applied questions it is about (how do we get more social benefits from scientific work?)Dr Remco Heesen

Dr Remco Heesen is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the UWA School of Humanities. Specialising in the philosophy of science, social epistemology and formal epistemology, he is particularly interested in how the social structure of science contributes to (or detracts from) its success, and how scientists exchange and assess information and how these practices can be improved. 

Remco’s current research focusses on peer review and associated problems, including biases. The small number of peer reviewers for a given paper, the high degree of disagreement between them, and a large number of journals make it difficult for peer review to play its role in assessing the accuracy and importance of new scientific work. His research suggests that open, post-publication peer review, relying on the wisdom of the crowds, would perform better at these tasks. Making both new scientific work and peer reviews ‘open access’ would also boost the open science movement. 
A former University of Cambridge Research Fellow, Remco studied at Tilburg University in the Netherlands and the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom before completing his Doctor of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States and postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge. 


  • PhD from Carnegie Mellon University
  • MA from Carnegie Mellon University
  • MSc (with distinction) from the London School of Economics and Political Science
  • MSc (cum laude) from Tilburg University
  • BA (cum laude) from Tilburg University
  • BSc (cum laude) from Tilburg University

External positions:

  • Researcher at the University of Groningen (funded by the NWO Veni Individual Research Grant)





NWO Innovational Incentives Scheme Veni

  • Research grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for the project "Understanding Statistical Biases in Peer Review". Total value: €250,000. February 2019 - January 2023.


Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship

  • Research grant from the Leverhulme Trust for the project "Organising Science: The Social Epistemology of Scientists and Their Incentives". Total value (including matching funding from the Isaac Newton Trust): £162,000. September 2016 - January 2019. 


Dr Remco Heesen enjoys facilitating philosophy learning in his classes, and considers learning a two-way street. He specialises in the areas of philosophy,  philosophy of science, history of science, sociology of science, economics of science, mathematics, statistics, rational choice theory and philosophy, politics and economics. 

He teaches the following units: 

Featured projects

The Journal of Philosophy 
Why the Reward Structure of Science Makes Reproducibility Problems Inevitable. Recent philosophical work has praised the reward structure of science,  while recent empirical work has shown that many scientific results may not be reproducible. I argue that the reward structure of science incentivizes scientists to focus on speed and  impact at the expense of the reproducibility of their work, thus contributing to the so-called reproducibility crisis. 

Is Peer Review a Good Idea?
Prepublication peer review should be abolished. We consider the effects that such a change will have on the social structure of science. 

For more information visit Dr Remco Heesen's webpage.

Contact Dr Remco Heesen