Society diversity

Members of the Academic Society value diversity and sustainability

About three-quarters of respondents to Wiley’s University Society Survey said they want societies to “take the lead” on diversity.

Image – Getty iStockphoto: Michał Chodyra

By Porter Anderson, Editor | @Porter_Anderson

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Responses from 118 countries, over 40 disciplines

Ffrom its offices in Hoboken, Wiley Wednesday, August 24, sent a message to the media about the results of a survey he conducted of “learned societies” in the academic research community. This investigation was carried out by Broadview Analysis and included 1,255 respondents of the research community.

“A combination of analytical techniques was used in the analysis,” we are told, “including factor analysis, regression trees, and comparison group tests. The tests were performed with 99% confidence. »

Responses came from 118 countries and people working in at least 40 disciplines, Wiley says.

The highest number of responses came from Europe (22%), followed by Asia-Pacific (17%, compared to 13% last year), the United States (16%), Central Asia (15%) and Africa (15%). . In terms of subjects, social sciences were the largest group with 10%, followed by engineering, business, finance and accounting.

If you’re unfamiliar with this line of discussion, phrases like “corporate publishing,” common as they are in academia, may take a while to process.

Rather than a reference to the kind of “city magazine” red carpet soiree and fashion report that “society publishing” might refer to in commercial terms, the scholarly industry’s “society” emphasis is on professional organizations or societies focused on various disciplines, giving us, for example, the Society for Experimental Biology, the British Computer Society, the Royal Society of South Africa and – yes, it’s real – the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

Diversity issues

Wiley’s extensive work in scholarly and scholarly publishing prompted him to promote himself and his services to “society leaders”, and the survey of his public relations officers touts the results especially in two areas – “DE&I”, which is the ubiquitous shorthand for diversity, equality, inclusivity and sustainability. Because we prefer to avoid asking our international readers to follow a large number of acronyms, we will refer to “DE&I” simply for diversity.

“The number of women who responded to our survey remained stable at 36% for the third year in a row.”Discussion of the Wiley Inquiry

Among the early results, 74% of respondents said it was important for learned societies to “take the lead” on diversity, and this point specializes in the areas of racial and ethnic representation in this case.

“For example,” reads the media, “satisfaction with the representation of racial or ethnic groups in learned societies fell to 50% in 2022, from 57% in 2021.

“Potential and new members of the society stressed the importance for societies to play an active role in [diversity] significantly higher than members with [more than] 30 years of experience in research, reinforcing the idea that [diversity] values ​​will become increasingly important to members in the years to come. In other words, young workers in research professions are like young citizens in many areas, reliably demonstrating a higher valuation than many before them on issues of sustainability, as well as civil rights. and social equality.

It is interesting to examine the survey responses in light of these responses regarding diversity issues.

Demography and survey

“Once again,” writes Wiley, “the number of women who responded to our survey remained stable at 36% for the third year in a row. But there are significant differences in diversity, depending on topic and geography.

The pandemic “may have contributed to the continued, albeit slow, decline in membership in society. Levels have fallen to 57% this year, 10% lower than 4 years ago.Discussion of the Wiley Inquiry

Of the respondents, “81% of chemists are men and 79% engineers, and in Africa nearly three-quarters of our responses are also from men. In the field of nursing, 76% are women, as are 64% of those in psychology.

“It’s important not to read too much into this,” writes the Wiley team, “but it shows there’s still some way to go in terms of diversity in research.” On a positive note, more than half of those with less than five years of experience are women. That’s 6% more than last year, so change is coming.

Among the things that the administrations of various societies think about is how to attract new members. Another widely used acronym, ECR, tends to come into play here: early career researchers. The survey results indicate that many early career researchers may show a keen interest not only in diversity issues, but also in sustainability issues. “More than two-thirds (69%) of respondents to the Wiley survey say they think companies should prioritize sustainability.

This [self-declared] belief is particularly predominant among students, early career researchers and those from developing countries.

Image: Wiley, Learned Societies Survey 2022

In a statement from the company like this, we also hear an echo of widely understood exhaustion with the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. “The the effects of the pandemic are long-lasting, with 43% of respondents saying they have felt increased stress and anxiety this impacts their work and productivity.

Of the respondents, “81% of chemists are men and 79% engineers, and in Africa nearly three-quarters of our responses are also from men. In the field of nursing, 76% are women, as are 64% of those in psychology. »Discussion of the Wiley Inquiry

“Member are too looking forward to returning to in-person conferences with more than half (53 percent) reporting that they Miss these opportunities. Over the past 12 months, 32% respondents assisted an in-person conference versus 19% reported in the 2021 survey.”

And here is an observation that will not fail to warm the hearts of the “leaders of society”: “The perceived assess of society members within the research community continues to grow. This brings us yet another acronym: NPS, for “Net Promoter Score”. This score, “ willingness to recommend membership in a learned society,” Wiley’s team writes, “increased to 25, representing a five-point increase from last year and double the rate in 2020.

“The society’s journals are thriving, which is promising for the research ecosystem, as the societies contribute thousands of academic papers each year that are critical to the community’s common goal of advancing understanding in their respective fields.

“Being part of a learned society would have provided value to members in many ways, including access to journal content at no additional cost (82%), professional relationships (79%) and support for the advancement (76%).

This should be encouraging, as another finding from the survey is that the pandemic “may have contributed to the continued, albeit slow, decline in membership in society. Levels have fallen to 57% this year,” according to the results of the survey, “10% less than 4 years ago.

“The number [of researchers who] have never been a member is constant at 23% and [the level of] those [who] left a company in the last 12 months also remained stable at 12%.

“This may be an indication of the extraordinary times we have been through, and the decrease in each year is so small that it is not yet a crisis. But with such a long-term downward trend, the companies must remain vigilant.

Jay Flynn

And Wiley, of course, is one of the company’s top editors.

For hundreds of years,” says Executive Vice President and General Manager of Research Jay Flynn, “Ideserved companies played a key role in leading the world supported by training professionals, disseminate knowledge, and solve problems.

” As the of the world largest publisher in the company, Wiley is extremely proud of our partnerships” in many parts of the world” an/a is committed to supporting companies as they deliver on the priorities set by current and future members.

You can read more about the survey results in an article on Wiley’s site. here.

More on Publishing Perspectives on Academic and Scholarly Publishing here, more on Wiley here, and more on industry statistics here.

To learn more about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and its impact on international book publishing, click here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident member of Trends Research & Advisory, and was named International Business Journalist of the Year at the London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards. He is editor of Publishing Perspectives. He was previously associate editor of The FutureBook at The Bookseller in London. Anderson was a senior producer and anchor for, CNN International and CNN USA for more than a decade. As an art critic (National Critics Institute), he has collaborated with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which is now owned and operated by Jane Friedman.