The first 10 years after earning a doctoral degree are crucial to the careers of doctorate holders. Although their pathways and timelines vary, doctorate recipients make a transition during this time from training to independent careers in research, teaching, clinical practice, or other areas. Despite the importance of this population for the growth and success of the global research enterprise, data collected about early career doctorates—persons receiving their first doctorate within the past 10 years—are sparse and have significant limitations. For example, the Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR), the best current source for data on doctoral careers, is limited to individuals who received research doctorates in science, engineering, and health (SEH) fields from academic institutions in the United States. The SDR excludes individuals who earned research doctorates from academic institutions outside the United States; those with doctorates in non-SEH fields including business, education, arts, and humanities; and those with professional doctoral degrees.
Early career doctorates in context