What do younger members want from their society?
What do younger members want from their society?
https://asa1cadmoremedia.blob.core.windows.net/asset-0fa34bb0-5f44-4e91-85db-f0f53f6c610a/Tomorrow%27s Members - Jo Wixon.mp4
JO WIXON: I'm happy to be with you all. I'm just sharing a first look at our fifth Wiley Society member survey. So what I should say is this is hot off the press. The team are still analyzing the data. But we have enough of the responses in and a majority of the responses in that we think this is well worth giving you a look at. So what we're going to talk about is what we've learned from early career researchers in the most recent survey, but also because we've been doing this for five years, we've got some really great data on trends over time and the wider demographic.
JO WIXON: So we'll share a little bit of that as well where it fits in with what we've been talking about so far today. So our society membership survey is the largest of its kind. It's not only sent out to members, so you'll also hear from potential future members and people who have lapsed. So we really kind of try to go quite wide. We ask them about what they value in membership and try to get some insights for our society partners and yourselves about what you might want to do to refine or design your benefits packages and also think about your communications for maximum growth and retention.
JO WIXON: So first of all, a little bit about our level of coverage of early career researchers. And here we're using a definition of having less than six years of experience in their field. So we've had a growing number of ECR respondents to the survey over the time we've been running it. And at this time it's hit 21% from 14% last year. So we do feel we've got a good proportion of that kind of member here.
JO WIXON: And as I say, over the years we've built a solid body of evidence about what members want and need. We were able to trace trends. So for example, a primary concern for early career researchers has always been progressing their career, but over the last couple of years, we've seen a growing interest in open access. And so we actually added some new questions this year, which I'll talk to you about later.
JO WIXON: So let's dive in and take a look at the five top things that early career researchers want from their society. So the first is access to free content. And that includes the journal. And so here this could also probably be capturing their member access to the journal, but we'll dig deeper into that later on. The second is support, as we've said, for advancing their career.
JO WIXON: This always comes up very highly for these people who are embarking on their career trajectory. Lots of communication and through many channels, and we'll get into that in a moment. And funnily enough, something that came up very strongly in our table discussion about trying to make that conference green, and I think also the neighboring table, was the importance of networking, particularly in-person networking.
JO WIXON: This is really critical to them for building their careers. And finally, having a shared mission and a shared sense of the importance of high standards of ethics. So let's look at each of these in a bit more detail. So the first one, access to content. Over the five years we've run the survey, this has consistently been one of the top reasons that members join. And it's no less true for early career researchers.
JO WIXON: So you can see that on the right, that it's coming out very highly with 80% giving it a rating in their top two. And generally what we've found is that there are three areas that members really value that keep coming back to us, content being the first one, access to career support, and access to a global community being the third one. And a lot of their interests tend to group and cluster under those three headings.
JO WIXON: But the content one is really strong. So a key question around that is, then, what that means in terms of openness. And so we'll get onto that. Some of our questions did dig into that. So you can see the relevant content, the community, and the career are coming up there in the top three. But when we talk about openness on the left, you can see here that we had 67% of respondents saying that they would like their society to provide more open-access publishing.
JO WIXON: So the interest in this is not just coming from funders. It's actually something that we're seeing voiced by our respondents. So as I say, we'll delve into that a little more further down. Oh, forgive me. I just pressed the wrong button. The second one was support for their career. So it's probably not surprising that people who are embarking on their career are really looking for help to develop and to establish themselves.
JO WIXON: And so we weren't surprised to see that coming up highly. What we were surprised to see was that only a little bit more than half, 58% of them, were satisfied with the support they're receiving right now. So I'm sure you all are all making a lot of efforts to support them with their careers, but it seems that there's an opportunity to look at that again and review it. Maybe there needs to be more tailoring or more communication about it to early career researchers to raise their awareness that that's something that you are providing for them.
JO WIXON: And it's well worth doing. 89% of them rated education and training in their top two most important society benefits. So coming onto communication, our 2019 survey has reinforced that it's still the most important type of engagement-- is publishing a journal. In fact, it's importance went up to 93%, having been 89% in the year before.
JO WIXON: But early career researchers are showing in their responses that they want more than just the journal. They are actually the demographic that's most interested in and open to getting newsletters, emails, and social media. So it scores much higher for them than the other groups, and so it seems that to communicate with them and engage them, they're really looking for or respond well to a good communication mix.
JO WIXON: In terms of networking-- and again, as I say, this really came up, I think, in the table discussions earlier-- you can see here that attending that annual meeting, that conference that we talked about, is second only to learning about research results which comes back to the journal. So 73% here said that that was crucial. But you can also see further down that there was a significant vote also for attending local networking events.
JO WIXON: And so this might be something to think about. I don't know if the other groups were the same, but we had a little bit of a discussion about whether our society is global or not, and what it meant in a regional sense for members in different parts of the world. So thinking about local events is another kind of direction that you might take to help those kind of members. And finally, we'd had a previous question about a shared mission.
JO WIXON: And we realized that there could be different flavors to that. That could just be that a young scientist has maybe changed fields, and so they don't feel the society is relevant anymore. But did it mean more than that? So we asked, as part of our open access questions, questions that got a bit deeper into the ethos of the society, how it operates and the standards to which it holds itself.
