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Manuscript Abstract: The recent movement underscoring the importance of career taxonomies has helped usher in a new era of transparency in PhD career outcomes. The convergence of discipline-specific organizational movements, interdisciplinary collaborations, and federal initiatives have all helped to increase PhD career outcomes tracking and reporting. Transparent and publicly available PhD career outcomes are being used by institutions to attract top applicants, as prospective graduate students are factoring these in when deciding on the program and institution in which to enroll for their PhD studies. Given the increasing trend to track PhD career outcomes, the number of institutional efforts and supporting offices for these studies have increased, as has the variety of methods being used to classify and report/visualize outcomes. This report, therefore, aims to identify and summarize currently available PhD career taxonomy tools, resources, and visualization options to help catalyze and empower institutions to develop and publish their own PhD career outcomes. This work serves as an empirical review of the career outcome tracking systems available and highlights organizations, consortia, and funding agencies that are impacting policy change toward greater transparency in PhD career outcomes reporting.
Project Description: We collated STEM and humanities career outcome taxonomies from 30 groups (universities, consortia, research institutions & professional societies) and mapped fields that were similar between these taxonomies. In mapping these fields, a number of challenges occurred. For example, some taxonomies were too comprehensive to fully map (e.g., there were nearly 1500 categories to choose from), and these omissions are noted within the headings. Some categories had a tally higher than the total number of taxonomies examined because they were present in multiple ways within a single taxonomy (e.g., tenure-track faculty may have appeared as a variety of different professor job titles). Additionally, some categories were repeated for the purposes of alignment; an asterisk (*) was used to depict when this "one-to-many" mapping occurred. Another key challenge is that no two taxonomies have categories that are 100% equivalent. This was especially apparent when examining employment categorization between different countries. Nevertheless, efforts were made to ascertain the fundamental meaning of each data field in order to best highlight approximate equivalencies between taxonomies. Furthermore, in order to prevent the loss of granularity when aligning taxonomies that are more complex, multiple rows are depicted back-to-back with the same color to highlight categories that are related. Some text is shown in a color other than black to indicate either multiple categories that align together, or to indicate that a category is out of place with respect to the parent taxonomy stratification. Not all of these occurrences are indicated for ease of illustration; one may refer to the original taxonomies to ascertain their structure.