International degree mobility in Library and Information Science

Vera Hillebrand, Elke Greifeneder



This study examines whether a brain drain exists in LIS and explores the patterns of geographical mobility of researchers. Brain drain or brain gain describes the migration of scientists from their home country to another. The results are based on a quantitative dataset of 877 active LIS researchers who have been involved in the 2014 to 2016 iConferences. The study reveals two alarming trends: the American LIS researchers rarely ever leave their continent and might lack international exposure. On the other hand, researchers from Asia and Europe show a high rate of mobility towards North America. In particular, the next generation of LIS researchers are currently receiving their education in North America. 94.3 % of all PhD students in the sample currently live in the US and may never return. One important pull factor seems to be the possibility of studying in English. If foreign students decide to come to Europe, they go to Ireland or the United Kingdom.


mobility; education; LIS; brain drain; lingua franca

Full Text:



Bogers, Toine, and Greifeneder, Elke. 2016. "The iSchool community: A case study of iConference Reviews" iConference Proceedings.

Ca-ibano, Carolina, Javier Otamendi, and Francisco Solís. 2011. "International temporary mobility of researchers: A cross-discipline study." Scientometrics 89:653–675.

Ca-ibano, Carolina, Javier Otamendi, and Inéd Andújar. 2008. "Measuring and assessing researcher mobility from CV analysis: The case of the Ramón y Cajal programme in Spain." Research Evaluation 17:17–31.

Criscuolo, Paola. 2005. "On the road again: Researcher mobility inside the R%26D network." Research Policy 34:1350–1365.

Furukawa, Takao, Nobuyuki Shirakawa, Kumi Okuwada, and Kazuya Sasaki. 2012. "International mobility of researchers in robotics, computer vision and electron devices: A quantitative and comparative analysis." Scientometrics 91:185–202.

Jonkers, Koen, and Robert Tijssen. 2008. "Chinese researchers returning home. Impacts of international mobility on research collaboration and scientific productivity." Scientometrics 77:309–333.

Laudel, Grit. 2003. "Studying the brain drain: Can bibliometric methods help?" Scientometrics 57:215–237.

Laudel, Grit. 2005. "Migration Currents Among the Scientific Elite." Minerva 43:377–395.

Marginson, Simon. 2006. "Dynamics of National and Global Competition in Higher Education." Higher Education 52: 1–39.

Marmolejo-Leyva, Rafael, Miguel Angel Perez-Angon, and Jane M. Russell. 2015. "Mobility and international collaboration: Case of the Mexican scientific diaspora." PloS one 10. doi: 10.1371/0126720.

Murphy-Lejeune, Elizabeth. 2003. Student mobility and narrative in Europe: The new strangers. London, New York: Routledge.

OECD. 2008. The global competition for talent: Mobility of the highly skilled. OECD Publishing.

Sandström, Ulf. 2009. "Combining curriculum vitae and bibliometric analysis: Mobility, gender and research performance." Research Evaluation 18: 135–142.

Veugelers, Reinhilde, and Linda van Bouwel. 2015. "The effects of international mobility on European researchers: comparing intra-EU and U.S. mobility." Research in Higher Education 56:360–377.


Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Libellarium (Online). ISSN 1846-9213 © 2008


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.