JO WIXON: And what we found is that it does definitely go wider than that. So what we can see is that they're also voting for transparency around the publishing process, transparency in management decisions, organizational transparency, and really highly is this holding yourself up to high standards of publishing ethics. So in terms of the previous data, as I say, what we'd seen was that the most common reason to lapse was a loss of funding to help them cover their membership fee, except for ECRs.
JO WIXON: And they had said it was a connection to the mission. And so we can see here, as I say, that it's a little broader than just do they match the subject area. You know, have they been a microbiologist and suddenly gone off to do immunology and they've swapped society. It definitely goes runs deeper than that. They want to have a shared sense of how you comport yourself, let's say.
JO WIXON: OK. So I mentioned in the beginning that we've seen growth in interest in open access across the years we've been running the survey. So I want to spend a few final minutes going through just the highlights of these findings. We will be releasing more details in the coming months. But as I say, we're confident these are directional enough that you're going to find them interesting and useful.
JO WIXON: So the questions we asked, or the highlights that I'd like to pick out really, speak to three particular facets of their interest. One is the importance of funding, and we've talked already a little bit about that in terms of being able to cover a membership fee. The impact of a society going open-access-- what does that do to the perceived value of membership? And how societies can support open research, so the wider sense-- so talking about the accessibility, the reproducibility, and the transparency of research and how they feel about that, what they're looking for from a society in doing that.
JO WIXON: So first, in terms of the importance of funding, as I've said previously, over the five years we've been running the survey the most common reason for anyone lapsing is a loss of funding. So we knew that funding was very high on people's agenda, so we thought a question about that would be key. So we asked them whether they'd be more likely to join if a society had some sort of a fund to help them pay APCs.
JO WIXON: And we got a resounding 72% of respondents felt that that would influence their decision to join. So obviously everyone's situation is different, but I definitely met some society partners who told me about various grants and funds they've got that aren't that well-used. The odd society says, oh, nobody applies for our travel grant, nobody applies for this. So maybe you've got some funds that could be rebadged or redirected.
JO WIXON: Or even just more clear communication that some funding like this is available could make a real difference to attracting early career researchers. The next area that we looked at-- we were thinking about the larger trends of open access, the pressure from Plan S and others to convert journals to open access.
JO WIXON: In our conversations with our partners, there have been quite a few worries about how that detracts from the member benefit if the journal's suddenly free that was part of their member benefits. And so we specifically wanted to probe into that and asked a question of the respondents, whether if the journal flipped to OA, would it impact their willingness to be a member?
JO WIXON: And you'll be pleased to hear that 69% of them have said that it would have no impact on their decision or their wish to be a member. And a further 25% said that it would reduce the value of membership, but they would still want or need to join. So I think that says a lot about the range of benefits that you're offering and how they value them and what they need.
JO WIXON: I think it comes back to some of the things we talked about like the in-person networking that came up as something very strong. So it's not just the journal. And obviously what people say and what they do, not always 100% match. But it looks hopeful that it's not going to cause a massive departure of members. Thank you.
JO WIXON: The next question, then, was about supporting open research. So as we've said, it's not just the funders who are pushing for more in this area, but members are too. We'd seen it in one of the early questions, and it comes back again here. So there are lots of ways that societies can engage with open research without having to flip their journal, without having to do a major remodeling.
JO WIXON: So we took a look at what they were looking to see. What you can see here, as we said-- the top one we'd already talked about, was making the content available. But below that we've got a set of three options that came up very strongly. So having journal articles be more accessible to the broader public and perhaps also policymakers, I think, would be under that as well, for impact reasons.
JO WIXON: Providing greater transparency through open research. And developing guidelines about the sharing of data. And so these are quite separate things from needing to flip your journal. We then went on and delved into that a little more and got quite detailed in what they might be looking for. So you can see here that we've got very strong scores, over 70% for the top two, for having open data ideally that is fair.
JO WIXON: Having transparency in the peer review-- and we're actually in the middle of a pilot of that ourselves on a group of journals, and we found that across those journals, we've had 80% uptake from authors in choosing transparent peer review. So there's definitely been quite a move and quite some momentum from authors around having that process be more open.
JO WIXON: And finally, open recognition for the efforts that people make during peer review. So these are all areas that societies could explore, and it's a lot less complicated than thinking about flipping your journal. So as I said, just to round it off, you can see that these interests generally fall into these three camps that we've talked about. So the importance of content, the importance of career support, and the importance of being part of your community and connecting with your other members.
JO WIXON: So again, coming back to that networking. And these are definitely constants that have stayed across all demographic groups across the five years that we've run the survey. So I've rattled through a lot of data. So I'm aware that you may have questions. I'm happy to talk in the breaks. As I say, we'll be releasing more on the survey shortly. But we have built up over the years recently a really large body of resources and evidence from this survey.
JO WIXON: So we have a site with the data so you can play with it yourself to look at the trends, but also a site that collects together the insights from the data and ideas about actions that you can take back at your organizations. And thank you very much for your time.