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International research visits and careers: An analysis of bioscience academics in Japan


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This paper investigates the effect of international research visits on promotion. Research visits may help to expand existing networks and promote knowledge transfer while at the same time ensuring career stability, identified as the main barrier to mobility in Europe and Japan. Using a dataset of 370 bioscience professors in Japan we find that international research visits have a positive effect on promotion and reduce the waiting time for promotion by one year. This provides evidence that these visits also benefit a researcher’s career in the long-term. This positive research visit effect is weaker for academics who also change jobs, but stronger for inbred academics. Research visits may therefore be of specific importance for otherwise immobile academics. Further, we find that while research visits of tenured staff enhance the career by providing an early chair, postdoctoral fellowships have no lasting effect on career progression.
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International research visits and
careers: An analysis of bioscience
academics in Japan
Cornelia Lawson
* and Sotaro Shibayama
BRICK, Collegio Carlo Alberto, Via Real Collegio 30, 10024 Moncalieri, Italy.
School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham
NG7 2RD, UK.
Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Komaba,
Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-8904 Japan.
*Corresponding author. Email:
This paper investigates the effect of international research visits on promotion. Research visits
may help to expand existing networks and promote knowledge transfer while at the same time
ensuring career stability, identified as the main barrier to mobility in Europe and Japan. Using a
dataset of 370 bioscience professors in Japan we find that international research visits have a
positive effect on promotion and reduce the waiting time for promotion by one year. This provides
evidence that these visits also benefit a researcher’s career in the long-term. This positive
research visit effect is weaker for academics who also change jobs, but stronger for inbred aca-
demics. Research visits may therefore be of specific importance for otherwise immobile aca-
demics. Further, we find that while research visits of tenured staff enhance the career by
providing an early chair, postdoctoral fellowships have no lasting effect on career progression.
Keywords: international research visits; career paths; promotion; academic mobility.
1. Introduction
The mobility of academics is a subject viewed with
increasing interest by policy-makers around the world. It
is encouraged as an instrument to improve the perform-
ance of the research system by promoting the diffusion of
knowledge, as well as facilitating knowledge and technol-
ogy transfer, network creation and productivity. In the
context of the university, enhanced transparency in
hiring decisions and the movement of university staff
between universities and to firms has been viewed as
crucial for the advancement of knowledge (OECD 2000,
2008). For these reasons, the mobility of academics has
become an important issue for science and technology
policy in Europe (European Commission 2001, 2010) as
well as in Japan (Arimoto 2011; MEXT 2003a, 2009;
RIHE 2006) with localism and inbreeding considered to
be inhibitors of scientific advancement and innovation
(European Commission 2010; MEXT 2003b).
In the context of academic mobility it is also important to
highlight changes in promotion and career patterns which
have arisen in recent years. The growing diversification of
academic work roles, including an increasing number of
part-time and short-term contracts (Enders 2005; Stephan
and Ma 2005; Stephan 2012), makes mobility an important
element of career progression and demands a better under-
standing of the consequences of mobility, especially inter-
national mobility, not only for the flow of knowledge but
also for individual academic careers (Enders 2005; Enders
and de Weert 2004; Zellner 2003).
In general, mobility is considered beneficial for individ-
ual academics as it helps to expand existing networks and
exploit new knowledge sets (Saxenian 2005), which may
increase both the chances of receiving promotion at
home and of being offered a position elsewhere.
However, the ‘incentive structures of employing organiza-
tions’ (Cruz and Sanz 2010: 37) often fail to reward
mobility. While academic career patterns have diversified,
Science and Public Policy 42 (2015) pp. 690–710 doi:10.1093/scipol/scu084
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a system with primarily tenured academic positions with
long-term employment relationships between academics
and their institutions and a rigid, hierarchical structure is
common in most of Western Europe (Pezzoni et al. 2012),
and also in the USA and Japan.
For example, job transi-
tion could be seen as disruptive at early stages of the career
in systems that support stability, and indeed there is some
evidence in France, Spain and Italy that non-mobile
faculty are promoted sooner (Gaughan and Robin 2004;
Cruz and Sanz 2010; Pezzoni et al. 2012). For the USA and
Mexico, on the other hand, Hargens and Farr (1973) and
Horta et al. (2010) find that non-mobile faculty were
promoted less or later, highlighting important country
In this paper, we focus on international mobility, due to
its growing pervasiveness and political importance
(Glanzel et al. 2008; Stephan 2012). Internationally
mobile academics are believed to provide collective
benefits in terms of spill-overs to their home countries
(Ackers 2005; Saxenian 2005), evidence that sparked
policy initiatives to encourage home-grown academics to
go abroad and to encourage those who migrated abroad to
return home (Hunter et al. 2009).
International mobility
may, however, be especially likely to remain unrewarded
due to varying labour market conditions for academics in
different countries that promote different research
trajectories (Gaughan and Robin 2004). This should
especially be the case in countries that promote long-
term employment relationships.
Empirically, we focus on a set of 370 bioscience profes-
sors in Japan, identify their average career path and
evaluate the role of international research visits (short-
term moves to a different country while holding a
permanent academic post) in career advancement in the
home country. In order to do this, we examine useful
theories of job-matching and social capital that could
inform the institutional features of academia that affect
promotion and mobility. In Japan, inbreeding (employ-
ment at the institution from which one graduated), has
been observed to be institutionalised, representing prac-
tices ‘to assure organizational stability and institutional
identity’ (Horta et al. 2011: 35).
These features are similar to those observed by Cruz and
Sanz (2010) in Spain. Traditionally, Japan has shown high
levels of job security for junior academics. By enabling
mobility within such a secure job environment, research
visits may lead to potentially higher individual benefits
than mobility that offers less job security. We follow a
‘life-course perspective’, which calls for an investigation
that distinguishes the types of mobility and the career
stage at which they occur (Fernandez-Zubieta et al. forth-
coming), to examine the effect of international research
visits in connection with, and in comparison to, other
types of mobility.
The remainder of the paper is structured as follows. In
Section 2 we review the literature on mobility and careers
and draw up our hypotheses. Section 3 provides back-
ground information on the Japanese academic labour
market and educational system. Section 4 introduces the
data. Section 5 discusses our empirical strategy and
presents the results. Section 6 provides a discussion and
draws conclusions.
2. Mobility and careers
2.1 Effect of mobility on promotion
While the study of the determinants of scientific product-
ivity has been a major focus in the economics and soci-
ology of science, the analysis of career and mobility has
received less attention, perhaps because both are assumed
to be closely linked to productivity (Allison and Long
1990; Long et al. 1993). However, the relationship
between mobility and careers is more complex. Mobility
may have varying effects on careers and on science and
knowledge production depending on the type of mobility
and the career stage at which it occurs (Fernandez-Zubieta
et al. forthcoming).
Several approaches have tried to explain the link between
mobility and careers and here we focus on the (a) job-
matching and (b) scientific and technical human capital
(S&T HC) approaches. The job-matching approach empha-
sises the importance of a good job match between aca-
demics and their institutions (Jovanovic 1979; Topel and
Ward 1992). If an institution does not enable academics
to develop their full potential or does not give recognition
for their work, this can cause academics to move elsewhere
in an attempt to further their careers. Job-matching is espe-
cially important at the early-career stages, when young aca-
demics transition from PhD graduate to academic
colleague. Not all institutions may support this transition
or offer the roles required for transition, causing academics
to move (Glaser 2001). This includes mobility to lower rank
institutions if they provide career advantages (Fernandez-
Zubieta et al. forthcoming). A better match following the
move may also result in better career development and pro-
motion. However, not all mobility necessarily results in a
better match due to asymmetric information especially at
the early stages of a career, and mobility may fail to provide
the anticipated benefits in terms of research and reputation
(Fernandez-Zubieta et al. forthcoming), for example, pre-
viously acquired knowledge may not be recognised at the
new institution.
The S&T HC approach can help to further explain the
link between mobility and promotion. Bozeman et al.
(2001: 5–6) describe the notion of S&T HC as:
...the sum of scientific, technical and social knowledge, skills
and the resources embodied in a particular individual.
Social ties established throughout a career are important
elements of S&T HC and may enable the individual to
access networks that make promotion easier (Pezzoni
International research visits and careers .691
et al. 2012). These ties can be expected to increase through
mobility and research collaborations (Bozeman and
Rogers 2002; Pezzoni et al. 2012) and we could therefore
expect mobility to have a positive effect on promotion.
However, depending on the academic career system, pro-
motion is often conditioned by a previous commitment to
the home organisation. For example, Long et al. (1993)
show that changing affiliations can reset the tenure clock,
delaying the promotion of job-mobile academics. Heining
et al. (2007) also suggest that mobility may weaken the
social ties that may be required for career progression.
Life-long contracts and the importance of scholarly
networks for increasing one’s chances of being hired and
promoted may therefore endorse immobility in a system
that provides stable employment, as is the case in most
of Europe and in Japan (Cruz and Sanz 2010; Stephan
Fernandez-Zubieta et al. (forthcoming) build on these
two approaches and conclude that we may not always
expect mobility to have a positive effect on careers.
Rather, this effect depends on the type and timing of the
move. In what they call a ‘life-course perspective’ they
consider the relevance of different types of mobility
events throughout an academic’s career and at different
career stages. They specifically stress the importance of
different aspects of mobility (international, intersectorial
and social mobility) that may overlap and of successive
movements which may lead to different effects compared
to single mobility events. Empirically, they suggest con-
sidering one specific mobility event while taking account
of other mobility types when investigating the relationship
between mobility and promotion. We focus on interna-
tional research visits (i.e. temporary mobility to another
institution abroad while keeping one’s home affiliation)
and their effect on promotion, taking into account: first,
postdoctoral mobility (i.e. mobility prior to obtaining an
academic position); and second, job-to-job mobility (i.e.
mobility from one academic employer to another).
2.2 International return mobility and promotion
The employment market for academics is international,
differentiated by academic discipline (Enders and de
Weert 2004). Especially at the early stages of a career,
international mobility can provide training in leading
research groups. In some instances this may aid the estab-
lishment of a career in the new institution and country
(Becher and Trowler 2001) while in others, academics
enter a leading lab abroad to acquire specialist tacit know-
ledge that can then be applied at their sending institution
or in their home country (Stephan 2012).
However, while young academics are encouraged to
engage in international mobility, the activity often
becomes detached from its original objectives, including
knowledge transfer and positive spill-over effects, and
may be better described as an additional compulsory
career stage (Ackers 2008). Indeed, Musselin (2004) finds
that academics participating in postdoctoral fellowships
perceive their international mobility to be a personal
strategy aimed at improving their career prospects back
home. Jons (2007) also showed that improving career
opportunities is one of the most important factors for aca-
demics in biosciences to participate in international
research stays in Germany, though the search for new
ideas and contacts are still more, or equally, as important.
The literature has addressed international return
mobility empirically (Mahroum 2001). Several papers
find that those who have participated in international
mobility perform better and have a larger international
network (thus higher S&T HC) than their peers who
have not been internationally mobile (Canibano et al.
2008; Franzoni et al. 2012; Jonkers 2011; Scellato et al.
