Improving the Design of the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT)

Committee to Review the 2000 Decade Design of the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT)

Committee on National Statistics

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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Improving the Design of the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT) Committee to Review the 2000 Decade Design of the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT) Committee on National Statistics Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. SES-0112521 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-087112 Additional copies of this report are available from National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Printed in the United States of America Copyright 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2003). Improving the Design of the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT). Committee to Review the 2000 Decade Design of the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT). Committee on National Statistics, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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COMMITTEE TO REVIEW THE 2000 DECADE DESIGN OF THE SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS STATISTICAL DATA SYSTEM (SESTAT) ROBERT BELL (Chair), AT&T Laboratories-Research, Florham Park, NJ BARBARA BAILAR, National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago (emeritus) PAUL BIEMER, Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC BENJAMIN KING, Statistical Consultant, Del Ray Beach, FL ROBERT SANTOS, NuStats, Austin, TX LOWELL J. TAYLOR, H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University JAMES P. MCGEE, Study Director MARIA ALEJANDRO, Project Assistant

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COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS 2002 JOHN E. ROLPH (Chair), Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California JOSEPH G. ALTONJI, Thomas DeWitt Cuyler Professor of Economics, Yale University ROBERT BELL, AT&T Laboratories-Research, Florham Park, NJ LAWRENCE D. BROWN, Department of Statistics, University of Pennsylvania ROBERT M. GROVES, Survey Research Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor HERMAN HABERMANN, United Nations Statistical Division, New York, NY JOEL L. HOROWITZ, Department of Economics, Northwestern University WILLIAM KALSBEEK, Survey Research Unit, Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina ARLEEN LEIBOWITZ, School of Public Policy and Social Research, University of California Los Angeles THOMAS A. LOUIS, Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins University VIJAYAN NAIR, Department of Statistics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor DARYL PREGIBON, AT&T Laboratories-Research, FlorhamPark, NJ NORA CATE SCHAEFFER, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison MATTHEW D. SHAPIRO, Department of Economics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor ANDREW A. WHITE, Director DANELLE DESSAINT, Senior Project Assistant

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Preface Although representing a small fraction of the U.S. labor force (approximately 12 million individuals, about 8 percent of the labor force), scientists and engineers have major effects on the economic development of the country and on the rapid technological change that characterizes American society. Consequently, policy makers and researchers in government, industry, and academia need timely information about the numbers and characteristics of scientists and engineers in the United States. The key repository of that information, the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT), was created by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) a decade ago and has been maintained by that agency. NSF has also maintained the primary sources for such information for decades. The past decade has demonstrated the utility of SESTAT, but the SESTAT design shows some deficiencies with respect to response rates, coverage of populations of interest, and its ability to support some useful analyses. To tackle those deficiencies, NSF has proposed three possible design options for improving the database and asked the National Research Council’s Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) to form the Committee to Review the 2000 Decade Design of the SESTAT. This is the report of that committee. It presents our understanding of the purposes and characteristics of the SESTAT, applies the criteria we believe are important for assessing design options for the database, provides our recommendation for the best approach to adopt in the 2000 decade,

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and offers our encouragement to NSF to pursue opportunities to improve the understanding of the numbers and characteristics of scientists and engineers in the United States. We have been able to prepare this report because of the excellent cooperation and information obtained from the staff of the National Science Foundation and, particularly, its Science Resources Statistics (SRS) division. We are especially grateful to Norman Bradburn, director for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate; Lynda Carlson, director of SRS; and Ron Fecso, chief statistician of SRS, for providing to us information essential to our deliberations and for supporting our conduct of a workshop for wide discussion of many of the issues covered in this report. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (NRC). The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Daniel Black, Center for Policy Research, Syracuse University; James M. Lepkowski, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan; Fritz Scheuren, Statistics and Methodology, National Opinion Research Center; and Paula Stephan, Department of Economics, Georgia State University. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Lawrence Brown, Department of Statistics, University of Pennsylvania. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. This report is the collective product of the entire committee, and each member took an active role in drafting sections of chapters, leading discus-

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sions, and reading and commenting on successive drafts. Staff at the National Research Council made important contributions to our work in many ways. We express our appreciation to Andrew White, CNSTAT director, for his valuable insight, guidance, and support; to Constance Citro, CNSTAT staff officer, for her invaluable intellectual support of the committee’s work, including reviewing successive drafts of the report; and to Maria Alejandro, the panel’s project assistant, who was indispensable in organizing meetings, arranging travel, compiling agenda materials, coordinating with the interested community, and managing the exchange of documentation among the committee members. We are deeply indebted to Eugenia Grohman, who significantly improved the report by dedicated application of her extraordinary editing skills. Robert M. Bell, Chair James P. McGee, Study Director Committee to Review the 2000 Decade Design of the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT)

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Contents     PREFACE   vii     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1     INTRODUCTION   3     SCOPE OF SESTAT   5     The National Survey of College Graduates,   6     The National Survey of Recent College Graduates,   7     The Survey of Doctorate Recipients,   7     Types of Information Contained in SESTAT,   8     Population Coverage of the Current SESTAT Sample Frame,   10     SESTAT 2000 DECADE DESIGN OPTIONS   15     2000 Census Frame Option: New NSCG Survey Based on 2000 Census,   18     1990 Census Frame Option: A Continuation of the 1990s Panels,   18     Hybrid Option,   19     EVALUATION OF THE DESIGN OPTIONS   20     Evaluation Criteria,   20     Comparison of the 2000 and 1990 Census Frame Options,   21     Comparison of the 2000 Census Frame Option and the Hybrid Option,   23

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    CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS   26     Choice Among Design Options,   26     Emphasis on Data Quality,   28     Coverage of Relevant Populations,   29     Planning Expanded SRS Activities and Greater Interaction with Colleagues,   29     REFERENCES   31     APPENDIX: Agenda, SESTAT Workshop, July 9, 2002   33

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Improving the Design of the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT)

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