Researcher Mobility in Taiwan, 1996-2014

Researcher mobility has become a key area of interest for the potential enhancement of a country’s research performance. Current research suggests that researcher mobility results in win-win situations both in the short-term and the long-term.

Taiwan’s Science & Technology Policy Research and Information Center (STPI) commissioned Elsevier to study researcher mobility in Taiwan compared with China, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, and Switzerland.

This report examines the movements of researchers in and out of Taiwan, as well as their scholarly output and impact and how it differs across various mobility classes. It also provides some insights on the top countries to which and from which researchers in Taiwan move.

The core findings

The analyses reveal that Taiwan’s researcher mobility is marked by relatively high numbers of researchers staying within the country, offset by highly impactful transitory mobility. It shows a net inflow of researchers that is the second highest amongst its comparators, and a researcher circulation that focuses on Asia Pacific.

One of the things that stand out when examining Taiwan’s researcher mobility is the high share of researchers that have not published with affiliations outside of Taiwan throughout 1996-2014, accounting for over 60% of Taiwan’s total researcher base. Although they publish less than half as much as the average researcher from Taiwan, their citation impact approaches the world average.

Taiwan’s second largest category of researcher mobility, accounting for nearly 30% of  Taiwan’s researcher base, are researchers displaying transitory mobility – short stays of fewer than two years abroad or in Taiwan. They are highly prolific and impactful.

Overall, Taiwan sees a 3.4% outflow of researchers in the period of 1996-2014 and a 6.3% inflow of researchers, resulting in a net 2.9% inflow.

Key measures of this report

Click on the diagram view in larger detail.

Figure 1 — Researcher mobility in Taiwan, 1996-2014; source: Scopus
Figure 1 — Researcher mobility in Taiwan, 1996-2014; source: Scopus

Country

No. of moves into Taiwan

United States

2,708

China

504

United Kingdom

279

Japan

259

India

135

Canada

126

Germany

113

Australia

81

France

76

Singapore

48

Table 2a — Top 10 inflow countries for Taiwan, based on total moves in 1996-2014; source: Scopus

Country

No. of moves out of Taiwan

United States

874

China

386

India

136

Japan

61

United Kingdom

37

Germany

33

Canada

32

Singapore

32

Australia

26

South Korea

24

Table 2b — Top 10 outflow countries for Taiwan, based on total moves in 1996-2014; source: Scopus

In terms of the actual moves made by researchers between countries, a lot of mobility to and from Taiwan comes from countries in Asia Pacific.

Comparator

Sedentary

Total Transitory

Total Outflow

Total Inflow

Net Total Inflow

China

77.0%

16.2%

2.7%

4.1%

1.4%

Netherlands

33.9%

48.6%

9.5%

8.0%

-1.5%

Singapore

25.9%

48.8%

13.1%

12.1%

-1.0%

South Korea

59.1%

27.7%

4.4%

8.8%

4.4%

Switzerland

14.4%

59.8%

14.1%

11.7%

-2.4%

Table 3 — Percentage of active researchers per mobility group for 5 comparators, 1996-2014; source: Scopus

Among the selected comparators, South Korea is the country that most resembles Taiwan in terms of researcher mobility. China is the only other comparator to have a net inflow of researchers in 1996-2014, but it shows very little mobility. The Netherlands, Singapore, and Switzerland on the other hand all have low sedentary shares, combined with high transitory shares. However, these countries’ outflow is higher than their inflow of researchers, resulting in small net outflows of researchers.