2012). However, many of these studies conflate different
mobility types, for example combining pre- and postdoc-
toral mobility or forced and voluntary mobility (Ackers
and there is already evidence that not all interna-
tionally mobile academics benefit from their experience.
Jonkers (2011), for example, reports that early-career aca-
demics in Argentina who are mobile are promoted later
than their non-mobile peers who are equally productive;
and Cruz and Sanz (2010) find that young returnees in
Spain are less likely to gain a permanent position following
their postdoctoral mobility than those who have not been
internationally mobile. Finally, Melin (2005) shows that a
discernible share of returnees in Sweden have difficulties in
incorporating the knowledge they acquired abroad. This
evidence suggests that not all types of international return
mobility have a positive effect for individual careers, some-
thing that has been linked to the loss of social ties neces-
sary for promotion (loss of S&T HC) and the lack of
openness towards the new knowledge from abroad
2.3 Hypotheses
While the literature on returnees primarily refers to inter-
nationally mobile academics in general, this paper follows
Fernandez-Zubieta et al. (forthcoming) and focuses on one
type of mobility, specifically on academics participating in
a research visit abroad while continuing to hold a perman-
ent position in their home country. These research visits
can be considered to be a form of faculty development,
which has been a focus of universities and governments
for many years, resulting in a variety of programmes and
activities being proposed. These include: faculty ex-
changes, sabbaticals, unpaid leaves, and research visits,
which are often supported by foundations or government.
They are designed to improve faculty performance, par-
ticularly in terms of scientific expertise and personal
growth (Camblin and Steger 2000; Centra 1978).
Research visits abroad may thus help the development of
S&T HC, including tacit knowledge and links to colleagues
692 .C. Lawson and S. Shibayama
in the field which, in turn, may result in better performance
and promotion (Becker 1962; Colquitt et al. 2000; Parent
More importantly, it might address potential barriers to
other types of mobility (e.g. international job-to-job
mobility) experienced by permanent academic staff. For
example, the difficulty of re-entry due to the loss of
social ties (loss of S&T HC), delayed promotion due to a
lack of prior commitment or the potential mismatch with
the new department, do not apply to research visits. Thus,
research visits which focus all the efforts of the academics
on research in a prestigious international environment, are
expected to enable a quicker career progression, which is
reflected in earlier promotion.
Hypothesis 1: Academics who undertake research visits abroad
are promoted sooner than their peers who do not undertake
such visits.
As argued by Fernandez-Zubieta et al. (forthcoming), any
mobility event has to be seen in the context of the aca-
demic’s life-course and its interaction with other types of
mobility. Research visits not only offer an opportunity for
career development but can also increase job satisfaction,
indicate approval and give a sense of achievement (Allen
et al. 2004) that might well reduce later job mobility
(Parent 1999). Further, while mobility is generally
assumed to be beneficial, a change of employer may
result in a loss of social ties and a reset tenure clock
(Heining et al. 2007; Long et al. 1993). Research visits
enable mobility without cutting institutional links
(without loss of S&T HC) and remove the risk of a
mismatch as there is no change of employer, and they
should therefore have a more positive effect for otherwise
non-job-mobile academics. Similarly, we expect a greater
effect from research visits for inbred academics who can
take advantage of institutional links since their PhD
Hypothesis 2a: The promotion enhancing effect of research
visits abroad is greater for otherwise non-job-mobile aca-
demics than for job-mobile academics.
Hypothesis 2b: The promotion enhancing effect of research
visits abroad is greater for inbred academics than for non-
inbred academics.
To emphasise the importance of considering different types
of mobility separately (Fernandez-Zubieta et al. forthcom-
ing), we also investigate the effect of postdoctoral interna-
tional mobility. In a similar vein to international research
visits, international postdoctoral mobility has been argued
to have a positive effect on research careers (Su 2011;
Stephan and Ma 2005). Some studies have focused specif-
ically on international postdoctoral mobility and find that
it has a positive effect on performance, career and
networks (Horta 2009; Zubieta 2009). However, the
increasing frequency of postdoctoral mobility and
associated job insecurity (Stephan and Ma 2005; Stephan
2012) can compromise these benefits. For example, many
postdoctoral researchers may spend a significant amount
of time on job-hunting rather than research, collaboration
networks with previous affiliations may break down (loss
of S&T HC) and new knowledge may not be rewarded
(mismatch). Thus, while we hypothesised that interna-
tional visits expedite the promotion of academics, we do
not expect the same benefits from postdoctoral stays
Hypothesis 3: Academics who undertake international post-
doctoral mobility are not promoted sooner than their peers.
3. Mobility of academics in Japan
This study focuses on the case of bioscience professors in
Japan. Japan is one of the leading countries in bioscience
research contributing 7% of the world academic articles in
the field, the same as, for instance, Germany and the UK
(BIS 2013). Bioscience represents the largest research
sector in Japan with almost one-third of all research
articles in Japan published in bioscience-related fields
(BIS 2013). These fields also account for 45% of all
grantees of the Grants in Aid (GiA) programme, the
primary public source of research funding in Japan,
further emphasising the importance of the field for the
Japanese academic market. This section gives an
overview of the mobility and employment patterns in
Japan that also affect bioscience academics. Bioscience
needs to be considered a special case within academia
with potentially higher mobility rates than other scientific
areas due to its international nature. However, the inter-
national importance of the bioscience field may also make
the results more relevant for other countries.
3.1 The Japanese academic employment system
Japan has three types of institutions that offer four-year
courses and postgraduate education: national, public and
private universities. National universities are financed by
the central government and are primarily research-oriented
institutions, while public universities are run by local gov-
ernments with a regional development objective. Their em-
ployees were government employees until reforms in 2004
and thus fell under the Public Servants Law. In 2012 the 86
national universities employed 101,522 academic staff and
the 92 public universities 27,344 (full- and part-time staff)
(MEXT 2012). The majority of students and academic
staff can, however, be found at the 605 private universities
that in 2012 employed 240,012 academic staff (MEXT
2012). Private universities, though theoretically sovereign
institutions that are financed primarily through student
fees, are also subject to government control, in terms of
enrolment and organisation (Shimbori 1981). Though
only about 10% of their finances come from government
International research visits and careers .693
(figure for FY2008) (Statistics Bureau Japan 2012: 724),
they are heavily affected by its regulation of the national
universities with which they need to compete, an endeav-
our made difficult by the heavy government subsidy and
low tuition fees of national universities (Akabayashi and
Naoi 2004).
Surveys of the Japanese university system describe it as
highly elitist with an established hierarchy that limits any
transition of academics between universities and thus
stymies overall mobility (Shimbori 1981; Horta et al.
2011; RIHE 2006). Looking at employment statistics, we
can see that the average length of employment is higher for
academics than for university graduates in general (15
years vs. 12.5 years in 2010), but the same as that of
other high-skill professions (e.g. architects, engineers and
teachers) with the exception of medical doctors (4.6 years)
(Statistics Bureau Japan 2012: 518–20). However, Japanese
universities have an alma mater-based form of patronage
for university graduates known as gakubatsu (literally:
school tie), which has gradually become institutionalised
(RIHE 2006). Graduates are placed in a university with
links to the institution that awarded their first degree,
thus reinforcing the gakubatsu. The university hierarchy
is dominated by the University of Tokyo, followed by
other national universities and a handful of older private
universities. This structure is reinforced by the fact that the
majority of postgraduate, and specifically doctoral, educa-
tion is done in the few national universities. While private
institutions have consistently accounted for 77% of under-
graduate students in the past 25 years, they only produced
23% of PhDs in 2010. The national universities on the
other hand, provide just 20% of undergraduate education
but produce 70% of doctoral students (Statistics Bureau
Japan 2012: 714–5). In 2001, 11% of the academic work-
force in Japan had graduated from the University of
Tokyo (Yamanoi 2007).
Most Japanese universities have a three-tier promotion
system with professor at the top, then associate professor
and finally assistant professor (or lecturer/assistant). In
2012, 40% of all academic positions were professorships,
24% associate professors and 36% in the lower ranks
(MEXT 2012). Promotion decisions in Japan are largely
made at the departmental level (Teichler et al. 2013). It has
further been claimed that promotion is primarily based on
seniority with minor adjustments for education and per-
formance (Shimbori 1981; Takahashi and Takahashi
2009). This is particularly true for national and public
universities which, until recently, fell under the Public
Servant Laws. Moreover, before 1990 the academic
labour market was characterised by a chair structure
(RIHE 2006), where promotion was only possible if a
chair resigned. This system was challenged when other
academic structures were introduced, for instance,
allowing for fixed-term appointments (RIHE 2006). In
April 2004, a reform to incorporate these national and
public universities removed the public servant status
from academics and allowed greater freedom in recruit-
ment, wages and promotion (RIHE 2006).
3.2 Careers and mobility
While Japanese academics are not entirely immobile,
policy-makers have long realised that the cross-
organisational flow of academics lacks flexibility and is
heavily constrained by a rigid social structure (e.g.
gakubatsu). Amongst other factors, the practice of inbreed-
ing has been regarded as a serious impediment (Yamanoi
2007). The Japanese Ministry for Education (MEXT)
reported that inbred academics, who assumed professor-
ships in the university where they earned their degree, ac-
counted for about 62% of all faculty members in graduate
schools in 1998 (MEXT 2003b). Arguing that inbreeding
deters scientific competitiveness, the government began to
restructure the career system, especially for young aca-
demics, around the year 2000. For example, it has pro-
hibited one type of nationally-funded postdoctoral
fellows from remaining in the laboratories where they
completed their PhD theses. National universities are
also now required to employ faculty members through
open competition, and permanent employment for entry
positions has been largely replaced by temporary contracts
with the intention of forcing mobility. Further, a tenure-
track system, modelling the American system, was
introduced so that young academics could obtain entry
positions without social ties with incumbents (Morichika
and Shibayama forthcoming). Nevertheless, the old struc-
tures prevail and still in 2005 only 3.4% of academics were
hired on a fixed-term basis, however, this percentage was
much higher amongst junior academics (6%), especially
those at national universities (10%) (RIHE 2006).
Despite these efforts, the rigidity of the Japanese
academic market largely remains, and further policy
reform seems to be needed.
While the above-mentioned changes may have primarily
addressed the lack of domestic job mobility, policies for
international mobility have a long history in Japan.
Starting in the late 19th century, MEXT implemented
several programmes for temporary research visits abroad.
The primary objective of these programmes was the quick
absorption of knowledge from, and catching up with,
other developed countries, but their emphasis has shifted
towards the promotion of academic and educational
exchange in general (Tsuji 2010). The government task
force for faculty development has published its vision of
the future, in which the necessity for early-career research
experience in foreign institutions is stressed as a means for
increasing global competitiveness (MEXT 2003a, 2009).
Many of these government faculty development pro-
grammes provide fellowships for temporary stays or
travel funds for conference attendance and, according to
government statistics, approximately 7,000 university
faculty members were sent abroad every year in the
694 .C. Lawson and S. Shibayama
1990s (MEXT 1999). Importantly, many of them were
allowed to visit a foreign institution while on leave from
their home institution. These stays differ from sabbaticals
in that sabbaticals are given to senior scholars more as a
reward rather than as part of faculty development for
younger scholars. Further, they differ from postdoctoral
mobility in terms of job security. The programmes aim: dispatch university faculty members to foreign research
institutions, encourage them to concentrate on their research,
and improve their research capabilities. (MEXT 1980)
The major government sponsored programme for tempor-
ary visits was called the ‘Overseas Research Scholars
Program’ and started in the late 19th century.
