MPIDR Working Paper

Global flows and rates of international migration of scholars

MPIDR Working Paper WP-2023-018, 13 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (April 2023)
Open Access


Lack of reliable and comprehensive migration data is one of the major reasons that prevents advancements in our understanding of the causes and consequences of migration processes, including for specific groups like high-skilled migrants. We leverage large-scale bibliometric data from Scopus and OpenAlex to trace the global movements of a specific group of innovators: scholars. We developed pre-processing steps and offered best practices for the measurement and identification of migration events from bibliometric data. Our results show a high level of correlation between the count of scholars in Scopus and OpenAlex for most countries. While the magnitude of observed migration events in OpenAlex is larger than in Scopus, the bilateral flows among top pairs of origin and destination countries are consistent in the two databases. Even though OpenAlex has a higher coverage of non-Western countries, the highest correlations with Scopus are observed in Western countries. We share our aggregated estimates of international migration rates, and bilateral flows, at the country level, and expect that our estimates will enable researchers to improve our understanding of the causes and consequences of migration of scholars, and to forecast  the future mobility of global academic talent.

Keywords: Europe, World, international migration, migration, migration flow
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.