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Feb 17 -- The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) within the National Science Foundation (NSF) invites comments by April 18, 2023 regarding the renewal of the Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering for 2023 through 2025.

The Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering (GSS), sponsored by the NCSES within NSF and the National Institutes of Health, is designed to comply with legislative mandates by providing information on the characteristics of academic graduate enrollments in science, engineering, and health fields. The GSS, which originated in 1966 and has been conducted annually since 1972, is a census of all departments in science, engineering, and health (SEH) fields within academic institutions with graduate programs in the United States. This request to extend the information collection for three years is to cover the 2023, 2024, and 2025 GSS survey cycles. The information collected by the GSS is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended and the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010. Data collection starts each fall in October and data are obtained primarily through a Web survey. All information will be used for statistical purposes only. Participation in the survey is voluntary.

The expected frame for the 2023 GSS includes 709 institutions comprising 797 schools with 876 total Coordinators. The GSS is the only national survey that collects information on the characteristics of graduate enrollment and postdoctoral appointees (postdocs) for specific SEH disciplines at the department level. It collects information on:

(1) Master's and doctoral students' ethnicity and race, citizenship, gender, source and mechanism of financial support (e.g., fellowships, traineeships, assistantships) and enrollment status;
(2) Postdocs' ethnicity and race, citizenship, gender, source and mechanism of financial support, type of doctoral degree, and degree origin (U.S. or foreign); and
(3) Other doctorate-holding non-faculty researchers' gender and type of doctoral degree.

To improve coverage of postdocs, the GSS periodically collects information on postdocs employed in Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) by ethnicity and race, gender, citizenship, source and mechanism of financial support, and field of research. This survey of postdocs at FFRDCs will be conducted as part of the 2023 and 2025 GSS survey cycles. In these years, there will be an additional 43 coordinators contacted to respond to GSS.

The initial GSS data request is sent to a designated respondent, the School Coordinator, at each academic institution in the fall. The School Coordinators gather the data for all of the reporting units at the institution. Reporting units are comprised of the departments, programs, research centers, and health care facilities at each institution. The School Coordinator may upload a file with the requested data on the GSS website, which will automatically aggregate the data and populate the cells of the Web survey instrument for each of the reporting units. This method of data provision is called Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). The School Coordinator also may upload partial data (e.g., student enrollment information) and delegate the provision of other data (e.g., financial support information) to the appropriate reporting units at their institution (unit respondents). Institutions that do not want to use EDI will be able to complete the survey through manual entry of data (i.e., typing the data for each response item on every unit) in the Web survey instrument as in the past.

Data are disseminated annually on the NCSES website https://www.nsf.gov/​statistics/​srvygradpostdoc in the form of 93 data tables, a 3 to 5 page InfoBrief, and public use files (https://www.nsf.gov/​statistics/​srvygradpostdoc/​pub_​data.cfm).

In addition, current and historical data are available via the NCSES Integrated Data Tool (https://ncsesdata.nsf.gov/​ids/​?utm_​source=​Main&​utm_​medium=​Main&​utm_​campaign=​Main).The Data Tool combines GSS data with academic sector data from both NCSES and the National Center of Education Statistics and allows for custom querying.

The GSS data are routinely provided to Congress and other Federal agencies. The GSS institutions themselves are major users of the GSS data. Professional societies such as the American Association of Universities, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Carnegie Foundation are also major users. Graduate enrollment and postdoc data are often used in reports by the national media. With the help of the aforementioned NCSES Data Tool, NSF reviews changing enrollment levels to assess the effects of NSF initiatives, track graduate student support patterns, and analyze participation in science and engineering fields for targeted groups by discipline and for selected groups of institutions. GSS data are also used in two congressionally mandated NCSES publications: Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering (https://ncses.nsf.gov/​wmpd/​) and the National Science Board's Science and Engineering Indicators (https://ncses.nsf.gov/​indicators). In addition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) publish GSS data annually in the NIH Data Book https://report.nih.gov/​nihdatabook/​.

Expected Respondents: The GSS is an annual census of all eligible academic institutions in the U.S. with graduate programs in science, engineering and health fields. The response rate is calculated based on the number of reporting units (departments, programs, research centers, and health care facilities) that respond to the survey. For reference, in 2021, the GSS population consisted of 21,365 reporting units at 699 academic institutions. Based on recent cycles, NCSES expects the annual response rate to be around 99 percent.
GSS: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvygradpostdoc/
Draft survey instrument and technical documentation requested from NSF by AEAStat.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-03352

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