A recent analysis of academic articles in peer-reviewed
journals and affiliation details of academics on Scopus
found that 30% of academics that published under a
Japanese affiliation had at least once spent up to two
years outside Japan, and 10% stayed abroad for more
than two years (BIS 2013). These shares are lower than
those for other academic markets (e.g. UK or USA), but
are comparable to some European countries. The results of
the study showed that international research visits are
widespread amongst Japanese academics and a more im-
portant means of international mobility than permanent
migration. The most important partner for international
exchanges and collaborations is the USA, as evidenced by
the large number of articles co-authored by US authors
(BIS 2013) and the large share of academic staff with a
doctoral degree from the USA (Yamanoi 2007).
4. Data and descriptive statistics
4.1 Data
The data used in this paper was collected as part of a
survey conducted in 2010. The survey was addressed to
full professors in the fields of biology and bioscience who
had received a GiA at least once in the period 2006–9. GiA
is the largest and primary funding source for academics in
Japan, amounting to JPY200 billion (US$2.4 billion) in
This sampling criterion allows us to effectively elim-
inate non-research active faculty members from the
sampling frame.
We identified 1,378 academics in the
database who fulfilled the criteria. From this population
we selected 1,080 professors at the top 56 universities.
After reviewing research fields and affiliations on univer-
sity websites, we arrived at a final sample of 900
Postal questionnaires were sent to these 900 academics
in May 2010. A reminder was sent one month later.
Participants had to fill in the paper-based questionnaires
and send them back by post. We received 400 responses by
August 2010, thus achieving a response rate of 44%.
Although this represents a good response rate, there may
be a concern about respondent bias. However, the original
survey did not indicate that the data would be used for the
analysis of mobility and career advancement, mitigating
this risk.
In addition, to examine non-response bias, we
randomly selected 50 non-respondents and found no sig-
nificant difference between the response and non-response
groups in terms of productivity, organisational rank and
gender (p >0.1).
CV information was collected from ReaD,
a career
database created by a governmental agency, where scien-
tists deposit their CV information voluntarily. The data in
ReaD is completely structured and thus is particularly
useful for career analysis. As data registration at ReaD is
not mandatory and information may not be complete, we
completed CVs with information from the scientists’
personal websites. All CVs were verified with information
collected through the questionnaire survey, which included
questions on the year in which the PhD was awarded and
the years in which promotion was obtained. Full CVs were
available for 370 academics who in 2010 worked at 56
different universities in Japan.
CVs provide a rich source of longitudinal information
that covers the major dimensions of an academic’s career
and research contacts. While some of the dimensions of
mobility can be inferred from bibliometric data, most of
an academic’s activities may not be observed using trad-
itional data sources, particularly if they do not involve
publications in scientific journals. CVs have been found
to be particularly useful in the analysis of academic
careers as they provide information about the exact time
of recruitment, promotion and job transitions and add-
itionally allow us to gather reliable publication data. In
recent years, several academics have used CV analysis to
study the impact of mobility on academic productivity and
career progression (Canibano and Bozeman 2009).
Data taken from CVs includes all career information
starting from the year of the first degree (Bachelor). It
comprises a comprehensive listing of all positions,
including research visits. Additionally, publication data
was collected from the Web of Science (WoS).
4.2 Descriptive statistics
Basic demographic characteristics for the sample of 370
professors for whom full CVs were available are shown
in Table 1. We find that 3% of the sampled professors
are women (3% of the total sample population of 900
are also women). The average professor finished his under-
graduate studies in 1978 and his PhD in 1984. The average
age of professors in 2010 is 54. As discussed earlier,
doctoral courses are highly concentrated and promotion
is directly linked to training at one of the elite institutions
in Japan. In our sample 91% of academics received their
doctorate from a national university (336 professors),
including 26% from the University of Tokyo alone. Just
3% of doctoral degrees came from public universities (10
professors), 5% from a private universities (17 professors)
International research visits and careers .695
and 2% received their degree abroad (7 professors). Of
those in the sample, 58 academics (16%) have a degree
in medicine and may behave differently from the rest of
the sample due to periods spent as medical staff in hos-
pitals with lower levels of research activity.
4.2.1 Career paths. We define positions in terms of the
three career steps described above (assistant professor, as-
sociate professor and full professor). On average, aca-
demics finish their PhD six years after the award of a
BA and take up their first position as assistant professor
one year later. During this period they are still under the
supervision of a full professor.
We have to consider that not all academics in our
sample follow this strict career path. In fact, 45 academics
never assumed the position of an assistant professor, but
took up other types of appointments and entered the
standard academic career as associate professors (27
cases) or as full professor (18 cases). Moreover, 25 aca-
demics in our sample were promoted from the rank of
an assistant to that of a full professor without the inter-
mediate step of an associate.
Of the 325 academics who started their career as assist-
ant professor, 79% took up their first academic position at
one of the national universities, 4% at public universities,
12% at private universities, 3% at public research organ-
isations that follow academic career steps and 2% at
foreign institutions.
Table 2 reports the number of years from first degree to
promotion for various groups of academics (e.g.
comparing those that do not have a medical degree to
those that do). On average, they are promoted to the
position of associate professor 14 years after receiving
their first degree and to full professor 21 years after
being awarded their first degree. The number of years
from first degree until promotion is significantly shorter
for academics with a medical degree (12 and 17.5,
4.2.2 International research visits. The main focus of
this paper is research visits abroad. We categorise research
visits as a move to another university or public research
institution of up to three years, followed by a return to the
original institution. We do not include postdoctoral ap-
pointments. We only include research visits that occur
after an academic has been appointed assistant professor.
Research visits can appear to be very similar to postdoc-
toral appointments; however, they are marked by a return
to the original institution and original tenured position,
indicating that they were intended to be temporary stays.
This type of mobility is fairly common amongst Japanese
academics. Of the sample who start their career as assistant
professors, 76 professors (23%) spent some time as re-
searchers or visiting fellows at other institutions, usually
outside Japan (95% of cases). The majority of these
research visits happened early during their careers with
80% being visiting fellows as assistant professors. Only
one academic in our sample has been a visiting fellow
after his promotion to full professor. This may be due to
the increased administrative and teaching commitments of
full professors that do not allow them to leave their insti-
tutions for more than a few weeks. The remainder of this
paper will focus on international research visits and not
consider domestic research visits.
Table 2 shows that, on average academics who visited
other institutions abroad during their time as assistant pro-
fessor are promoted to associate eight months earlier than
those that have not participated in research visits. Further,
academics who undertake research visits are also promoted
to full professor more than a year earlier than their peers.
4.2.3 Postdoctoral mobility. In comparison, we found
that of the 325 academics who started as assistant profes-
sors, 99 had completed a postdoctoral fellowship (which is
defined as a research stay of up to four years starting
straight after the completion of a PhD and before an ap-
pointment to assistant professor). In contrast to research
visits, these postdoctoral appointments are distributed
evenly across Japanese and foreign institutions, with
60% of appointments being abroad. In 23 cases professors
are appointed postdoctoral academics in the same institu-
tions that awarded their PhD. In 20 cases academics were
offered a position as assistant professor in the same insti-
tution upon completion of their postdoctoral research. We
found that 16 academics who undertook a postdoctoral
fellowship also took up international research visit later.
Table 2 shows that, on average, academics who completed
a postdoctoral appointment are not promoted earlier than
their peers.
4.2.4 Job mobility and career life-course. Any mobility
event has to be seen in the context of an academic’s life-
course and its interaction with other types of mobility. We
therefore control for other types of mobility in all
Table 1. Demographic characteristics of 370 bioscience professors
(year 2010)
Mean S.D. Min. Max.
Female 0.03 0.18 0 1
Year of BA 1978.32 5.82 1960 1993
Year of PhD 1984.43 5.89 1965 1998
Age 53.68 5.82 39 72
Nationality Japanese 1.00 0.00 1 1
PhD national university 0.91 0.29 0 1
PhD public university 0.03 0.16 0 1
PhD private university 0.05 0.21 0 1
PhD foreign university 0.02 0.14 0 1
Medical degree 0.16 0.36 0 1
696 .C. Lawson and S. Shibayama
estimates and relate our international research visit
variable to these. Job-to-job mobility is defined as a
change of position that occurs after an academic’s first
appointment as assistant professor. The move has to be
non-temporary with no return to the original institution
within three years of the initial move. Some of these ap-
pointments may be as a research fellow at a foreign insti-
tution. If the position is held for at least three years or the
academic does not return to the original institution, it is
considered to be job mobility rather than a visit.
We can identify three main job mobility patterns for the
325 academics who started as assistant professor:
.Group 1: Those who never change universities (84
.Group 2: Those who move at assistant and/or associate
level (232 academics).
.Group 3: Those who move at professor level (40 aca-
demics; including 31 from group 2).
Non-job-mobile academics (group 1) constitute just 26%
of the sample, indicating a very high degree of job-to-job
mobility amongst university academics in Japan. This
contradicts Shimbori (1981) and Horta et al. (2011) who
argue that the Japanese system limits job mobility. This
high rate of job mobility could be due to the fact that our
sample selection only included full professors at research-
intensive universities. The 241 job-mobile professors
(groups 2 and 3) move 414 times, spending an average of
7.9 years at each institution, 251 of these moves were
accompanied by a promotion to a higher rank. Of those
who are job-mobile at assistant professor level, 62% move
to be promoted to associate or full professor; amongst
those job-mobile at associate professor level, 76% move
to gain the position of full professor. Thus, job mobility in
Japan is closely linked to promotion opportunities.
In addition, regressions that consider promotion from
associate to full professor will include academics who have
started their career in industry or in a public research or-
ganisation. The mobility back to academia is also
considered job-to-job mobility and involves 40 academics.
Table 2 shows that on average job-mobile assistant profes-
sors are not promoted sooner than their non-job-mobile
colleagues, while job-mobile associate professors are
promoted to full professor about two years earlier than
their peers.
4.2.5 Inbreeding. In addition to (non-)job-mobile aca-
demics we can look at academic inbreeding, widely
defined as the practice of universities hiring their own
graduates, a practice assumed to be widespread in Japan
(Horta et al. 2011). In our sample 146 academics were
initially hired by their PhD institutions and another 53
academics moved back to their PhD institution after a
short period elsewhere. Just like previous studies in the
US context (Burris 2004) we find that inbreeding is more
prevalent amongst elite institutions. The Japanese univer-
sity ranking is headed by the seven pre-imperial national
universities (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Tohoku, Hokkaido,
Nagoya and Kyushu). We can distinguish the University
of Tokyo from the other six as it receives twice as much
funding in the bioscience field compared to the second
ranked institution (Kyoto). In our sample, more than
80% of new hirings at the University of Tokyo received
their PhD from the same institution. For the other six elite
institutions this share is still 78%. Lower ranked institu-
tions mostly hire from the pool of top graduates, partly
out of necessity due to less developed postgraduate pro-
grammes. On average, 10 years after first hiring, 60% of
academics at the top seven institutions are inbred. Fig. 1
shows the distribution of academics in our sample amongst
different types of institutions for years since the award of a
PhD. It clearly shows the dominance of the top institutions
and the high degree of inbreeding at the top. Table 2 also
shows that on average inbred academics wait longer for
promotion to associate professor. We expect these patterns
to affect the relationship between international research
visits and promotion.
