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March 18, 2015

Wiley Survey Offers New Insights to Aid Academic Associations

Hoboken, NEW JERSEY- March 18, 2015 — Results from a survey of researchers and research-based professionals by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.— the world’s largest society publisher with more than 900 society partnerships — reveal the most valued benefits offered to members by scholarly societies.

When asked which aspect of society membership appeals most, 27% of respondents indicate that access to a peer-reviewed journal publishing scholarly research is most appealing. Another 26% of respondents said that continuing education and training opportunities are most valued. Many respondents indicated they joined an academic association due to the quality of research content, prestige of the organization and networking opportunities.

But why don’t members join and why do they leave a membership organization? And, how do societies and associations add value?

Roughly 26% of the survey participants were not affiliated with a society during the 12-month period prior to taking the survey. Of those in the non-member group, 24% thought the cost was too high, 15% noted they had never been invited to join, while 12% indicated it never occurred to them to join a society. Another 12% did not know what associations were available in their field. This opens up a real opportunity for society marketing and communication of mission, values and benefits.

“The survey was inspiring. I am encouraged by Wiley’s work to support societies and this survey goes a long way to helping me find solutions to our challenges,” says Diane Cushman, Executive Director, National Council on Family Relations and a member of Wiley’s Society Advisory Board.

Philip Carpenter, Wiley’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Research Communications adds, “Understanding our communities and the challenges they face is crucial to Wiley. We will continue to survey researchers and professionals each year to further understand what is important to them and use that knowledge to develop strategic services for our society partners.”

In 2014 Wiley invited 1.2 million professionals in fields that include medicine, healthcare, engineering, life sciences, social and behavioral sciences and humanities to take part in the survey. A total of 13,929 individuals completed the survey that aimed to:

  • Understand      the role academic associations play in helping researchers advance their      disciplines;
  • Identify      unmet informational and educational needs of professionals and      researchers;
  • Determine      ways for societies to increase their value and relevance.

Of the respondents, 69% were members of a society or association during the prior 12 months. Respondents represented four generations (Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials), 173 countries, and a wide array of professional settings. On average respondents are 45 years of age, with 23% living in the U.S., 16% working in medicine, 37% completing a Ph.D., and 35% having more than 20 years of work experience. The majority of those surveyed are professionals in the fields of science, technology, engineering, medicine, the social sciences, and the humanities.

“Our mission is to support scholarly societies as they work to advance research, learning, and practice in their respective disciplines,” Carpenter said. “The Wiley Membership Survey was designed to gain a deeper understanding of the needs of the communities of individuals that are members of scholarly and professional societies so that we, as an organization, can continue to provide the best possible support to our membership-based partners.”

Media wishing to receive a copy of the white paper may contact <ahref="mailto:sciencenewsroom@wiley.com">sciencenewsroom@wiley.com.