Career on the move: Geography, stratification, and scientific impact

Pierre Deville, Dashun Wang, Roberta Sinatra, Chaoming Song, Vincent D. Blondel, Albert László Barabási*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Changing institutions is an integral part of an academic life. Yet little is known about the mobility patterns of scientists at an institutional level and how these career choices affect scientific outcomes. Here, we examine over 420,000 papers, to track the affiliation information of individual scientists, allowing us to reconstruct their career trajectories over decades. We find that career movements are not only temporally and spatially localized, but also characterized by a high degree of stratification in institutional ranking. When cross-group movement occurs, we find that while going from elite to lower-rank institutions on average associates with modest decrease in scientific performance, transitioning into elite institutions does not result in subsequent performance gain. These results offer empirical evidence on institutional level career choices and movements and have potential implications for science policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4770
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - Apr 24 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Career on the move: Geography, stratification, and scientific impact'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this