Table 2. Promotion in number of years after BA (by groups of academics)
No Yes
Promotion to associate Promotion to full professor Promotion to associate Promotion to full professor
All 13.69 (300) 20.59 (365)
Med_degree 14.00 (257) 21.18 (307) 11.83*** (43) 17.47*** (58)
Visit 13.80 (241) 20.88 (287) 13.24 (59) 19.55** (78)
Visit_abroad 13.81 (245) 20.80 (290) 13.16 (55) 19.79** (75)
Postdoc 13.55 (214) 20.85 (247) 14.02 (86) 20.07 (118)
Postdoc_abroad 13.63 (247) 20.59 (292) 13.94 (53) 20.59 (73)
Job-mobile 13.47 (152) 21.88 (103) 13.92 (148) 20.10*** (262)
Inbred 13.39 (205) 20.51 (278) 14.32 (95)** 20.85 (87)
Number of academics in brackets
Significance test of mean differences with “no” group: *** p <0.01, ** p <0.05, * p <0.1
International research visits and careers .697
4.2.6 Other controls. We collected the number of publi-
cations for each professor from the WoS. Publications may
be associated with promotions, though Takahashi and
Takahashi (2009) do not find this to be the case for a
sample of Japanese economists. However, their sample
was mainly drawn from education-oriented institutions
where merit has less of an effect on promotion.
Performance may play a greater role at research
universities, which are the focus of this paper. On
average, each professor published seven publications per
year during the observation period (the years since the
award of a PhD until 2012). Additionally, we collected
the number of citations received by each publication as a
measure of quality. On average publications receive 22 cit-
ations, a number significantly higher than the worldwide
and Japanese averages for citations in biological sciences
(BIS 2013),
indicating that the academics in our sample
are high performers. In our estimates we use the stock of
publications and average number of citations to measure
an academic’s productivity.
We also have detailed information on the GiA funding
received by each academic in each year. The amount of
funding was split across years and investigators and each
professor received an average of JPY5 million per year
We further assume that promotion is more difficult to
achieve at top institutions. We therefore rank all institu-
tions based on GiA funding received by a university in the
field of bioscience in the previous five years. Funding
values are normalised linearly, dividing each value by the
maximum amount received in the sample. Thus, we have a
one-to-one relationship between the original and
normalised values. The University of Tokyo represents
the value one and all other universities are defined as a
share of this.
Based on this index we assign each
academic a PhD ranking and a university ranking. The
mean PhD rank is 0.5 indicating that most academics
receive their PhDs from one of the top universities. The
mean rank amongst current institutions is 0.3, indicating a
general downward mobility trend amongst academics fol-
lowing their PhD (see Fig. 1).
5. Empirical strategy and results
We estimate a duration model of career promotion as a
function of international research visits, taking into
account past and current job mobility events. We assume
that each academic is subject to the probability of being
promoted conditional on his or her status as an assistant
or associate professor. We therefore estimate our promo-
tion equation separately for assistant professors who are
promoted to associate professors (300 academics) and as-
sociate professors who are promoted to full professors (365
academics). In the duration analysis an academic is at risk
of being promoted to associate professor from the begin-
ning of his or her career and at risk of being promoted to
full professor once awarded an associate professorship.
We make use of the Cox-proportional hazard model where
the dependent variable is the time that elapses from first
degree until promotion.
The same model is used to evaluate the differential effect
of international research visits for inbred or non-job-
mobile faculty based on the life-course perspective
approach (Fernandez-Zubieta et al. forthcoming). We
expect that non-job-mobile or inbred academics benefit
more from research visits than their job-mobile or non-
inbred peers and therefore introduce an interaction term.
Age and its squared term are included to control for a
possible age effect on promotion. Gender, PhD, and uni-
versity type indicators are used as controls. Performance
measures are included to assess the importance of merit for
promotion. All regressions also include year dummies.
Table 3 shows descriptive statistics for the main variables
used in the regressions for the sample of 300 academics
Figure 1. Distribution of PhD institutions by job destination in years since PhD.
698 .C. Lawson and S. Shibayama
who experience promotion to associate professor and the
sample of 365 academics who experience promotion to full
professor. Appendix 1 shows the correlation matrix.
There is one caveat to these estimations. Standard
models that control for confounding factors fail if the
treatment, research visits in our case, is time-variant
(Robins 1999). Thus, controlling for past values of, for
example, productivity, which affect later research visits
and promotion, can lead to biased estimates. To address
this problem of reverse causality between research visits
and promotion, we use matching techniques to match
each academic to a peer who has not participated in a
research visit based on pre-visit observable characteristics.
This strategy considers research visits as a treatment with a
lasting effect on academics’ careers. Research visits are
usually undertaken by junior academics and can serve as
a treatment affecting future career paths.
We thus divide the sample into a treated group and an
untreated control group (i.e. academics who participate in
research visits and similar academics who do not). We then
use a difference-in-difference (DD) framework to estimate
the effect of research visits on the number of years until
promotion. Thus, we analyse to see if, everything else
being equal, academics who spend some time in a foreign
institution as a visiting fellow are promoted faster. The
propensity score matching is described in Appendix 2.
5.1 Main results
Table 4 shows the results of the Cox model estimations for
promotion to associate and to full professor. The Cox
results for promotion to associate professor (Table 4,
column 1) show that research visits have a strong
positive effect, indicating that academics benefit from
their international visit in terms of career advancement
and are promoted faster. This is consistent with
Hypothesis 1. In column 2 we split research visits into
visits to the USA, which are assumed to be the most
valuable for Japanese academics due to the global status
of their institutions, and visits to other countries. Indeed
we find that visits to the USA increase the likelihood of
being promoted more than visits elsewhere.
Looking at column 6, we see that the picture is slightly
different for promotion to full professor. Temporary
research visits seem to play less of a role, the effect
remaining positive but becoming insignificant.
Distinguishing the destination of the visit, column 7
shows that the effect is again stronger for visits to the
USA than for other countries though both are
The results of the DD estimation confirm that
international research visits reduce the time until
promotion once we control for pre-mobility factors, year
fixed effects and institution rank (Table 5, columns 1 and
6). The comparison of the means (see Table 6) shows that
this difference is approximately one year for promotion to
both associate and full professor. Thus, the career effect
from the duration analysis can be confirmed and is also
significant at the level of full professor. The effect for
promotion to full professor is driven primarily by
research stays at US institutions (column 7). At the level
of the associate professor, stays at institutions in both the
Table 3. Descriptive statistics for regression sample
Promotion to associate professor (2710) Promotion to full professor (5199)
Mean S.D. Min. Max. Mean S.D. Min. Max.
Duration variable
Years since BA 10.59 4.21 1 30 14.15 5.71 1 34
Mobility measures
Visit Dummy; research visit prior to t 0.07 0.26 0 1 0.13 0.33 0 1
Visit_US Dummy; research visit to USA prior to t 0.05 0.21 0 1 0.09 0.28 0 1
Visit_Other Dummy; research visit to other country prior to t 0.03 0.16 0 1 0.04 0.20 0 1
Postdoc_abroad Dummy; researcher did a Postdoc abroad 0.13 0.33 0 1 0.16 0.37 0 1
Inbred Dummy; current institution = PhD institution 0.44 0.50 0 1 0.36 0.48 0 1
Job-mobility Dummy; job-to-job mobility prior to or in t 0.23 0.42 0 1 0.36 0.48 0 1
Performance measures
Stockpub Stock of publications 34.36 52.10 0 626 51.29 81.08 0 1071
Avgcit Stock of avg citations per publication 28.15 29.77 0 800 29.24 26.85 0 800
Stockfund Stock of funding in million JPY 2.89 6.69 0 125 8.11 14.79 0 172
Control variables
Female Dummy 0.03 0.16 0 1 0.03 0.17 0 1
Med degree Dummy; medical degree 0.14 0.34 0 1 0.13 0.33 0 1
PhDRank PhD rank 0.53 0.33 0 1 0.54 0.33 0 1
Rank current Rank of current institution 0.30 0.34 0 1 0.27 0.32 0 1
Foreign Uni Dummy; at foreign university in t 0.03 0.16 0 1 0.03 0.16 0 1
PRO Dummy; at PRO in t 0.04 0.19 0 1 0.06 0.23 0 1
International research visits and careers .699
USA and other countries have a significant career
advancing effect (column 2). Overall, these results
support Hypothesis 1.
5.2 Interaction with other types of mobility
To examine whether temporary research visits particularly
benefit non-job-mobile academics, we interact the research
visit variable with indicators for job-to-job mobility and
inbreeding. Column 3 of Table 4 shows that the interaction
between job-to-job mobility and research visits is negative.
Thus, the additional positive effect of research visits is
weaker for academics who also change jobs. This
supports Hypothesis 2a. However, as job changes
themselves are associated with a strong positive effect,
job-mobile academics who also participate in international
research visits would be at highest risk of promotion. For
promotion to full professor (column 8) job-to-job mobility
is highly significant and research visits turn positive and
significant if we include an interaction term, thus
indicating a general positive effect of research visits for
academics once we control for job-to-job mobility.
coefficient for the interaction term is negative, which is
consistent with Hypothesis 2a, but is insignificant.
