At least 2500 scientists have severed ties with Russia since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, according to an analysis carried out by the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

The data was sourced from Orcid, an international database bringing together information on more than 20 million scientists from around the world. According to Novaya Gazeta, Orcid registration is mandatory for academics publishing at large Russian universities, therefore the penetration of the database into the Russian academic environment was ‘quite high’.

The data showed that, as of October 2023, more than 130,000 scientists were registered with Orcid with at least one place of work related to Russia. Between 2012 and 2021, the proportion of researchers changing their affiliation from Russia to somewhere else in the world remained largely unchanged at 10%. However, in 2022 this percentage jumped to 30%.

Based on the average time it takes Orcid users to update their profile information, Novaya Gazeta estimated that if the current trend continued, the total number of those to have severed ties with Russia in 2022 may be close to 1600 people. A further 900 users were found to have had a recorded dismissal from a Russian organisation, had added a new country to their profile without indicating the place of work or had deleted records of employment in Russia between 2022 and 2023. This led them to the ‘conservative estimate’ that 2500 scientists had left since the beginning of the war.

The investigation also found that the general direction of migration had changed: before the war started, most scientists leaving Russia appeared to move to the US, Germany or the UK. However, after the war an increasing number made the move to Israel, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and the UAE.