Member Survey Results 2019

In August-September 2019, SRCD administered a member survey that included several questions about members’ attitudes and opinions about open science practices, the 2021 biennial conference, support for early career members, and inclusivity.  Included are some highlights from the survey that are guiding our next steps as an organization. 

Sample: 770 members responded to the survey (~15% response rate) of whom 113 self-identified as graduate students, 53 as post-doctoral fellows, 25 as retirees, and 5 as undergraduates, with the remaining 400 identifying as professional members in a college/university, research institute, government positions, and a wide range of other employment sectors.   The sample was 76% White/European Descent, with 10.5% identifying as an Asian ethnicity, 7.5% as Latino/a/x or Hispanic, 3.7% as Black/African or Caribbean Descent, and 2.1% as Middle Eastern/North African. 78.3% of respondents were from the U.S. with the remaining 21.7% hailing from all continents across the globe (except Antarctica).

Open Science

A primary focus of the survey was on open science with the goal of assessing our community’s support for open access and other elements of open science, and to identify potential concerns or barriers.  An important goal in crafting these questions was to introduce and explain some concepts to those who were less familiar, even as we were assessing opinions and attitudes about them. We received feedback from some members that the questions were worded in a way that conveyed a lack of receptivity to open science practices, which was not our intention.  SRCD recognizes that the topic is of growing interest and importance to our disciplines, and we are working to advance the field in ways that support and accommodate our members’ interest in open science.

Open Access (OA) articles rely on a publishing model that sets all content free to read (and usually free to re-use without copyright restrictions). For professionally published journals, open access is supported by Article Processing Charges (APCs) that are commonly paid by the author or the author’s institution or country of residence, depending on where the author is based. This contrasts with traditional publication models in which readers pay for access to content via a subscription fee.

  • 33.2% of respondents had published at least one article OA.
  • 74.5% indicated that they would be interested in publishing OA if funds were available.
  • As shown in Figure  1, few respondents were in favor of moving SRCD journals to Full/Gold OA at this time, unless/until there were subsidies to cover the costs of APCs, but member interest is divided with 271 respondents in favor of remaining hybrid (OA optional) and 416 favoring some form of full OA, assuming cost barriers were addressed.  
Bar graph showing which Open Access model SRCD Members would favor for the SRCD journals. 271 SRCD members who responded to the 2019 survey voted in favor of remaining hybrid, and 471 respondents voted either to move to Gold/full Open Access (29 respondents), move to Gold/full Open Access but only if SRCD provides need-based fee reductions/waivers (136 respondents), or move to Gold/full Open Access only if individual researchers don't have to pay the APCs at all (251 respondents).
Figure 1.

Respondents endorsed the following as their top three concerns with moving to full OA:

  • Selectively biases journals towards researchers with more funding resources, so the work published will be less representative of the field (62.9%)
  • Increases demand on child development researchers to obtain or increase funding for their work (50.3%)
  • Seems unethical because people are paying for the privilege of publishing (34.8%)

Registered Reports involve reviewing manuscripts before the data have been collected (“results blind”). The review process can lead to a commitment to accept the manuscript for publication upon completion of data collection, regardless of how the data turn out. The goal is to reduce publication bias and de-incentivize searching for significant findings. N.B. this is distinct from pre-registration which is independent of registered reporting.

  • 53.6% endorsed offering Registered Reports as an option for SRCD’s publications
  • 23.9% favored permitting review of Registered Reports but without “results blind” acceptance to increase rigor
  • There was very little support for either requiring (3%) or banning (6%) registered reports.

Online Forum: SRCD has recently launched SRCD Commons, an online community platform for members to facilitate discussion and document archiving. We asked about topics of interest for this forum and over 90% of respondents indicated interest in at least one listed function. The top 4 functions, each garnering endorsement from at least 45% of respondents included:

  • Reading preprints
  • Accessing teaching materials
  • Translating research to stakeholders
  • Identifying and securing potential collaborators

We will be using these data to help us identify opportunities for growing the SRCD Commons in ways that are most useful to our membership in coming months.

Meeting Formats

We asked respondents to identify which formats they would like to see offered at the next biennial meeting. The 2021 Biennial Meeting Program Committee Co-Chairs have taken this feedback (and survey data from the post-2019 meeting survey) under advisement as they undertake planning for the upcoming meeting scheduled to take place in Minneapolis, April 8-10, 2021. Formats endorsed by more than half of respondents included:

  • Individual Posters
  • Paper Symposia
  • Individual Paper Sessions
  • Professional Development Sessions

Round tables and TADs (short-format Talks About Development) also garnered enthusiasm from many.

Engaging Students and Early Career Scholars

89% of respondents indicated that SRCD is engaging students and early career members “moderately well” or “very well”.  However current graduate students (11.6%) and post-doctoral fellows (15.4%) were more likely to choose “not very well” than more senior members (8.9%).


SRCD has been utilizing two questions focused on inclusivity, assessing how “comfortable and welcomed at SRCD events” and how “valued as an SRCD member” respondents feel.  The findings for this survey (see Figure 2) were largely consistent with patterns on prior surveys:

  1. The majority of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with both statements with a minority neither agreeing nor disagreeing –only 39 of 770 respondents explicitly disagreed
  2. Respondents were more likely to agree with being comfortable and welcomed than with feeling valued as members
  3. Being from an underrepresented group resulted in less agreement than being from the majority with respect to:  institution/employer type, race and ethnicity, gender (although only for cis-gender males), career stage, country of residence, and discipline.
Bar graph showing the sentiment of SRCD members who responded to the 2019 Member survey. 82% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they feel comfortable and welcomed at SRCD event. 15% neither agreed nor disagreed with this statement and 3% disagreed or strongly disagreed with this statement. 63% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they feel they are valued as an SRCD member. 31% neither agreed nor disagreed and 6% disagreed or strongly disagreed with this statement.
Figure 2.

We thank our many members who took the time out of their busy schedules to participate and provide such helpful input.  The Governing Council and staff rely on these survey results to guide refinement of our programming and approach to better address the interests, priorities, and needs of our members. If you have questions or comments, please e-mail