International temporary mobility of researchers: a cross-discipline study


The increasing literature addressing international mobility of researchers has repeatedly pointed out the lack of empirical data compiled over the last two decades, jeopardizing progress in the understanding of the characteristics and impacts of such human flows. This paper makes a contribution to the field by exploring the extent to which information obtained from researchers? electronic curriculum vitae (CV) may be used to study temporary geographical mobility. We exploit a new type of data set?a comprehensive database of electronic CVs?developing a broad set of cross-discipline mobility indicators to assess the dimensions and characteristics of international research visits among a population of over 10,000 researchers. The sample population is made up of PhD holders working in the regional research system of Andalusia, Spain. Information regarding their international research visits over the last four decades is downloaded from CVs contained in the electronic scientific information system of the region. We assess mobility rates and the characteristics of the temporary mobile population. The analysis of visiting patterns shows significant differences in mobility profiles in terms of frequency, duration and destination of visits, across disciplines, career stages and time periods. The study also shows how different definitions of international mobility lead to substantial variations in cross-discipline mobility rates