The Influence of Birth Country on Selection of Conference Destination - Employing Natural Language Processing

  •  Nitza Davidovitch    
  •  Eyal Eckhaus    


This study deals with immigrant scientists integrated in academia in Israel. Studies on the subject indicate the contribution of immigrant scientists to research. The current study focuses on the influence of scientists' birth country on selecting destinations for academic conferences, as well as on the influence of one's native language on the academic output resulting from research conferences. This is a pilot study exploring the effect of academic conferences from the perspective of birth country - comparing Israeli born and USSR born academics - on the motivation of faculty members to attend conferences, the nature of the conferences they select, the differences between Israeli natives and non-natives with regard to how their perceive the influence of conferences and their contribution to their academic work. This research offers a case study, investigating the effect of scholars from two different countries and cultural background, Israel and USSR. This pioneering research provides the grounds for many extensions, studies that will investigate the impact of other countries and their effect on conference selection.

The study addresses a case study of a single university in Israel that absorbed many immigrant scientists from the former USSR in the 1990s. Ninety-four academic faculty members from various departments answered the questionnaire, of them 60.9% women and 39.1% men. Faculty members referred to the conference's contribution with regard to their professional development. In addition, the greater inclination of Israeli researchers than researchers born in the USSR to take their family members with them when travelling for conferences was noted.

Since the contribution of immigrant scientists was found to be significant and since academic conferences are a significant part of the work of faculty members and receive considerable funds from academic institutions, the research findings might illuminate the choice of conferences by immigrant scientists and their preferences - compared to native born scientists - with the purpose of examining whether conferences are perceived by Israeli born faculty members as productive.

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