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Internal migration of scientists in Russia and the USA: the case of physicists

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A Correction to this article was published on 20 October 2017

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When scientists change jobs, they bring to their new workplace the experience, tacit knowledge and social ties they acquired at their previous workplace. Not only is the level of mobility important when discussing knowledge transfer between academic organizations or between regions, but the topology of a mobility network is also of crucial importance. This study presents a comparison of the structure of internal migration networks for Russian and American physicists, more specifically for scholars working in the field of applied physics. The comparison resulted in the set of hypotheses of how the features of the network are connected to the overall scientific productivity of the system.

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  • 20 October 2017

    The original article was published without an acknowledgment section. The complete acknowledgment section is given below.


  1. Apart from studies concerning mobility either in the academic or in the R&D sector, there are works dealing with cross-sector mobility, such as labor flows from academia to business (Crespi et al. 2007; Elsevier 2013).

  2. To obtain the total number of publications in the applied physics field the Web of Science subject categories were used.

  3. The sample was designed in spring 2015.

  4. When the researchers from the sample are referred to as 'Russian' or 'American' it neither denotes nationality nor citizenship, but simply the fact that researcher was working in the country. The distinction is particularly important in case of the USA, which hosts hundreds of thousands foreign researchers, many of them on a temporary basis (Auriol et al. 2013).

  5. Web of Science spelling is used.

  6. The maps were built with GPS Visualizer tool available at

  7. While the meaningful interpretation to the "survival rates" is not possible, because they are partly the artefact of our data gathering procedures, the mobility rates can be interpreted as characteristics of reality, not the procedures.

  8. In case of Russia one can hear from the experts that some universities receiving extra funding from the government for boosting research use the tactics of "acquiring the affiliations", a case similar to the one with Saudi institutions (Bhattacharjee 2011).

  9. The international links were measured through the temporary labor migration abroad.


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Correspondence to Ekaterina L. Dyachenko.

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Dyachenko, E.L. Internal migration of scientists in Russia and the USA: the case of physicists. Scientometrics 113, 105–122 (2017).

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