The aim of this study is to contribute to the debate on the relationship between scientific mobility and international collaboration.
This case study deals with leading Chinese researchers in the field of plant molecular life sciences who returned to their
home country. A correlation analysis of their mobility history, publication output, and international co-publication data,
shows the relationship between scientific output, levels of international collaboration and various individual characteristics
of returned researchers. The outcome of the analysis suggests that while host countries may loose human capital when Chinese
scientists return home, the so-called “return brain drain”, they may also gain in terms of scientific linkages within this
rapidly emerging and globalizing research field.