BOX 4-4
International Tracking of Doctorates

Recently, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Eurostat, and UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics (UIS), sponsored by the US National Science Foundation, embarked on a joint project aimed at international tracking of the careers of doctorate holders. A first meeting, the Workshop on User Needs for Indicators on Careers of Doctorate Holders (CDH) in Paris (OECD, September 27, 2004) set out to gauge interest in this issue, and to explore how different national and methodological approaches might converge to produce internationally comparable indicators on doctorate holder’s careers. Central themes were employment characteristics of doctorate holders, postdoctoral experience, and international experience and mobility.a Interest proved to be extensive, and a meeting of the “Experts Group on Careers of Doctorate Holders” convened in Montreal (UIS, January 3-February 1, 2005) to determine the type of data currently available and the type of data needed, and to develop an international instrument to help track CDHb; a third meeting is planned for May 2005 to discuss the issue further.


Emmanuel Boudard. 2004. Developing an integrated information system on the career paths and mobility flows of researchers (DSTI/EAS/STP/NESTI/RD(2004)16. OECD Workshop on User Needs for Indicators on Careers of Doctorate Holders, Paris, September 27, 2004. Available at

Laudeline Auriole. 2004. Conclusions of the workshop on user needs for indicators on careers of doctorate holders. (DSTI/EAS/STP/NESTI(2004)28). OECD Workshop on User Needs for Indicators on Careers of Doctorate Holders, Paris, September 27, 2004.

The atlas has initiated a transnational collaboration, Project Atlas, and has led to agreements on several definitions and constructs. For example, it was agreed that international student should be defined as “a person who physically moves from his or her place of residence for the purposes of study” with nonimmigrant, nonpermanent residence status.10 Similar harmonization efforts for R&D data are under way among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries (see Box 4-4) to build on the 1993 Frascati Manual to function as a “basic international source of methodology for collecting and using R&D statistics.” The manual includes a section titled “Measurement of Personnel Devoted to R&D”.11 OECD plans to develop a definition of postdoctoral scholars and to increase the development of data by fields of science.12


Adria Gallup-Black. 2004. “International student mobility: Project Atlas.” International Higher Education 37:10-11.


OECD. 1999. Main Definitions and Conventions for the Measurement of Research and Development, 5th Edition Paris: OECD. Available at


Recotillet. Ibid. 2003.

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