Table 4. Survival analysis: Risk of being promoted in t after BA
Variables Promotion to associate professor Promotion to full professor
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)
Visit 0.715*** 1.019*** 0.474** 0.441** 0.200 0.487** 0.186 0.203
(0.148) (0.194) (0.212) (0.208) (0.141) (0.189) (0.184) (0.197)
Visit _USA 0.763*** 0.250
(0.163) (0.168)
Visit _Other 0.516* 0.000
(0.268) (0.246)
Postdoc_Abroad 0.126 0.140
(0.141) (0.118)
Job-mobility 0.920*** 0.963***
(0.133) (0.121)
Inbred 0.453*** 0.325**
(0.152) (0.149)
Job-mobility * Visit 0.845*** 0.340
(0.292) (0.281)
Inbred * Visit 0.600* 0.003
(0.315) (0.321)
Stockpub 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
(0.001) (0.001) (0.001) (0.001) (0.001) (0.001) (0.001) (0.001) (0.001) (0.001)
Avgcit 0.003 0.003 0.003 0.002 0.003 0.007*** 0.007*** 0.006*** 0.007*** 0.007***
(0.002) (0.002) (0.002) (0.002) (0.002) (0.002) (0.002) (0.002) (0.002) (0.002)
Stockfund 0.006 0.006 0.002 0.007 0.006 0.008*** 0.008*** 0.006** 0.008*** 0.008***
(0.012) (0.012) (0.013) (0.012) (0.012) (0.002) (0.002) (0.002) (0.002) (0.002)
Female 0.198 0.173 0.006 0.217 0.192 0.209 0.172 0.055 0.232 0.194
(0.162) (0.166) (0.238) (0.169) (0.164) (0.217) (0.215) (0.228) (0.222) (0.215)
Med degree 0.167 0.174 0.170 0.239 0.166 0.741*** 0.765*** 0.713*** 0.779*** 0.756***
(0.182) (0.183) (0.179) (0.180) (0.183) (0.151) (0.150) (0.151) (0.149) (0.150)
Rank of PhD institution 0.190 0.205 0.243 0.148 0.182 0.111 0.119 0.025 0.057 0.109
(0.167) (0.171) (0.176) (0.167) (0.169) (0.161) (0.161) (0.174) (0.162) (0.162)
Rank of current institution 0.642*** 0.624*** 0.548*** 0.355* 0.755*** 0.677*** 0.670*** 0.495** 0.408* 0.648***
(0.180) (0.179) (0.179) (0.205) (0.188) (0.200) (0.202) (0.195) (0.218) (0.216)
Rank of current
institution * Visit
0.945** 0.095
(0.450) (0.455)
Reference category: Japanese university
Foreign university 0.389 0.408 0.918** 0.493 0.436 1.140* 1.131* 1.407** 1.142* 1.124
(0.439) (0.439) (0.452) (0.437) (0.440) (0.659) (0.685) (0.695) (0.674) (0.685)
PRO 0.045 0.046 0.082 0.028 0.022 3.393*** 3.363*** 3.389*** 3.389*** 3.374***
(0.335) (0.343) (0.355) (0.346) (0.345) (1.034) (1.036) (1.038) (1.035) (1.035)
Subjects 325 325 325 325 325 365 365 365 365 365
Observations 2,710 2,710 2,710 2,710 2,710 5199 5199 5199 5199 5199
Log likelihood 1407.005 1406.988 1385.050 1403.083 1405.800 1687.253 1687.305 1657.947 1685.174 1687.730
Robust standard errors in parentheses
*** p <0.01, ** p <0.05, * p <0.1
700 .C. Lawson and S. Shibayama
In columns 4 and 9 we present the interaction of the
research visit variable with inbred academics (i.e. those
who work at their PhD awarding institution). The main
effect for inbreeding is negative both for promotion to
associate professor (column 4) and for promotion to full
professor (column 9). Thus, time to promotion is longer
for inbred academics than for non-inbred academics, in
line with results for the USA but contrary to the case for
Europe. The interaction term is positive and significant for
promotion to associate professor, signalling that research
visits are particularly important for inbred academics. This
is supportive of Hypothesis 2b.
In the DD estimation we also interact the treatment
effect with other post-research visit characteristics (see
Table 5). First, columns 3 and 8 show that in the
matched sample the main effect of job-to-job mobility is
not significant, but that the interaction term is positive
suggesting that the promotion enhancing effect of
research visits is weaker if the academic was also job-
mobile. This result is statistically significant in column 3
but not in column 8. Thus, Hypothesis 2a is supported
only for promotion to associate professor.
Second, columns 4 and 9 examine the interaction
with inbreeding using the matched sample. Inbreeding,
just as before, delays promotion to associate professor
(column 4). The interaction is significant and negative,
suggesting that temporary research visits are particularly
beneficial for inbred academics. For promotion to full
professor (column 9) the main effect of inbreeding
as well as the interaction effect are insignificant, indicating
that the effect of a research visit does not differ
between inbred and non-inbred academics. Thus,
Hypothesis 2b is supported only for promotion to
associate professor.
Table 6. Impact of research visit on years until promotion (mean difference test)
Treated Untreated TT = b a
Years until promotion to associate professor (54/54) 8.26 (0.44) 9.57 (0.43) 1.32**
Years until promotion to full professor (65/65) 15.06 (0.53) 16.25 (0.51) 1.18*
** p <0.05, * p <0.1.
Table 5. Impact of research visit on years until promotion (DD Poisson regression)
Variables Promotion to associate professors in years since degree Promotion to full professors in years since degree
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)
Visit 0.201*** 0.265*** 0.090 0.115 0.104** 0.134** 0.118** 0.211***
(0.074) (0.086) (0.093) (0.099) (0.044) (0.063) (0.051) (0.062)
Visit _Non-USA 0.230*** 0.0701
(0.080) (0.050)
Visit _USA 0.191** 0.119**
(0.085) (0.052)
Job-mobility 0.030 0.0947
(0.100) (0.059)
Job-mobility * visit 0.289** 0.0512
(0.125) (0.091)
Inbred 0.212* 0.0520
(0.112) (0.090)
Inbred * visit 0.303** 0.0361
(0.133) (0.090)
Institution rank
(at time of promotion)
0.039 0.041 0.034 0.087 0.119 0.099 0.102 0.0908 0.148 0.280***
(0.123) (0.123) (0.125) (0.168) (0.146) (0.076) (0.075) (0.076) (0.096) (0.095)
Institution rank * visit 0.325 0.419***
(0.224) (0.134)
Year fixed effects Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Constant 2.197*** 2.191*** 2.176*** 2.190*** 2.203*** 2.336*** 2.336*** 2.333*** 2.352*** 2.396***
(0.0929) (0.0961) (0.106) (0.0928) (0.0905) (0.0252) (0.0251) (0.0252) (0.0319) (0.0316)
Observations 108 108 108 108 108 130 130 130 130 130
Log likelihood 258.926 258.866 256.769 256.769 258.091 344.546 342.162 344.958 34.525
Pseudo R-squared 0.0786 0.0789 0.0866 0.0863 0.0816 0.0751 0.0757 0.0780 0.0766 0.0830
*** p <0.01, ** p <0.05, * p <0.
International research visits and careers .701
5.3 Postdoctoral mobility
In columns 1 and 6 of Table 4 we also include a dummy for
international postdoctoral experience to compare its effect
to international research visits. We find that international
postdoctoral mobility does not have a significant effect on
promotion risk at associate or full professor levels, though
their signs are positive.
This is confirmed by a DD
estimation based on a sample of academics participating
in international postdoctoral stays and a matched control
group (see Appendix 3). The effect of postdoctoral mobility
on promotion is weaker than that of research visits and
is insignificant. Thus, the temporariness of postdoctoral
appointments and the associated job insecurity may
hamper the expected positive effects of prolonged research
on later promotion. Therefore, the results support
Hypothesis 3. Postdoctoral fellowships do not, however,
have a negative effect on the length of time until promotion.
5.4 Other controls
Merit (publications, citations and funding) has no
significant effect on the length of time until promotion to
associate professor. This confirms prior research on the
relationship between merit and promotion in Japan
(Shimbori 1981; Takahashi and Takahashi 2009).
However, since we are only looking at full professors
who have successfully applied for research funding we
are already looking at the best performers and therefore
might not find an additional performance effect.
For promotion to professor, merit, as measured through
average citation counts and funding, has a positive effect
on reducing the length of time until promotion. Thus,
merit is indeed important for advancing to the rank of a
full professor, a promotion usually accompanied by
responsibility for a large research group. Overall, this
indicates that research visits become less important and
promotion is based on merit in the later years of a career.
In all regressions we include institution rank at the time
of promotion to control for any potential institutional
differences. We find a negative effect for promotion to
associate and full professorships. Thus, academics at top
universities generally wait longer for promotion. We
compare this university rank with our research visit
measure to see if academics at top universities benefit
more from such stays (Table 4, columns 5 and 10). The
interaction term is positive in the estimation of promotion
to associate professor, indicating that academics at top
institutions who have participated in a temporary
research visit are promoted sooner than their peers. The
effect is insignificant for promotion to full professor.
In the matched sample, on the other hand, we do not
find a significant institution effect (Table 5, columns 5 and
10), perhaps due to the nature of the sample which matches
academics based on their PhD and pre-mobility
institution. The interaction between rank and research
visits is insignificant for promotion to associate professor
but indicates that academics at top institutions are
promoted sooner, just as in Table 4 (column 5). For
promotion to full professor we find a positive interaction
term, indicating that the group of academics participating
in research visits abroad is not promoted to full professor
earlier at higher ranking institutions (column 10). Thus,
research visits primarily enhance promotion chances at
top-tier universities at assistant professor level but not at
later career stages when merit may be of more importance.
5.5 Why do international research visits benefit
In this context the question arises, whether the positive
career effects from temporary research visits are due to
increased productivity during the research stay or the
acquisition of skills and networks that result in the
greater visibility and value of the academic. We therefore
compare the productivity of the treated and untreated
sample during the five years after matching. The results
of a mean difference test are shown in Table A.4 in
Appendix 4. They show that even though the group of
academics participating in research visits are more
productive and receive more citations during the five
years following the treatment than other academics, these
differences are insignificant, perhaps due to the small
sample size. As a second test we include the average
number of publications published during the five years
after matching and their citations into a DD Poisson
model. Table A.5 shows that there is a positive correlation
between research visits and publication outcomes. If the
effect of research visits disappears or decreases in the DD
Poisson regression, this would imply mediation (i.e. it
would imply that research visits affect promotion by
increasing the number of publications). The results are
presented in Table A.5. Both performance measures are
insignificant, suggesting that the performance does not
have an additional effect on the number of years until
promotion. The effect of research visits does not decrease,
suggesting that publication and citation increases resulting
from temporary research visits do not decrease the length
of time until promotion. Thus, it may be that the positive
effect of the research visit is driven by the greater visibility
and value of the returning academic, or other tacit elements
that cannot be measured through publications.
6. Conclusions
This paper investigated the effect of international research
visits on academic career progression in terms of the length
of time until promotion. We focused on the case of the
biosciences in Japan and assembled data on the full
academic careers of 370 professors. We considered
research visits which may help to expand existing
networks and promote knowledge transfer while at the
same time ensuring career stability, which has been
702 .C. Lawson and S. Shibayama
identified as the main barrier to mobility in Europe and
Japan (Cruz and Sanz 2010; Stephan 2012). The Japanese
government has a long history of providing international
mobility grants for such visits, which have been further
strengthened in recent years.
The life-course perspective followed in the empirical
analysis called for an investigation of the effect of
mobility on career progress by distinguishing the types of
mobility and the career stage at which they occur.
Responding to this, the current study distinguishes
postdoctoral mobility, job-to-job mobility, and research
visits, with a particular focus on international research
visits, which have been relatively understudied. In doing
so, this study presents the first evidence of a link between
research visits and other types of mobility. By examining
the effect of visits in the context of a long-term career plan
with and without job-to-job mobility and for inbred and
non-inbred academics we show the importance of
considering various mobility events in the analysis of
mobility and promotion. Then, comparing postdoctoral
mobility and research visits, we evaluated the effect of
the interaction between international experience and
employment status. Finally, this study indicated different
effects of research visits depending on the career stages by
contrasting promotion to associate professor and to full
professor. Overall, our results revealed the complex
nature of the mobility–career relationship and gave
support to the life-course perspective as a valid approach
for the empirical analysis of mobility (Fernandez-Zubieta
et al. forthcoming).
Our findings show that international research visits have
a positive effect on promotion and reduce the waiting time
for promotion by one year. This provides evidence that
international research visits benefit academic careers in
terms of promotion, though the effect is weaker for
promotion to full professor, which is instead driven by
merit. Further, we found that the positive effect of
research visits is weaker for academics who also change
jobs. Research visits may therefore present a way for
non-job-mobile academics to speed up promotion
without the need for job mobility. We also found that
these visits are particularly important for inbred
academics, again indicating that they increase the speed
of promotion.
