Global Mobility of Research Scientists: The Economics of Who Goes Where and Why brings together information on how the localization and mobility of academic researchers contributes to the production of knowledge.
The text answers several questions, including 'what characterizes nationally and internationally mobile researchers?' and 'what are the individual and social implications of increased mobility of research scientists?'
Eight independent, but coordinated chapters address these and other questions, drawing on a set of newly developed databases covering 30 countries, including the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and China, among others.
- Combines theoretically sound and empirically fascinating results in one volume that has international and interdisciplinary appeal.
- Covers topics at the forefront of academic, business, and policy discussions
- Data used in the chapters available at a freely-accessible website
On September 4, 1506, Erasmus of Rotterdam defended his doctoral dissertation in Divinity (written in Latin) at the University of Torino. Following that, he lectured for a few years at the University of Cambridge, then spent a short period in the University of Leuven before finally settling down at the University of Basel. Such a pattern was not atypical among academics in Europe during the medieval and Renaissance periods (de Ridder-Symoens, 1992
). The development of national universities in the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries, in Europe and around the world, shaped the evolution of universities over the next 200
years and changed the pattern of going abroad for study. In these national universities teaching and research were conducted mainly in the local language, although international cooperation and interaction were continuous features. Toward the end of the twentieth century, universities experienced a new period of change, which has extended into the early twenty-first century, involving increased researcher mobility and internationalization; this is making them look more like their medieval progenitors (Geuna, 1998
). Because of the diffusion of English as the lingua franca (in the medieval period it was Latin), the availability of the Internet, which has lowered the costs of international communication and collaboration (similar to the effect of mechanical movable type printing developed by Gutenberg), and the relatively peaceful historical period following the end of the Cold War, the number of international students and professors has increased significantly in the past 25
years. These flows (or movements) are not simply one way, from less advanced scientific systems to more advanced ones (brain drain); it is a much more complex phenomenon with return-to-home-country mobility and mobility from more advanced to less advanced systems. While it is true that the United States is predominant in attracting large numbers of researchers from across the world, other countries such as Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom are receiving as high or even higher shares of foreign-born researchers. Return mobility is equally important, with high shares of academic staff studying or working abroad before returning to their home countries. It is hoped that this transformation will be accompanied by a new renaissance marked by the most talented students, scholars, and researchers finding matches with the best and most relevant institutions in which to carry out their activities. However, we know little about the effects of increased national and international mobility of students and researchers. In recent years some attempts have been made to map this phenomenon (Auriol, Misu, & Freeman, 2013
; Chang & Milan, 2012
; Moguerou & Di Pietrogiacomo, 2008
) and analyze the individual and social returns from increased mobility. The economics of science has taken over from the quantitative sociology of science, and using insights from labor economics and organizational science has advanced our understanding of the characteristics and implications of academic mobility. This book specifically investigates scientists' (not students') mobility within and across countries, and provides the first comprehensive analysis of this increasingly important phenomenon. The chapters in this volume adopt an applied economic perspective to the topic, while providing a continuous dialogue with work in the traditional sociology of science, which has produced much original research in this area. In an increasingly globalized world dependent on scarce knowledge inputs, a better understanding of how the localization and mobility of academic researchers contributes to the production of knowledge is crucial. What characterizes nationally and internationally mobile researchers? What are the individual and social implications of increased research scientist mobility? Is mobility a prerequisite for or the result of high scientific productivity? Does intersectoral mobility hamper or spur academic productivity? Is it sensible for governments to support researcher mobility? If so, at which stage in the academic career would some government support be most beneficial? Is a high level of job mobility a prerequisite for a productive national academic system? Some of these questions are addressed in the chapters in this book. The 10 standalone but coordinated chapters that compose this volume draw on a set of recently developed databases covering 30 countries (including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and China, among others) to analyze these and other questions. On the basis of a comprehensive framework to characterize and analyze mobility in science, an original set of applied methodologies is formulated to address the research questions posed above. Particular attention is devoted to the interaction between researchers' mobility and productivity on related career decisions and mobility. Chapter 1
, by Fernández-Zubieta, Geuna, and Lawson, sets the scene by discussing the theoretical and empirical background to the overall analysis. Chapter 1
is not a traditional all-inclusive literature review; its aim is to highlight three important changes (internationalization, intersector mobility and collaboration, and career diversification) in the research system that make researcher mobility more relevant to the dynamics of knowledge creation and dissemination. On this basis, Chapter 1
presents a typology of researcher mobility which it uses as a tool to discuss the evidence in the literature, and provides a systemic analysis of these phenomena. It identifies unanswered research questions (some of which are addressed by the chapters in this volume) that will continue to typify this new field of research in years to come. Finally, in a didactic way, it highlights the econometric challenges associated with the analysis of academic research mobility and individual scientific productivity. The nine succeeding chapters present specific studies, most of which deal with international mobility of scientists. Chapter 2
, by Franzoni, Scellato, and Stephan, presents the first detailed analysis of mobility patterns among a large sample of over 17,000 researchers working in 16 countries in the fields of biology, chemistry, earth and environmental sciences, and materials science. Following a discussion of the main results of the GloSci survey of international mobility and migration patterns, the authors analyze the reasons for training (PhD and/or postdoctorate) and working abroad and the factors that drive the decision to return home. Their analysis of returnees to a large selection of these countries does not provide evidence of performance differences compared with those researchers who decide to stay abroad. The second part of Chapter 2
presents the results of the authors' research on the relationships between international mobility and collaboration, and performance. Franzoni, Scellato, and Stephan highlight a strong correlation between various measures of international scientific collaboration (research network) and migration, and they point to a significant share of scientists who collaborate with researchers from their country of origin. Finally, they provide evidence supporting a positive differential in the performance of foreign-born compared with nonmobile native researchers. The chapter by Lawson, Geuna, Fernández-Zubieta, Kataishi, and Torselli (Chapter 3
) provides a detailed analysis of scientific productivity for a sample of about 630 academic researchers working in the area of biomedical research in the United Kingdom and the United States. Based on a reconstruction of these researchers' full careers derived from curriculum vitae information, the chapter assesses the impact of postdoctoral experience on follow-on researcher performance in terms of both the number of and impact/quality-adjusted publications (top journals and average impact). For the United States, they find an overall performance premium and a positive postdoctoral effect in terms of average impact, especially for postdoctoral experience in a top-quality United States institution. The "US postdoctoral training" advantage is transferable geographically; the authors show that United Kingdom researchers who return to their home country after a postdoctoral period in the United States (especially at a top-quality institution) achieve publications of significantly higher average impact/quality in their later academic careers. Finally, the authors show that United States postdoctorates who remain in the United States publish more and produce publications with higher impact/quality than those who move to the United Kingdom. A surprising finding is that studying for a PhD in the United States does not increase future performance; United States students who studied for their PhD degrees in the United States ultimately publish articles with lower average impact/quality than achieved by those who moved to the United States for their postdoctoral experience. Chapter 4
, by Fernández-Zubieta, Geuna, and Lawson, looks at the relationship between mobility and productivity within the national system, paying particular attention to the other two types of mobility identified in Chapter 1
: social and intersectoral mobility. Like the previous chapter, the analysis is based on full career information extracted from curriculum vitae for 171 science and engineering researchers in the United Kingdom. The study finds no evidence that mobility per se increases academic performance. A move to a higher-ranked...