Book Chapter

International migration in academia and citation performance: an analysis of German-affiliated researchers by gender and discipline using Scopus publications 1996-2020

Zhao, X., Aref, S., Zagheni, E., Stecklov, G.
In: Glänzel, W., Heeffer, S., Chi, P.-S., Rousseau, R. (Eds.): 18th International Conference on Scientometrics and Informetrics ISSI 2021: 12-15 July 2021, KU Leuven, Belgium; proceedings, 1369–1380
International Conference on Scientometrics and Informetrics 18
Leuven, ISSI (2021)
Open Access


Germany has become a major country of immigration, as well as a research powerhouse in Europe. As Germany spends a higher fraction of its GDP on research and development than most countries with advanced economies, there is an expectation that Germany should be able to attract and retain international scholars who have high citation performance. Using an exhaustive set of over eight million Scopus publications, we analyze the trends in international migration to and from Germany among published researchers over the past 24 years. We assess changes in institutional affiliations for over one million researchers who have published with a German affiliation address at some point during the 1996-2020 period. We show that while Germany has been highly integrated into the global movement of researchers, with particularly strong ties to the US, the UK, and Switzerland, the country has been sending more published researchers abroad than it has attracted. While the balance has been largely negative over time, analyses disaggregated by gender, citation performance, and field of research show that compositional differences in migrant flows may help to alleviate persistent gender inequalities in selected fields.

Keywords: Germany, bibliographies, brain drain, circular migration, computational demography, computational social science, digital demography, information sciences, international migration, labor migration, libraries, library science
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.