These results present some interesting insights into the
role of research visits for career advancement. Research
visits can be considered to be a form of on-the-job-
training that increases skills as well as job satisfaction
and may thus increase an academic’s performance and
sense of achievement. To shed light on the question of
why research visits increase the speed of promotion we
looked at their effects on the rates of publication and
found only weak evidence for increased performance.
Instead, benefits in terms of teaching and access to
external networks may represent more important
achievements. In turn, these benefits translate into earlier
promotion, and academics undertaking such research visits
also appear to be less likely to change institution,
indicating an increased sense of affiliation with the home
institution following the visit abroad.
We still need to concede that it may not be the
international mobility per se that is career enhancing but
the associated time for research. Thus, alternative
programmes that enable academics to free themselves
from their teaching and administrative duties to pursue
research for an extended period may benefit careers to a
similar extent. This release from all non-research duties,
however, is easier to achieve when visiting a different
institution, whether this is at home or abroad.
Of course, we also cannot rule out the possibility that
promotion and involvement in research visits are driven by
other unobserved factors, for example ability. We
implemented propensity score matching to match mobile
researchers to immobile researchers based on pre-mobility
characteristics to address this concern and still found a
positive effect from research visits. However, this does
not rule out the possibility that these academics
have better existing networks (or invisible colleges)
which may help with mobility and with promotion
(Pezzoni et al. 2012). It would therefore be important
for future analysis to take networks of academics into
account when analysing the effect of mobility on
We further found that, while research visits of
permanent academic staff enhance career prospects by
providing an early chair, international postdoctoral
appointments have no lasting effect on career progression.
This finding suggests that postdoctoral mobility may be an
indicator of an academic’s struggle to find a permanent
position after the PhD, which is line with evidence for
Spain and France. This ‘extension of the educational
career ladder’ (Zumeta 1985) is a source of temporariness
and uncertainty that could create future problems in
recruiting and promotion, as a lack of autonomy and
decreasing opportunities for specialisation are possible
consequences of delaying tenured positions (Stephan
2012). Also, many young academics in Japan have little
incentive to go abroad as science facilities inside the
country are of international standing and because their
job chances may decrease upon return due to a close-knit
scholarly network.
Thus, while policy has enabled mobility at all career
levels, mobility itself does not necessarily lead to career
benefits for the researcher. As in the above case, this
especially affects international mobility due to varying
labour market conditions for academics in different
countries. One remedy for this may be for policy to
address the institutional level as well as the individual
level. Our findings suggest that international research
visits avoid some of the barriers to job mobility: career
insecurity, instability, and difficulty of re-entry, and are
therefore more likely to lead to promotion. However, the
International research visits and careers .703
same is not true for postdoctoral mobility. This makes a
case for governments to provide better incentives for
employing organisations to also reward other types of
A better understanding of the mobility and career
opportunities of individual scientists may also help to
evaluate recent reforms in Japan which touch upon many
aspects of academic life, including recruitment and
promotion. A series of reforms during the last decade,
which encouraged and supported universities to adopt a
tenure-track system and introduced more fixed-term
positions wanted to address the problems of inbreeding
and inflexibility in the Japanese career system. However,
they failed to offer a good career path for junior academics
and did not address the problem of the invisible colleges
and networks required for promotion. Especially, the
position of assistant professor is no longer permanent
but is limited to five years, although, unlike the US
system, without subsequent tenure evaluation. Only a
minority are able to move into an associate professorship
at the end of their contract. Instead, most have to start a
new assistant professorship, leave academia or move
abroad. Thus, the question of promotion prospects and
how they can be increased becomes more pressing if
Japan does not want to lose good junior academics to
other markets or to non-research jobs. Thus, international
research visits during the five-year assistant professorship
may provide that extra advantage to gain promotion (i.e.
to gain a tenure-track associate professorship or a
permanent position).
Evaluating the effects of these reforms on academic
careers in Japan will be the task of future research. CV
analysis was useful for obtaining the exact time of
recruitment and promotion but improved measurements
of networks may further aid future analysis. This
research will be important in moving forward the
discussion of the Japanese academic career system but
beyond this it can also inform the policy debate on
current changes in Europe.
Our results should be understood with some limitations.
The specificity of the Japanese cultural and policy contexts
may restrict the applicability of our results to other
academic markets. Our results have also to be seen in the
context of the biosciences and may not be applicable to
other scientific fields, which may show very different
mobility and career patterns (Becher and Trowler 2001;
Ackers 2008; Jons 2007). In addition, we focus on
research academics, not teachers. These two groups may
follow different career paths, and our results may not
apply to academics who work at teaching oriented
This study was able to analyse international
research visits in the context of the academic’s life-course.
More research is necessary to include a broader set of
countries, institutions and scientific fields to see if the
results hold in other contexts.
The authors would like to thank Paula Stephan and three
anonymous referees for valuable comments. Cornelia
Lawson acknowledges financial support through the
European Commission (FP7) Project ‘An Observatorium
for Science in Society based in Social Models – SISOB’
(grant 266588) and the Collegio Carlo Alberto Project
‘Researcher Mobility and Scientific Performance’. Sotaro
Shibayama acknowledges financial support from the
Konosuke Matsushita Memorial Foundation and Grant-
in-Aid for Research Activity Start-up of the Japan Society
for the Promotion of Science (grant 23810004).
Supplementary material
Supplementary material are available at Science and Public
1. The period of time between doctorate and attainment
of first academic position (postdoctoral period) is
increasing in length in most countries, leaving an
increasing number of early-career scholars in fixed-
term appointments.
2. For example, the EU offers prestigious Marie Curie
fellowships to facilitate the mobility of postdoctoral
researchers. At the same time individual countries
initiated programmes to provide support for returnees,
for instance, the ‘Ramo
´n y Cajal’ programme in Spain.
3. Ackers (2008) also points out that different mobility
requirements and opportunities exist for different dis-
ciplines, which is supported by Canibano et al. (2011)
and Zubieta (2009), adding to the difficulty in making
generalisations. For example, some disciplines are less
space specific and thus enable higher levels of mobility
and international career paths due to the translatable
character of the knowledge (Ackers 2005).
4. It also contributes to the performance and visibility of
a mobile academic’s institution as it benefits from new
or maintained links to other organisations (Almeida
and Kogut 1999; Agrawal et al. 2006; Azoulay et al.
2012; Jons 2009). Institutions therefore have an incen-
tive to allow their staff to participate in these
5. Some universities offer similar programmes for young
6. In the early 1980s, GiA was the sole provider of gov-
ernment research grants (CNUFM 2009: 89). Several
other funding systems were later implemented, but
GiA remains the primary funding source.
7. The accompanying survey suggests that on average,
our respondents spend 53% of their time on
research, 21% on teaching and 26% on
704 .C. Lawson and S. Shibayama
8. This was done to reduce the workload when preparing
the sampling frame.
9. The majority of the 180 academics who were excluded
had either retired or moved to universities outside our
sample population. We also dropped non-Japanese
academics to prevent errors from the necessary trans-
lation. Though a comparison between foreign and
Japanese scientists may be of interest, we believe that
a meaningful comparison would have been difficult
due to the very low level of foreign faculty members
in Japan (6%).
10. The original survey aimed to investigate the style of
laboratory management and the investigation of
careers was only a secondary objective.
11. Analysis available from authors upon request.
12. See <>accessed 28 Mar 2013.
13. Only the second difference (age at promotion to pro-
fessor) is statistically significant.
14. The world average number of citations per article in
the biosciences field is 12.9 (BIS 2013).
15. The University of Tokyo has always been the largest
recipient of national funds in the biosciences.
16. A total of 27 professors were promoted directly from
assistant professor to full professor. These were
included in the model for promotion to full professor
but omitted from the model for promotion to associate
17. Job mobility also remains positive if we do not include
an interaction with visiting fellowships. The coefficient
is very similar with 0.89.
18. The research visit effect is significantly larger than the
postdoctoral effect for promotion to associate profes-
sor (p <0.01), but not for promotion to full professor
(p >0.1).
19. This study only considers funded academics who have
been promoted to full professor, thus only the most
successful academics. The results therefore present a
conservative estimate of the effects of international
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Appendix 1. Correlation Matrix
Table A.1. Correlation between dependent variable and main regressors (for promotion to associate professor)
1 Years since BA 1.000
2 Visit 0.130*** 1.000
3 Visit_US 0.120*** 0.797*** 1.000
4 Visit_Other 0.052*** 0.574*** 0.036* 1.000
5 Postdoc_abroad 0.143*** 0.099*** 0.076*** 0.062*** 1.000
6 Inbred 0.088*** 0.013 0.007 0.013 0.013 1.000
7 Job-mobility 0.245*** 0.020 0.019 0.008 0.064*** 0.178*** 1.000
8 Stockpub 0.243*** 0.015 0.015 0.045** 0.137*** 0.005 0.148*** 1.000
9 Avgcit 0.028 0.023 0.002 0.036* 0.136*** 0.018 0.002 0.013 1.000
10 Stockfund 0.428*** 0.008 0.004 0.008 0.023 0.010 0.181*** 0.145*** 0.078*** 1.000
11 Female 0.114*** 0.019 0.037* 0.018 0.028 0.013 0.001 0.052*** 0.043** 0.007 1.000
12 Med degree 0.093*** 0.030 0.009 0.037* 0.050*** 0.104*** 0.052*** 0.043** 0.119*** 0.058*** 0.011 1.000
13 PhDRank 0.017 0.020 0.033* 0.077*** 0.047** 0.008 0.054*** 0.137*** 0.022 0.054*** 0.055*** 0.230*** 1.000
14 Rank current 0.009 0.000 0.032 0.042** 0.102*** 0.556*** 0.092*** 0.093*** 0.131*** 0.089*** 0.006 0.010 0.311*** 1.000
15 Foreign uni 0.003 0.047** 0.038** 0.027 0.011 0.145*** 0.248*** 0.009 0.004 0.039** 0.027 0.142*** 0.034* 0.149*** 1.000
16 PRO 0.040** 0.033* 0.035* 0.007 0.022 0.173*** 0.086*** 0.048** 0.010 0.025 0.042** 0.010 0.005 0.173*** 0.033* 1.000
*p<0.10, ** p <0.05, *** p <0.01
708 .C. Lawson and S. Shibayama
Appendix 2. Propensity score matching
We use propensity score matching to find a match for each
academic. Matching is based on observable characteristics
before the international research visit and controls are
chosen so that:
.Academics who are analysed have no differential
publication, citation and funding records.
.Job experience distribution is similar for both groups.
.Year and PhD year distribution is similar.
.Postdoctoral and prior mobility is equally distributed.
.Treatment and control group are similarly distributed
across different institution types (quality ratings) and
PhD rankings.
Academics who have not yet participated in international
research visits but do so after their promotion can serve as
a control group for academics who participated before
their promotion. We further restrict the matching to
academics at assistant professor level for measuring the
impact on promotion to associate professor and to those
at assistant and associate professor levels for promotion to
full professor.
