Venezuelan Research Community Migration: Impacts and Public Policy Implications
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Venezuela has lost through migration 16% of its research workforce, mostly in the last few years. This paper utilizes BIBLIOS- a database of Venezuelan publications- a survey, and open-ended interviews, to provide evidence on the relationship between migrated researchers and researchers in Venezuela. Several indicators of researchers productivity were used, together with their attitudes towards professional and social ties. Preliminarily, the survey shows that researchers initial decision to migrate is motivated by basic family needs and better opportunities. Meanwhile, the extended interviews show evidence of the interest of recent emigrants to maintain connections in Venezuela. Even among researchers not planning to return to Venezuela, there was evidence of their desire to collaborate with local partners in academic, professional, or business organizations and to engage in community work. Further, researchers migrate with an initial destination country in mind that changes over time (mostly to Latin America, North America, and Europe). With the increasing trend on researchers emigration, their desire to maintain connections with the country, and their changes in migration destination patterns, it is important to evaluate the impact of these factors on the local research productivity of knowledge. Analysis of the BIBLIOS database reveals that research productivity tends to decrease initially when there is a recent migration while quality research productivity increases. In the long run, migration negatively relates to local research productivity, especially among local research groups where no researcher has ever migrated. Our research sheds light on the relevance of data-driven policies that incentivize professional connections between migrated and local researchers.