Career on the move: Geography, stratification, and scientific impact
Changing institutions is an integral part of an academic life. Yet little is known about the mobility patternsof scientists at an institutional level and how these career choices affect scientific outcomes. Here, weexamine over 420,000 papers, to track the affiliation information of individual scientists, allowing us toreconstruct their career trajectories over decades. We find that career movements are not only temporallyand spatially localized, but also characterized by a high degree of stratification in institutional ranking.When cross-group movement occurs, we find that while going from elite to lower-rank institutions onaverage associates with modest decrease in scientific performance, transitioning into elite institutions doesnot result in subsequent performance gain. These results offer empirical evidence on institutional levelcareer choices and movements and have potential implications for science policy.