We matched the 54 academics who have visited another
institution abroad while they were assistant professors
with a colleague that remained at the university.
Supplementary Fig. A.1 shows the propensity scores of
treated and untreated groups before and after matching.
The matching returned two groups that are not statistically
different in any of the matching criteria. Table A.2 shows
descriptive statistics for the group of academics who
participated in research visits and those that did not.
Similarly, a control group was selected for those 65
academics who were a visiting fellow before their
promotion to full professor.
Appendix 3. DD of postdoctoral and control
To further check if research stays are preferred over
postdoctoral stays, we perform a DD analysis for
postdoctoral mobility, matching the 29 academics
participating in international postdoctoral stays with 29
academics who did not participate in such placements
based on pre-mobility characteristics. We find that
postdoctoral positions abroad do not reduce the time
until promotion significantly, but neither do they delay
promotion. The test of the means in Table A.3 shows
that the difference in time to promotion is insignificant.
We find the same results if instead we perform a Poisson
regression that controls for university rank and year effects.
Table A.3. DD results (t-test; international postdoctoral positions)
Treated Untreated TT = b a
Years until promotion
to associate professor
9.27 (0.52) 10.00 (0.53) 0.72
Years until promotion
to full professor (29/29)
16.41 (0.76) 16.83 (0.86) 0.41
Difference is not significant (p >0.1)
Table A.2. Descriptive statistics of pre-treatment variables
Mean S.D. Min. Max.
Untreated (54) visit = 0
Experience 4.80 3.34 0 16
Female 0.00 0.00 0 0
Avgcit 27.74 27.25 0 138
Stockpub 25.24 25.74 0 137
Stockfund 2.01 2.53 0 12
PhdYear 1984.87 5.57 1973 1996
Postdoc abroad 0.04 0.19 0 1
Postdoc Japan 0.11 0.32 0 1
Job-Mobility 0.19 0.39 0 1
Med degree 0.17 0.38 0 1
Rank of current institution 0.33 0.35 0 1
Rank of PhD institution 0.50 0.32 0 1
Year 1989.22 5.99 1976 2003
Treated (54) visit = 1
Experience 4.63 2.38 1 12
Female 0.02 0.14 0 1
Avgcit 25.13 20.55 0 110
Stockpub 24.43 32.24 0 218
Stockfund 1.86 2.25 0 13
PhdYear 1984.54 5.58 1972 1996
Postdoc abroad 0.04 0.19 0 1
Postdoc Japan 0.13 0.34 0 1
Job-mobility 0.17 0.38 0 1
Med degree 0.13 0.34 0 1
Rank of current institution 0.36 0.33 0 1
Rank of PhD institution 0.56 0.32 0 1
Year 1988.70 5.42 1976 2001
International research visits and careers .709
Appendix 4. Impact of research visits on
Table A.5. DD Poisson regression
Variables Associate
Visit 0.202*** 0.105**
(0.0745) (0.0442)
Publications following match 0.002 0.000
(0.002) (0.001)
Citations following match 0.000 0.000
(0.002) (0.002)
Institution rank (at time of promotion) 0.0322 0.103
(0.126) (0.0781)
Year fixed effects Yes Yes
Constant 2.184*** 2.332***
(0.0845) (0.0259)
Observations 108 130
Log likelihood 258.857 345.076
Pseudo R-squared 0.0752 0.0789
Standard errors in parentheses, *** p <0.01, ** p <0.05, * p <0.1
Table A.4. DD results (t-test; Visit as assistant professor)
Treated Untreated TT = a b
Number of publications
in following 5 years (54/54)
5.34 (1.45) 4.44 (0.52) 0.90
Number of citations in
following 5 years (54/45)
37.72 (4.28) 31.24 (3.51) 6.48
Difference is not significant (p >0.1)
710 .C. Lawson and S. Shibayama
... The mechanisms leading to a smaller number of mobile and foreign scientists at the professorial level have been seldom investigated so far. Indeed, several studies have explored what factors predict academic career progression, but only a minority considered the impact of mobility (e.g., Cruz-Castro & Sanz-Menéndez, 2010;Jonkers, 2011) or foreign nationality (e.g., Corley & Sabharwal, 2007;Hayter & Parker, 2018) and to our knowledge, only one study considered the effects of mobility and foreign nationality simultaneously (Lawson & Shibayama, 2015). As such, given that foreign scientists are more often mobile than national scientists, we have little insight into whether foreign mobile scientists have fewer chances of obtaining a senior position due to a negative effect of foreign nationality, mobility, or both of them -or other factors. ...
... Research findings on the impact of mobility on career advancement are also quite mixed. Lawson and Shibayama (2015) found that periods abroad for Japanese academics in the biosciences, while holding a stable (tenured) position in Japan, were positively associated with a reduced time to promotion upon return, yet international postdoctoral appointments had no lasting effect on career advance (Lawson & Shibayama, 2015). Marinelli et al. (2014) examined a sample of researchers from ten European countries and found that non-mobile and returnee researchers were more likely to achieve a tenured position when compared to migrants. ...
... Research findings on the impact of mobility on career advancement are also quite mixed. Lawson and Shibayama (2015) found that periods abroad for Japanese academics in the biosciences, while holding a stable (tenured) position in Japan, were positively associated with a reduced time to promotion upon return, yet international postdoctoral appointments had no lasting effect on career advance (Lawson & Shibayama, 2015). Marinelli et al. (2014) examined a sample of researchers from ten European countries and found that non-mobile and returnee researchers were more likely to achieve a tenured position when compared to migrants. ...
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This article explores how organizational mobility and foreign nationality affect a researcher’s chances of an internal career promotion in university systems that do not have rules preventing inbreeding and where teaching occurs mostly not in English but a local language. As a case study, we have examined the Flemish university system, the Dutch speaking part of Belgium, and developed expectations on the chances of promotion for mobile and foreign researchers compared to non-mobile and nationals. We use data for all postdoctoral and professorial staff between 1991 and 2017, for a total of 14,135 scientists. We calculated the chances of promotion with a competing risk model to take time into account and to disentangle the probability of two mutually exclusive risk events: promotion and leaving the university. The results show that international mobility and foreign nationality reduced the chances of promotion in the same university, and that mobile and foreign scientists were also more likely to leave any given university. These effects were particularly strong at an early stage: in the study period, 21.9% of non-mobile national postdocs became professor compared to just 1.2% of internationally mobile foreigners. These results would suggest that internationally mobile and foreign scientists struggle to advance in universities that lack rules preventing inbreeding and with little opportunity to teach in English.
... Похожие результаты были получены при изучении мобильности китайских исследователей (Jonkers, Tijssen, 2008). Кроме того, анализ карьерного роста 370 профессоров в Японии показал, что опыт работы за рубежом статистически связан с более быстрым последующим продвижением по карьерной лестнице, несмотря на то что влияния на публикационную активность зафиксировано не было (Lawson, Shibayama, 2015). ...
... Интересным примером использования данной методологии является работа, рассматривающая влияние наличия судимости при подаче кандидатуры (резюме) на вакансию (Pager, 2003). Данный подход применяется и в исследованиях науки, в частности в анализе связи мобильности с карьерными достижениями ученых (Bäker, 2015;Lawson, Shibayama, 2015). 5 В качестве факторов, по которым контролировался подбор согласованных пар, выбраны те, которые могут быть связаны с результативностью ученых, измеряемой через публикации. ...
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ENG is below В статье представлены результаты исследовательского проекта, посвященного изучению международной мобильности молодых российских ученых и той роли, которую обучение или работа за рубежом играют в их дальнейшей научной карьере (на примере публикационной активности). В проекте предпринята попытка рассмотреть мобильность не с традиционной точки зрения «утечки кадров», а с позиции «циркуляции мозгов», в рамках которой опыт мобильности рассматривается как механизма трансфера знаний, ценный источник инноваций и необходимый элемент подготовки и развития кадрового потенциала в сфере науки. На данных репрезентативных социологических опросов показаны масштабы вовлеченности молодых исследователей в международную мобильность. Данные подтверждают наличие положительной взаимосвязи между мобильностью и научной продуктивностью российских ученых. Кроме того, мобильные сотрудники не только в среднем публикуют больше работ, но их публикации выходят в журналах более высокого уровня, и судя по цитированиям, в среднем более востребованы в научном сообществе. На материалах глубинных интервью мы выявили, какие именно механизмы способствует выходу молодого ученого на международный публикационный уровень после опыта академической мобильности. The article presents the results of a research project on the international mobility of young Russian scientists. This study is focused on the impact of education or work experience abroad on their future scientific careers, namely their publication activity. The project attempts to consider academic mobility not from the traditional point of view of “brain drain”, but from the perspective of “brain circulation” which sees mobility as a mechanism for the transfer of knowledge and a valuable source of innovation as well as a necessary element of training and development of human resources in science. The participation of the young Russian researchers in international mobility was shown with the help of data from several nationally representative sociological surveys. The original feature of this project consists is combining two different methodological approaches: both objective and subjective assessments were brought together in order to evaluate the impact of international mobility on the future publication activity of young researchers. The case study of one large Russian university was examined: a unique database combining both biographical data (open information from CV and publication activity indicators (data from Scopus)) of employees of this university was collected. In addition, in-depth interviews were conducted to complement the analysis. According to the study, the involvement of young Russian scientists in international academic mobility over the past years has been low in comparison with other countries participating in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). A positive relationship between the international mobility and scientific productivity of Russian scientists was revealed. As was shown, young researchers involved in international mobility not only publish more scientific articles on average, but their papers are in fact published in higher ranking journals and are cited more often. Based on the materials of in-depth interviews, the specific mechanisms pushing young researchers to upgrade their publication activity after or during their academic mobility were identified.
... Similar results were in a study of Chinese researchers (Jonkers & Tijssen, 2008). In addition, an analysis of the career growth of 370 professors in Japan showed that work experience abroad was statistically associated with faster subsequent career advancement, even though there was no effect on publication activity (Lawson & Shibayama, 2015). A study devoted to Chinese mobile researchers showed, returnees are encountering significant barriers in publishing their work in international journals after their change in affiliation from an overseas to a Chinese university (Gao & Liu, 2020). ...
... In social research it is more often used in non-experimental design. The approach has been applied in studies of science, in particular in the analysis of the relationship between mobility and career achievements of scientists[Bäker 2015;Lawson, Shibayama 2015]. ...
Conference Paper
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The paper presents the preliminary results of a research project on the international mobility of young Russian researchers. This study is focused on the impact of education or work experience abroad on their future scientific careers, particularly their publication activity. The case study of the one large Russian university was examined: a unique for Russia database combining both biographical data (information from CV published openly) and publication activity indicators (data from Scopus) of employees of this university was collected. A positive relationship between the international mobility and scientific productivity of scientists was revealed. Those involved in international mobility not only publish more scientific articles on average but their papers are published in journals of higher level and are cited more often. We also found some differences in the choice of topics and collaboration behavior between mobile and non-mobile scientists.
