Recognizing new trends in brain drain studies in the framework of global sustainability

Alejandro Vega-Muñoz, Paloma Gónzalez-Gómez-del-miño, Juan Felipe Espinosa-Cristia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Scholars had been documenting the Brain Drain phenomenon producing scientific literature for more than 50 years. After three decades of slow but steady progress, literature about this concept has accelerated its progress and growth path, in line with the 9th sustainable development goal “Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation” Thus, the present article aims to define the current theoretical trends about the analysis of advanced intellectual human capital’s international migratory phenomenon. This study uses a scientometric methodology on a corpus of 1212 articles indexed to the JCR-WoS from Social Sciences. The period cov-ered in the study is from 1965 to 2020. The paper looks to understand how researchers studied the brain drain concept over the last 55 years in various disciplines. The report covers 99 categories from the Journal Citation Report (JCR) index. Results show that there is a scientific research critical mass that is studying the brain drain phenomenon. The analysis shows thematic trends at the sources, discourses, and consolidates classic works and some novel authors. Those new scholars and theoretical trends lead to refocused analysis beyond countries with a high development level. Such movement constitutes a new challenge in this line of research toward studying the effects of the brain drain in the peripheral areas of knowledge production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3195
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2021


  • Brain drain
  • Cooperation networks
  • Cross-border cooperation
  • Intellectual capital
  • International migration
  • Literature
  • Scientific Elite
  • Scientometrics
  • Social sciences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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