Active Academic Communication across the Pacific
Today the diaspora option is seen as an important strategy for decreasing the adverse impacts of brain drain. Chinese academic diasporas have increasingly begun to create academic ties with China, yet few studies have examined Chinese academic diasporas' scholarly ties with China. The purpose of this research study is to explore why and how Chinese academic diasporas develop their academic ties with China. In this study, 20 Chinese overseas scholars in the northeastern United States were interviewed. Grounded theory was employed to analyze the interview data. A spectrum of issues and topics, in the narratives of academic ties of Chinese overseas students, emerged from this study. Generally, the interviewed scholars had established active academic ties with the Chinese academic community. These academic ties mainly transferred three types of knowledge: network-building knowledge, outcome-oriented knowledge, and context-oriented knowledge. The intensity of academic ties was found to highly associate with the types of knowledge that were transferred. Academic ties were categorized into three modes: radio mode, outsourcing mode, and constructional mode. While radio and outsourcing modes have a separate process of producing and transmitting knowledge, Chinese academic diasporas and their Chinese counterparts can equally collaborate to create new knowledge in a constructional mode. This study found that cultural identity and academic identity influenced the scholars' motivations for maintaining academic ties with China and shaped the intensity of their academic ties. Finally, this study suggests that Chinese academic diasporas play a crucial role in communicating western values and norms with the Chinese academia and society via their scholarly ties with China. Limitations of this study include small sample size and distribution. Recommendations for future study include increasing sample size, recruiting more female participants, examining scholars from non-research universities and from other regions of the United States, and investigating how social values impact academic ties.