... Ainsi l'étude des migrations internationales de chercheurs (Geuna 2015) soutient que cette étape valorise le parcours d'un chercheur (Ackers 2004), et que les chercheurs les plus performants ont une forte mobilité internationale, quand les chercheurs plus modestes montrent plutôt une mobilité intra-nationale (Robinson-Garcia et al. 2019). De même, une série de travaux estiment que la mobilité géographique d'un chercheur renforce sa productivité scientifique (Morano-Foadi, 2005 ;Lawson et Shibayama, 2015). Par ailleurs, les chercheurs font partie de la « creative class » décrite par Florida (2006) et sont supposés à ce titre être des facteurs hyper-mobiles attirés par les meilleures opportunités. ...
The geographical distribution of scientific activities in France is the subject of debate, between the proponents of increasing metropolitanization, and those of recent deconcentration. This article contributes to this debate by focusing on the human resources dimension of scientific activities, and by providing results concerning researchers in companies. Based on statistical data on French territory, it shows that the relative deconcentration of private scientific employment which took place at the end of the 20th century at the national level is in fact limited to a few regions slightly reducing the essential role of Ile-de-France. What is more, it ran out of steam at the start of the 21st century. More specifically, a study of the three regions benefiting from this devolution shows that the metropolises are reaping the bulk of the effects. Neither the movement of researchers in companies, nor the regional policies for financing company R&D appear to be able to counter this trend.
... International mobility can help researchers by providing them with a wider network of contacts. Even temporary visits may be seen by researchers as helpful for their careers (Lawson & Shibayama, 2015). A side-effect is that more successful researchers are more likely to be internationally mobile, and especially to countries with more resources, leading to brain drains from lower performing countries to countries with higher spending (e.g., Hunter, Oswald, & Charlton, 2009;Tian, 2011), and particularly to the United States (Freeman, 2015;Idea Consult, Wifo, & Technopolis, 2017). ...
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Information about the relative strengths of scholars is needed for the efficient running of knowledge systems. Because academic research requires many skills, more experienced researchers might produce better research and attract more citations. This article assesses career citation impact changes 2001–2016 for domestic researchers (definition: first and last Scopus journal article in the same country) from the 12 nations with most Scopus documents. Careers are analyzed longitudinally, so that changes are not due to personnel evolution, such as researchers leaving or entering a country. The results show that long-term domestic researchers do not tend to improve their citation impact over time but tend to achieve their average citation impact by their first or second Scopus journal article. In some countries, this citation impact subsequently declines. These longer-term domestic researchers have higher citation impact than the national average in all countries, however, whereas scholars publishing only one journal article have substantially lower citation impact in all countries. The results are consistent with an efficiently functioning researcher selection system but cast slight doubt on the long-term citation impact potential of long-term domestic researchers. Research and funding policies may need to accommodate these patterns when citation impact is a relevant indicator.
... Contrary to common assumptions, non-mobile researchers may thus experience faster career progression than mobile ones in specific national and institutional systems promoting the development of internal academic research job markets (e.g. Lawson and Shibayama 2015;Marinelli et al. 2014). ...
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This article aims to highlight the dynamics underlying Italian researchers’ migration patterns over the last decade. Building on data gathered through an international study (MORE 3), the analysis focuses on identifying perceptions of working conditions, career prospect and confidence in the national Research and Innovation (R&I) system by Italian researchers in Italy and abroad. It provides a comparative assessment of researchers’ satisfaction with regards to their R&I environment in and outside Italy, across different fields of study and career stages. Results show that Italian researchers working abroad have a faster career progression than researchers in the Italian system and provide evidence of a low confidence of Italian researchers regarding career prospect in their own country. These findings are interpreted as major determinants of the decision to emigrate and develop an academic career abroad. Implications for future science policy in Italy are discussed.
... While research on the determinants of scientific performance has been a major focus in the economics and sociology of science, the analysis of mobility performance has received less attention (Lawson and Shibayama 2015). Here, we define mobility performance as the academic performance after a research visit, such as the scientific output, influence, and international collaboration of scholars. ...
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Against the backdrop of globalization, the world is witnessing increasingly frequent transnational mobility, placing scientific mobility in the spotlight. Highly competitive researchers with an international vision are regarded as engines that, for any nation, drive scientific and technological progress and social development. Over the past two decades, the China Scholarship Council (CSC) has provided sustainable financial and policy support to promote academic mobility. This study aims to identify complex antecedent configurations contributing to the high research performance of scholars after their research visits funded by the CSC. Fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) is employed to conduct a causal analysis on 630 researchers who received CSC academic mobility funding in 2012. Then, bibliometric indexes and fsQCA are combined to identify the antecedent configurations (combinations) that lead to the high research performance of these researchers. From experimental results, we identify six combinations (configurations) of visiting scholars and four combinations of postdoctoral researchers that lead to high research performance after their research visits. In more details, active international collaboration before their visits plays a core role in the high research performance of scholars after mobility. Meanwhile, the reputation of institutions and the academic position constitute an important part of the combinations that lead to high research performance. Additionally, the role of the duration of the research visit in the high performance of researchers cannot be ignored. Gender is not a crucial part of the causal combinations that explain high performance. This study provides insights to design and improve similar academic mobility programmes worldwide.
... First, the result suggests a positive coefficient of the number of years since graduation because organizational promotion takes time. Second, the result does not show that females are less likely to attain higher organizational positions, unlike previous studies (Lawson and Shibayama 2014). Third, we control for the respondents' publication performance during the master level (the two years before starting PhD). ...
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Academic training is the initial step for junior scientists to learn to develop into independent scientists. This study investigates how supervisors decide to employ different approaches of early-career research training, and how these approaches influence the degree of trainees' independence in their later careers. Drawing on survey and bibliometric data of life scientists in Japanese universities, this study presents the following findings. First, if scientists are allowed higher autonomy in upstream research functions in early-career training, they later tend to attain greater organizational independence with higher organizational ranks. Second, if scientists are encouraged to deviate from conventional research topics during early-career training, they later tend to achieve greater cognitive independence by producing original research output. Third, the differences in the training approaches chosen by individual supervisors are influenced by the training that they had received in their early-career training. Overall, the study suggests that training approaches and independence of scientists are socialized in the local training context and passed down from one generation to the next.
A 4-year data set of 274 scientists and technical staff in a Chinese university's physics department was constructed to study the impact of going on international visits (visit) and inviting international scholars (invite) on researchers' academic output. Results showed visit frequency significantly predicted output quantity and quality whereas invites significantly predicted output quantity, but not its quality. Visit/invite frequencies significantly predicted long-term output through short-term output, giving direct proof to their enduring promotion effect on innovation. Visits predicted far-future output through near-future visits whereas invites did not lead to more invites in promoting output. Age moderated the relationship between visits/invites and output. This study provided new evidence on the behavioral and psychological process of international mobility and its impact on research output.
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The current agenda of Russian scientific policy pays much attention to measures aimed at supporting the mobility of scientific personnel (including young ones). The purpose of this study is to analyze how the experience of international mobility affects the objective and subjective indicators of employment of Russian Doctorate Holders, and to find out whether the experience of working or studying abroad always gives advantages when returning to the home country. The empirical base of the study is the data of the project “Monitoring survey of Highly Qualified R&D Personnel” (N=1742 for the year 2019). The obtained results show that the impact of the international mobility on the careers of Russian researchers is a complex phenomenon that is not limited to positive effects. A number of advantages can be received for the “non-mobile career”, when loyalty to the current organization is rewarded. Along with the implementation of mobility support programs, it is necessary to create an institutional environment in which researchers with experience in international mobility can maximize their professional potential and have a favorable environment for building a scientific career.
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Recent science policies emphasize academic mobility and denounce inbreeding as an impediment to scientific productivity. This study aims to investigate the impact of inbreeding on productivity, distinguishing various forms of inbreeding, and to explore the mechanism behind which inbreeding is translated into productivity, drawing on in-depth longitudinal data of academics’ careers in a university department in Japan. The results suggest that the effect of inbreeding on productivity differs with the organizational levels (university, department, and laboratory) with which inbreeding is defined, as well as with past affiliation to other institutions (purely inbred vs. silver-corded). A negative effect on productivity is indicated for inbreeding that occurs at the department level, which seems to be partly explained by non-merit-based employment criteria. The results also suggest that laboratories consisting of higher rates of their own graduates yield lower productivity. Finally, inbred academics tend to change research subjects less frequently over their career, implying that inbreeding may cause risk-averseness and deter creativity.
In this chapter we review the literature on the analysis of researcher mobility and productivity highlighting recent changes in the research system - internationalization, inter-sector mobility and collaboration and career diversification which make researcher mobility more relevant for the dynamics of knowledge creation and dissemination. Our review reveals that to date we still know little about the consequences and motivations of increased mobility for individual researchers. We contribute by presenting a typology of researcher mobility, and considering the relevance of multiple mobility events throughout a researcher career. Finally, we review the modeling problems related to analyzing the effect of mobility on academic performance at the individual level, and suggest various solutions.
Identified are four groups of faculty development practices based on their use among 756 colleges and universities: traditional practices, instructional assistance practices, those that emphasized the assessment of faculty, and those that involve many faculty in improvement activities. Practices judged effective, and the organization and funding of programs are also discussed.
In this study we use survival or event history analysis to explore the effect of international mobility, gender and productivity on career development of researchers in CONICET life science research institutes in Buenos Aires. We find support for our hypothesis that various productivity measures can explain the likelihood of promotion. Given the same level of productivity, female researchers tend to take longer to being promoted. Unconditionally international work experience has a positive effect on the hazard of being promoted. Controlled for by productivity this effect is no longer significant. Unproductive stays abroad do not reduce the average time for promotion.
Advancement in rank is critically important to the career of an academic scientist, and the highly visible nature of the event makes it ideal for studying stratification in science. Concern with universalistic factors in promotion has prompted debates over two issues. First, why do female scientists advance more slowly than male scientists, and why do so few reach the rank of full professor? Second, is promotion driven by the sheer volume of published work as opposed to its quality? Event history analyses clearly indicate that quantity of publications is far more important than various measures of quality of publications in predicting rank advancement; and women are less likely to be promoted than men. About one-half of this sex difference is attributable to differences in levels of variables affecting promotion. Remaining differences are a result of differences in expected timing of promotion to associate professor and to the negative effects of department prestige on promotion to full professor for women.
Faculty development is designed to forestall faculty obsolescence, but determining how to provide for the developmental needs of a diverse faculty is problematic. At the University of Cincinnati a Faculty Development Program was organized around competitive proposals and university institutes.The developmental grant proposals were for individual faculty, groups of faculty, and departments and also provided funds for institutes for collaborative groups of faculty who had shared developmental needs and goals. More than 800 faculty members (42% of the total faculty) applied for these funds over a three-year period. Nearly 400 faculty were funded.The question remaining, following this initial cycle, was ``Did this support for faculty development make a significant difference in the way learning, scholarship, and research was conducted?'' To better ascertain the extent of the project's influence on the institution, a survey was distributed to all 1,925 faculty at the university -- regardless of whether or not they received support. The returns of the survey were sufficient to allow for an analysis.The results held both anticipated results (e.g., upgraded skills and increased use of technology) and unexpected results (e.g., cooperation among faculty from diverse disciplines and multiplier effects on scope and nature of the projects). The results of the survey, regarding the Faculty Development Program's impact, clearly show that it has changed the way interdisciplinary faculty collaborate and it has significantly facilitated the ability of faculty to address specific developmental needs.