A Comparative Measurement of Researchers’ International Mobility (MEWI)

Start of the project: 01-Jan-2021 - End of the project: 30-Jun-2021

Researchers are carriers of knowledge, possessing specific skills and talents. Accordingly, international scientific mobility drives global innovation capacity and economic growth. Academic human capital mobility can benefit both sending and receiving countries and is therefore supported by various national institutions such as the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), monitored in reports such as Wissenschaft Weltoffen, and is a substantial subfield of science studies.

However, identifying and measuring international mobility is challenging because mobility can be measured with different data sources and operationalized in different ways. Data sources commonly used to assess mobility include publication lists in bibliometric databases or information from academic social networks or registries. In addition to the particular idiosyncrasies of the data source, international mobility as a construct can furthermore be operationalized in a variety of ways (e.g. dealing with length of stay, retention of previous affiliations, or period of analysis).

In the MEWI study, we compare estimates of international mobility based on five different data sources (Scopus, Web of Science, Dimensions, ResearchGate, ORCID) and using different measurement choices in operationalization. The extent to which the picture of international mobility depends on the data source used and the extent to which the estimates respond to different operationalizations of the concept of mobility are examined. The results of the project serve to validate the Wissenschaft Weltoffen report series and can support further analyses of international scientist mobility.

The MEWI project engages in research accompanying the Wissenschaft Weltoffen reports.

Lead Researcher

Stephan Stahlschmidt
Dr. Stephan Stahlschmidt Lead Researcher +49 30 2064177-18


Dr. Dimity Stephen

Funded by

Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst