9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN24 Science and Technology

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Knowledge Flows and Mobility in Science and Technology Building AA, AA.223

Tracing researchers' mobility. Is human and social capital circulating, being transferred and/or increasing through researchers' mobility?

The paper aims to provide a preliminary analysis of the relationship between researchers' mobility, academic performance (measured in terms of publications, patents and citations) and career development. It presents a case study of 150 UK academic researchers that focuses on the intersectorial and postdoctoral researchers' mobility. The study relies on researchers' Curriculum Vitae (CVs) as a source of data in addition to ISI Web of Science and EPO. The case study aims to analyse the relationship between mobility and academic performance by comparing mobile and non-mobile researchers? performance and precocity.

In this work it is hypothesised that job transitions offering qualified human and social capital are related to increases in academic performance. The quality of the human and social capital is considered in terms of gains of recognition (e.g. access to institutions with higher status). The congruence between the human and social capital acquired through job transitions and different sectorial patterns of recognition are also taken into account.

Three conceptualisations of researchers' mobility are considered in this work: job mobility (changes in job positions), postdoctoral mobility and collaborations.

The study of the relationship between researchers' mobility and academic performance is tested by comparing mobile and non-mobile researchers' performance. The database includes productivity records for all the researchers' career (1963-2005). However, this study is focused on yearly publications from 1981 to 2005 in order to increase the number of "active researchers" in the mobile and control group. The dataset is a panel that follows all academic researchers productivity since 1981 until 2005. The dataset contains 3750 researcher-year observations.

There are four main expected results of the case study. Firstly, the study will find the most relevant individual and institutional characteristics of "mobile" researchers. Secondly, the study aims to show the relationship between different conceptualisations of researchers' mobility. Thirdly, it is expected to test the correlation of different types of mobility, academic performance and career development. A negative correlation of intersectorial mobility and academic performance (measured in terms of publications and citations) is expected, as well as a positive correlation of postdoctoral mobility on academic performance and career development.