Constructing academic identity in the changing Russian higher education context: preliminary perspectives

Zhanna Anikina, Liubov Goncharova, Arina Evseeva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Currently, Russian academics are facing significant demands because of a new, urgent requirement to pursue their research in accordance with international standards. Until recently, these academics were used to working within a familiar community and communicating their research via the Russian language, but now, they are expected to move beyond that and function on a global level, which can challenge their academic identities. A qualitative study was carried out in a research-intensive Russian university. The aim was to explore academics’ experiences and perceptions of the dynamic changes in their academic work with a particular focus on the limitations and pressures they meet in their career path towards global research. The data were collected by means of reflective journals during a course on English for academic purposes. Thematic analysis was employed for data analysis. The results showed that global trends turned out to be unachievable for Russian academics due to the lack of specific knowledge, attributes and skills required to do research globally. This might be the first study from Russia contributing to the literature on academic identity construction. The article provides insights into the experiences and perceptions of Russian academics and offers a research agenda for further investigation to bridge identity shifts in academia. In terms of practical purposes, the results will be used as a source of preliminary data within a broader research project aimed at supporting Russian academics in their research in an international English-speaking academic context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)855-868
Number of pages14
JournalHigher Education Research and Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2020


  • Academic identity
  • Russian academics’ perceptions
  • Russian higher education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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