Research Career after Thesis Defence: The Case of Four Fields of Study in Russia

Keywords: academic career, academic mobility, research productivity, research sector, university sector


A PhD degree is a necessary qualification for becoming a full-fledged member of the academic community and is often considered as a first step in one’s academic career. However, little is known about how the further careers of those who receive a PhD degree in Russia develop. In this article, we explore the diversity of academic careers of Russian researchers. The main focus of the study is on researchers' productivity and mobility. Also, attention is paid to the differences between researchers who graduated from academic organisations in different sectors. We analysed data on 2,102 researchers who defended PhD theses at Russian dissertation councils in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics in 2012. We found that more than half of PhD holders continue their careers in academia, and the vast majority of them publish their works in globally visible journals. The proportion of researchers with low productivity is smaller than the proportion of those highly productive. Both the academic and geographic mobility of Russian researchers is low. The sector of the academic organisation in which the PhD thesis was written matters: researchers from leading universities and the research sector are more productive and less mobile than researchers from universities without special status. Thus, it can be concluded that the PhD degree is primarily a stepping stone to an academic profession, and those who have chosen this path are quite competitive at the global level.


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How to Cite
Slepykh, Victoria, Andrey Lovakov, and Maria Yudkevich. 2022. “Research Career After Thesis Defence: The Case of Four Fields of Study in Russia”. Voprosy Obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no. 4 (December), 260–297.
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