On the Migration of Researchers across Scientific Domains
Shift of research interest is an inherent part of a scientific career. Accordingly, researchers tend to migrate from one field of research to another. In this paper, we systematically study the publication records of more than 200,000 researchers working in Computer Science domain and propose a simple algorithm to identify the migrating researchers. Just like human migration, this kind of research field migration is driven by various latent factors. Inspired by the classical theories of human migration, here we present a theoretical framework which models the decision-making processes of the individual migrating researchers and helps us to derive those latent factors. We further investigate the impact of these key factors in regulating a researcher’s decision to migrate to a specific research field and observe the effect of such migration on her career. We note that in general publication quantity & quality, collaborator profile, fields’ popularity contribute to a researcher’s decision of field-migration. Importantly, effects of migration are not only limited to just one individual’s career but also extend to the prospect of the research fields associated with it. Despite few initial capacity issues, field migration in general contribute in flourishing the research field people migrate into, in long term.