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Working paper

Research Careers: Conceptual Frameworks And Actual Practices

The paper analyzes the existing approaches to the concept of scientific career, as well as career patterns of PhD holders. The authors consider the choice of alternative career options that do not involve a strict hierarchy or a clear understanding of where a person’s career path will take him. Taking into account the approaches developed earlier in the framework of the sociology of science, the sociology of employment and the theory of life cycles, as well as on the basis of the results of modern empirical research, including the results of the international project “Careers of Doctorate Holders (CDH)” (OECD, Eurostat, UNESCO Institute for Statistics), the authors propose a new model of academic career and identify the main factors, allowing to assess the success of a career. The model was tested on the data obtained during a survey among Russian researchers involving 828 respondents aged between 30 and 49 and employed by universities, research institutes, organizations of engineering services, industrial enterprises, medical centers and clinics. The analysis revealed 5 main factors determining the research career: recognition in the academic community; application of the scientific results in practice; implementation of research interests; formal criteria for successful employment (salary and level of position); mobility (including international). The results of the study confirmed the initial hypothesis that the factors affecting career success can be classified by their significance for the individual / for the professional community / for society as a whole.