In an article in the Journal of Studies in International Education (I-23), authors from universities in Denmark and Turkey report on their “Review of Research on International Student Mobility: Science Mapping the Existing Knowledge Base”. The authors make an argued choice for a bibliometric analysis – not looking at content themselves, but using quantitative analyses of how much is published, by whom, where and what co-citation analysis and co-wording analysis yields. Based on their analysis of Web of Science, they conclude an exponential growth in the number of research publications on International Student Mobility since 2005. Most of the growth in publications is by authors from regions where ´degree mobility´ is much more important than ‘credit mobility’: basically the Anglophone countries that lead as hosts and the Asian countries from which the students migrate. The authors do not note this potential bias in research findings towards degree mobility, which makes sense as they have chosen a bibliometric rather than content analysis approach. But it is interesting to see that “study abroad” as a concept related more to credit mobility seems much smaller than “international students”.
Bibliometric analyses like this give interesting insight into what topics of research are popular with whom; it doesn’t really answer the question how productive research is to demonstrate (positive or negative) impact on the phenomenon of International Student Mobility.