Moving university ‘increases research output and impact’

But transferring to an institution in another country generally has less of a ‘positive impact’, finds paper

June 20, 2016
Removal men loading home contents into truck
Source: Alamy

Academics looking to increase their publication output and impact should consider moving university, according to the findings of a recent paper.

The study, “Does research mobility have an effect on productivity and impact?”, published in International Higher Education, found that researchers who have worked in at least two institutions generally publish more research and are more frequently cited.

The research collected data on the number of publications and citations for 700 top-producing researchers across seven disciplines between 2010 and 2015, in addition to their university and country affiliations, using Elsevier’s SciVal database. The subjects included neuroscience, mechanical engineering, arts and humanities, oncology, environmental geology, business and infectious diseases.

The study found that academics in mechanical engineering, arts and humanities, oncology and infectious diseases receive the most benefit from several university affiliations, with all researchers evaluated in the last two subjects having at least two affiliations on their profiles.

However, although the paper found a link between domestic mobility and research productivity and impact, mobility between countries did not have a significant effect, except in environmental geology, arts and humanities, and business.

Gali Halevi, chief director of the Levy Library at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and co-author of the paper, suggested that these disciplines might benefit more from international mobility because they are more global in nature.

“Arts and humanities, for example, is related to culture and literature, so if you travel that usually enriches your experience. Some areas like engineering – not so much,” she told Times Higher Education.

In contrast, researchers in infectious diseases saw the most benefit when moving between two universities in one country. She suggested that this was because remaining within one country enables these academics to gain more in-depth knowledge in one area.

She added that international mobility might generally have less of a short-term effect on academic success than domestic mobility because of the “period of adjustment” required for researchers. Nevertheless, she said, moving country can provide other benefits such as enabling researchers to “expand your collaboration network” and “work with new people and new regions”.

ellie.bothwell@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

Sir Christopher Snowden, former Universities UK president, attacks ratings in wake of Southampton’s bronze award

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

Reflection of man in cracked mirror

To defend the values of reason from political attack we need to be more discriminating about the claims made in its name, says John Hendry