Becoming more transparent: Collecting and presenting data on biomedical Ph.D. alumni

Rescuing Biomedical Research, Washington, DC, United States
Lewis-Sigler Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, United States
Subject Areas
Science and Medical Education, Science Policy
career outcomes transparency, PhD alumni, career taxonomy
© 2018 Pickett et al.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ Preprints) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
Cite this article
Pickett CL, Tilghman S. (2018) Becoming more transparent: Collecting and presenting data on biomedical Ph.D. alumni. PeerJ Preprints 6:e3370v2


For more than 20 years, panels of experts have recommended that universities collect and publish data on the career outcomes of Ph.D. students. However, little progress has been made. Over the past few years, a handful of universities, including those in the National Institutes of Health’s Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training consortium, and organizations, including the Association of American Universities and the Association of American Medical Colleges, launched projects to collect and publish data on biomedical Ph.D. alumni. Here, we describe the outcome of a meeting, convened by Rescuing Biomedical Research, of universities and associations working to improve the transparency of career outcomes data. We were able to achieve consensus on a set of common methods for alumni data collection and a unified taxonomy to describe the career trajectories of biomedical Ph.D.s. These materials can be used by any institution, with little or no modification, to begin data collection efforts on their Ph.D. alumni. These efforts represent an important step forward in addressing a recommendation that has been made for decades that will improve the ability of trainees to better plan for their careers and for universities to better tailor their training programs.

Author Comment

We have added an addendum describing the significant work that has been done subsequent to our initial submission.

Supplemental Information

Data collection and career taxonomy spreadsheet

DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.3370v2/supp-1