Career on the move: Geography, stratification, and scientific impact

P. Deville, D. Wang, R. Sinatra, C. Song, V. Blondel, A.-L. Barabási
Scientific Reports
4, 1-7 (2014).
April 24, 2014


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.

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