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Three-Tiered Taxonomy and Flag System for Alumni Employment Records

Each alumni employment record is classified in a 3-tiered taxonomy and assigned a series of flags.

3-Tiered Taxonomy

The 3-Tiered Taxonomy captures three pieces of information about each employment record: the “sector” in which the alumnus works, the “career type” of the position, and the “job function” of the position. There are 7 answer options for “sector” and “career type,” and 25 answer options for “job function.” The 3 tiers and corresponding answer options are shown in the table below. For full definitions and coding clarifications, view our VU-BRET-v2019-taxonomy

Major differences from the RBR taxonomy

The VU BRET taxonomy is very similar to the taxonomy adopted by RBR, with the following notable exceptions:

  1. The VU BRET taxonomy contains two additional answer options in the “sector” and “career type” tiers for individuals who are “not employed” or “deceased.”
  2. The “career type” tier of the RBR taxonomy classifies non-research and non-teaching jobs as either “science-related” or “not related to science,” whereas the VU BRET taxonomy classifies non-research and non-teaching jobs as “primarily administrative, managerial, or operational.” The VU BRET taxonomy captures relatedness to science in a separate “science- or research-related” flag that is assigned to every position.
  3. The “job function” tier of the RBR taxonomy has five possible job functions for faculty which are defined on the basis of tenure status and part- or full-time work status. Since tenure and work status do not describe what someone does professionally, and tenure and work status are difficult to determine with 100% certainty, the VU BRET taxonomy does not classify faculty based on tenure or work status in the “job function” tier. Instead, the VU BRET taxonomy has three possible “job functions” for individuals with faculty appointments. These “job functions” are defined based on the type of work someone does, and information about their faculty appointment is recorded in separate faculty flag fields:
    1. Principal investigator or group leader (used for group leaders in academia, government, nonprofits, or industry)
    2. Research faculty or staff (used for research staff in academia, government, nonprofits, or industry)
    3. Teaching faculty or staff
  4. Other differences in the “job function” options between the VU BRET taxonomy and the RBR taxonomy are described in this VU-BRET-v2019-to-RBR-crosswalk.
Answer Options
Career Type
Answer Options
Job Function
Answer Options
AcademiaPrimarily administrative
or managerial
or operational
For-ProfitPrimarily researchBusiness development, consulting, and strategic alliances
GovernmentPrimarily teachingClinical development
NonprofitFurther education or
Clinical research management
Not employedNot employedClinical services
OtherUnknownCompleting further education
UnknownData science, analytics, & software engineering
Entrepreneurship (scientific or healthcare)
Health care provider
Intellectual property and law
Manufacturing & process development
Medical affairs
Not employed
Principal investigator or group leader
Regulatory affairs
Research staff or technical director
Sales and marketing
Science education and outreach
Science or medical writing and communication
Science policy and government affairs
Teaching faculty or staff
Technical support and product development