workforce and to construct data resources that will allow these issues to be addressed.
The move to a sampling frame from the ACS makes the current SESTAT transition period an important decision time for NSF. It is an opportunity to review the SESTAT Program goals, as well as the needs and wishes of the outside research community, to determine the type and frequency of data collection. There are many options and this chapter has briefly discussed three of them. The central point is that because of the improved quality of information that the ACS with a field-of-degree question would provide, NSF now has a window of opportunity to decide whether the expense of separate surveys such as the NSCG and the NSRCG is justified.
In summary, it is clear that the NSF staff will have an opportunity to rethink the NSCG in light of the added information resources available through the ACS with the field-of-degree question. Given the speed at which the Census Bureau makes the ACS data available, the NSF staff will undoubtedly want to make use of the ACS data in the preparation of the congressionally mandated reports, no matter which option is chosen. Continued use of the NSCG or something like it would involve additional costs, but it would provide for the greatest continuity and provide much more detailed information about the experiences of the S&E workforce. The ACS frame also makes possible alternative approaches, such as a reconstituted NSCG that may have fewer respondents but a richer set of data.