, 89:845 | Cite as

On the demographical changes of U.S. research doctorate awardees and corresponding trends in research fields

  • Chung-Souk Han


The demographical data of the National Science Foundation on research doctorate awardees in the United States is studied in this article. While the overall growth rate of research doctorate awardees is approximately the same as the growth rate of the whole population in the U.S. there are considerable changes in the sub-populations of research doctorate awardees. The demographic data is evaluated/discussed in more detail with respect to gender and research fields of the doctorate awardees. In particular the notion of the primacy of technology over science in the postmodern era is examined and found to be justified.


Science Technology Demography Research doctorates Research fields 


  1. Abraham, P. (2000). Duplicate and salami publications. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine, 46, 67–69.Google Scholar
  2. Andersen, J. P., & Hammarfelt, B. (2011). Price revisited: On the growth of dissertations in eight research fields. Scientometrics, 88, 371–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arbesman, S. (2011). Quantifying the ease of scientific discovery. Scientometrics, 86, 245–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baird, L. L. (1990). Disciplines and doctorates: The relationships between program characteristics and the duration of doctoral study. Research in Higher Education, 31, 369–385.Google Scholar
  5. Behrens, H., & Luksch, P. (2011). Mathematics 1868–2008: A bibliometric analysis. Scientometrics, 86, 179–194.MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Best, S., & Kellner D. (1997). The postmodern turn. New York: The Guilford Press. Google Scholar
  7. Bradbury, K., & Katz, J. (2002). Women’s labor market involvement and family income mobility when marriages end. New England Economic Review, 4, 41–74.Google Scholar
  8. Britt, R. (2008). Academic R&D expenditures: FY 2008, 2010. National Science Foundation.
  9. Conger, D., & Long, M. C. (2010). Why are men failing behind? Gender gaps in college performance and persistence. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 627, 184–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Colliver, J. A. (1996). Science in the postmodern era: Postpositivism and research in medical education. Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 8, 10–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cotter, D. A., Hermsen, J. M., & Vanneman R. (2001). Women’s work and working women—the demand for female labor. Gender & Society, 15, 429–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cronin, B. (2001). Hyperauthorship: A postmodern perversion or evidence of a structural shift in scholarly communication practices?. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology , 52, 558–569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eckersley, R. (2001) Postmodern science: The decline or liberation of science? In S. Stocklmayer, M. Gore, & C. Bryant (Eds.), Science communication in theory and practice (pp. 83–94). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  14. Falkenheim, J. C., & Fiegener, M. K. (2007) Records fifth consecutive annual increase in U.S. doctoral awards, 2008. National Science Foundation, Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences.
  15. Fiegener, M. K. (2008). S&E Degrees: 1966–2006, 2008. Special Report, National Science Foundation, Document NSF 10-309,
  16. Fiegener, M. K. (2009). Doctorate recipients from U.S. universities. Summary Report 2007–08, 2009, National Science Foundation, Document NSF 08-321,
  17. Fiegener, M. K. (2010). Numbers of doctorate awarded continue to grow in 2009; indicators of employment outcomes mixed, 2010. National Science Foundation, Document NSF 11-305,
  18. Forman, P. (2007). The primacy of science in modernity, of technology in postmodernity, and of ideology in the history of technology. History and Technology, 23, 1–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Frank, D. J., & Gabler, J. (2006). Reconstructing the university worldwide shifts in academia in the 20th century. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Green, B. (2009). Challenging perspectives, changing practises: Doctoral education in transition. In D. Boud & A. Lee (Eds.), Changing practices of doctoral education (pp. 239–250). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Han, C.-S., Lee, S. K., & England, M. (2010). Transition to postmodern science—related scientometric data. Scientometrics, 84, 391–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harvey, D. (1990). The condition of postmodernity. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  23. Hoffer, T. B., & Welch, V. (2006). Time to degree of U.S. research doctorate recipients, 2006. National Science Foundation, Document NSF 06-312,
  24. Jones, B. F. (2009). Burden of knowledge and the death of the renaissance man: Is innovation getting harder? Review of Economic Studies, 76, 283–317.MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jones, B. F. (2010). Age and great invention. Review of Economics and Statistics, 92, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kim, D., & Otts, C. (2010). The effect of loans on time to doctorate degree: Differences by race/ethnicity, field of study, and institutional characteristics. The Journal of Higher Education, 81, 1–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kumar, N. A. (2004). Comparative analysis of shifting of doctorates. Current Science, 86, 33–36.Google Scholar
  28. Lariviere, V., Archambault, E., & Gingras, Y. (2008). Long-term variations in the aging of scientific literature: From exponential growth to steady-state science (1900–2004). Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 59, 288–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Leydesdorff, L., & Wagner, C. (2009). Is the united states losing ground in science? A global perspective on the world science system. Scientometrics, 78, 23–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Leydesdorff, L., & Zhou, P. (2005). Are the contributions of China and Korea upsetting the world system of science? Scientometrics, 63, 617–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lima, A., Vasconcelos, C., Flix, N., Barros, J., & Mendonta, A. (2010). Field trip activity in an ancient gold mine: Scientific literacy in informal education. Public Understanding of Science, 19, 322–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lyotard, J.-F. (1984). The postmodern condition: A report on knowledge. Mansfield: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Price, D. de Solla (1961). Science since babylon. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Rip, A. (1996). The post-modern research system. Science and Public Policy, 23, 343–352.Google Scholar
  35. Rip, A. (2004). Strategic research, post-modern universities, and research training. Higher Education Policy, 17, 153–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Stephan, P., & Levin, S. (1993). Age and the Nobel Prize revisited. Scientometrics, 28, 387–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tuckman, H., Coyle, S., & Bae, Y. (1990). On time to the doctorate; a study of the increased time to complete doctorates in science and engineering. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  38. Thurgood, L., Golladay, M. J., & Hill, S. T. (2006). U.S. doctorates in the 20th century, 2006. Special report, National Science Foundation,
  39. United Nations. (2009). World population prospects: The 2008 revision. In \({Population\; Newsletter}\), Number 87, June 2009, United Nations, Population Division,
  40. Ziman, J. M. (1994). Prometheus bound —science in a dynamic steady state. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA

Personalised recommendations