Exploring the Nature and Dimensions of Scientific Mobility: Insights From ORCID Database - A Visualization Approach

Exploring the Nature and Dimensions of Scientific Mobility: Insights From ORCID Database - A Visualization Approach

Viju Raghupathi, Jie Ren, Wullianallur Raghupathi
Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 31
DOI: 10.4018/IJTD.331090
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Comprehending the characteristics or potential benefits of global mobility of scientists has been inadequate from academic/practical perspectives. The authors attempt to fill a theoretical gap by focusing on the nature/dimensions of the mobility of highly educated people to other countries. They analyze data from the Open Researcher and Contributor ID-ORCID database and examine the characteristics of scientists as well as the propensity of these highly qualified individuals to migrate. Using 6000 migration records of PhDs from 194 countries, the authors utilize visual analytics to explore the various dimensions of scientists and their movements. Results show that the largest numbers of researchers reside in developed countries; there is net inflow of PhD researchers to developed countries. Also, scientific immigration is impacted not only by the availability of research positions in academic institutions, but also by economics (supply/demand) as well as contemporary immigration policies and social trends.
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1. Introduction

Mobility of skilled labor—highly talented and productive individuals with the potential to earn high wages—is a well-documented phenomenon (Gibson & McKenzie, 2012). The globalization of knowledge has contributed to skilled mobility at an international level (Saint-Blancat, 1990) by facilitating highly educated people with innovative mindsets and knowledge-based skillsets to become primary drivers of economic and social development (Boc, 2020; Saint-Blancat, 2019). It’s therefore not at all surprising that global competition for highly qualified researchers, such as PhDs, is increasing rapidly as their role in economic development is being recognized, and as countries look to address skill gaps. Attracting researchers from wherever they are located only makes sense (Gibson & McKenzie, 2012; Gonzalez et al., 2008; POST, 2008). Several factors, including quality of life, monetary benefits, and perception of benefits in the destination country, are important in driving scientific mobility (Khan, 2021; Li et al., 2021; Torrisi & Pernagallo, 2020; Vega-Muñoz et al., 2021). One sees that, across the world, the scenario varies widely, with Eastern and Southern European countries losing scientists and engineers (S&Es) to Western Europe and the US (Gaule, 2014; Geuna, 2015; Mahroum, 2000a).

Available data indicate a net flow of S&Es from developing to developed countries. The familiar term ‘brain drain’ aptly describes the damaging impact of this migration (POST, 2008; Mahroum, 2000b). And yet, there is evidence that migration may be beneficial to both the ‘sending’ and ‘receiving’ countries by fostering positive knowledge transfer. Therefore, it may very well be more appropriate to use the term ‘brain circulation’ in place of brain drain (Balaz & Williams, 2004; Balaz et al., 2004; Beine et al., 2008, 2010; Benassy & Brezis, 2013; Bhagwati & Hamada, 1974; Czaika & Orazbayev, 2018a, 2018b; Dohlman et al., 2019; Gomez et al., 2020; Saxenian, 2005). Additionally, scientists tend to be attracted by countries with strong research systems.

Simultaneously, in the United States, the number of international students—most of them undergraduates—has been trending upward, increasing by 32% since 2000 to 2010. While 2018 to 2019 set a new all-time high for overseas students in the United States, the Institute of International Education data shows small dips in intake over the years spanning 2016 to 2019, coinciding with the election and presidency of Donald Trump (Open Doors, 2020). The situation is similar in the United Kingdom, which has the largest population of foreign-born PhD students in all of Europe (Edler et al., 2013; Franzoni et al., 2012; Gagliardi, 2011; Galgoczi et al., 2016). In 2012, 47% of U.S. doctoral students came from abroad (European Commission, 2014; Lanka, 2022; Lawson et al., 2015).

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