Protecting and Accessing Data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates
A Workshop Summary
Thomas J. Plewes, Rapporteur
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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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 steering committee for the workshop were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
Support of the work of the Committee on National Statistics is provided by a consortium of federal agencies through a grant from the National Science Foundation (award number SES-0453930). 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.
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Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2010). Protecting and Accessing Data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates: A Workshop Summary. Thomas J. Plewes, Rapporteur. Committee on National Statistics, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
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STEERING COMMITTEE FOR A REVIEW OF CONFIDENTIALITY CRITERIA FOR STATISTICS FROM THE SURVEY OF EARNED DOCTORATES
BARBARA A. BAILAR (Chair), Consultant,
ROBERT F. BORUCH,
Graduate School of Education and Statistics, University of Pennsylvania
Department of Statistics, University of Missouri–Columbia
WILLIE PEARSON, JR.,
School of History, Technology and Society, Georgia Institute of Technology
ANNE C. PETERSEN,
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University
The Urban Institute, Washington, DC
MARK S. SCHNEIDER,
American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
THOMAS J. PLEWES, Study Director
MICHAEL J. SIRI, Program Associate
COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS 2008–2009
WILLIAM F. EDDY (Chair),
Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University
Department of Economics and Joint Program in Survey Methodology, University of Maryland
Department of Statistics, Iowa State University
Phase Forward, Inc., Waltham, MA
Department of Economics, University of Maryland
V. JOSEPH HOTZ,
Department of Economics, Duke University
Department of Statistics, Indiana University
Department of Sociology, Princeton University
Statistics and Epidemiology, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Division of Health Policy Research and Education, Harvard University
SAMUEL H. PRESTON,
Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania
Department of Statistics, University of California, Irvine
Joint Program in Survey Methodology, University of Maryland
Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School
CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Director
This report summarizes the proceedings of a workshop to review confidentiality criteria for the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The workshop was sponsored by NSF and convened by the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT), Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, of the National Research Council (NRC).
The staff of NSF’s Division of Science Resources Statistics played an important role in preparing for and conducting the workshop. As background for the workshop, this staff prepared a substantial paper describing the new disclosure protection strategies that the agency proposed to adopt in publishing future editions of the race, gender, and ethnicity tables for SED. Under the leadership of Lynda Carlson and her deputy, Mary Frase, the division staff went to great lengths to assemble information and present it to the workshop in a concise and useful manner. Mark Fiegener, the survey manager, and Steve Cohen, the division’s chief statistician, were the primary
authors of that background paper. Fiegener also served as the primary point of coordination between the steering committee and NSF.
The presentations in the workshop were designed to shed light on various issues involved in selecting appropriate confidentiality criteria for statistics from SED. The task of describing the context for the protection of confidential data in the federal government fell to Brian Harris-Kojetin of the Statistical and Science Policy Office, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, and to Alvan Zarate, a consultant who previously served as the confidentiality officer of the National Center for Health Statistics.
Mark Fiegener and Steve Cohen gave presentations on the options that NSF faced when trying to achieve a balance between protecting the data from SED and making them accessible to the many users of the information. The input of users of the survey data was summarized by Shirley McBay, of the Quality Education for Minorities Network. Jacob Bournazian of the Energy Information Agency summarized emerging models across the federal government for ensuring access while maintaining confidentiality. Jerome Reiter of Duke University discussed the emerging field of disclosure risk assessments. Latanya Sweeney, a member of the steering committee, was also scheduled to discuss disclosure risk but was unable to participate in the workshop.
The steering committee also acknowledges the excellent work of the staff of CNSTAT and the NRC for support in developing and organizing the workshop and this report. Under the direction of Constance Citro, director of CNSTAT, the study director, Thomas Plewes, provided valuable assistance to the steering committee in organizing the meetings and serving as rapporteur for the workshop. He was ably assisted by Michael Siri, also on the staff of CNSTAT.
This workshop summary was 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 NRC. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that assist the institution in making its 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.
The panel thanks the following individuals for their review of this report: Barbara A. Bailar, consultant, Washington, DC; Craig Calhoun,
Office of the President, Social Science Research Council, Brooklyn, NY; George T. Duncan, Department of Statistics, Emeritus, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University; Willie Pearson, Jr., School of History, Technology and Society, Georgia Institute of Technology; Kenneth E. Redd, Research and Policy Analysis, National Association of College and University Business Officers, Washington, DC; and Nora Cate Schaeffer, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Eleanor Singer, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. Appointed by the NRC, she was responsible for making certain that the 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 the report rests entirely with the author and the institution.