Cactus Foundation Mental Health Survey

Joy and Stress Triggers

A global survey on mental health among researchers

What's working and what isn't about the existing research culture? How can we create a more nurturing environment for researchers to thrive?

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7.8 researchers in a world of 7.7 billion

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3 of 4 faculty positions have no job security

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1 in 8 grant applications gets accepted

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Researchers are 6 times more likely to experience anxiety and depression

Participate in the first ever large-scale global survey of researchers for answers

Why This Survey Is Important

Having worked closely with more than half a million researchers over 17+ years, we deeply understand the challenges they face in their personal and professional lives. We believe that this survey will bring the cause of mental health in academia into a global focus and push universities and research institutions worldwide to work towards addressing this problem and creating a more positive research culture.

Clarinda Cerejo

VP, Content & Community, Editage; Editor-in-Chief, Editage Insights; Cactus Communications

Why You Should Participate

If you are
a university / research group
  • Make a visible commitment to the wellbeing of researchers
  • Contribute to a global discussion that can improve the research environment
  • Get early, customized access to survey findings and trends
If you are
a researcher
  • Actively contribute real-value inputs for improving your work environment
  • Gain productive insights on managing the highs and lows at work

The People Behind This Initiative

Core Team

Advisors & Collaborators

We have collaborated with active researchers who are also mental health advocates.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, this is not meant to be a rigorous scientific study, nor is it a systematic or psychological investigation of the mental health status of researchers. We expect this survey to offer the largest ever collection of global researcher opinions on factors that motivate and excite them versus those that cause them stress in their work environments. The survey findings will be released as reports or articles (gray literature) and will serve to inform universities and policy-makers about the overall research culture and mental and physical well-being of researchers.

Yes. We have conducted global researcher surveys in the past. In 2018, we published a report (non-academic) based on a global survey we had conducted on author perspectives on academic publishing. This was one of the largest and most demographically diverse surveys of its kind, and the report reached many relevant individuals such as publishers and other stakeholders in academic publishing. It generated a lot of interest and relevant discussions around the survey topics in different online forums as well as international conferences, such as the Frankfurt Book Fair and the annual conference of the Society for Scholarly Publishing. It was also featured in a Nature news blog. Other follow-up reports/articles that took a deep dive into the results were also widely read (the topics included geographic trends in attitudes to open access, changes researchers want in academic publishing, training needs of early career researchers, a case for universal and simplified journal systems, and perceptions of peer review among authors from emerging research countries).

Before that, we had conducted a global survey on the challenges faced by non-native English-speaking authors in getting their work published in English, as well as the perspectives of international journal editors on these challenges. In this case, the results were published in the journal Learned Publishing.

We DO NOT require you to share any personal/identifying information with us. As mentioned earlier, you have the option of sharing your name/e-mail address only if you are comfortable being approached by us for clarifications or additional inputs. If you agree to share these details, they will be treated as strictly confidential. The only people who will have access to such identifying information are members of the team involved in this project. We will never share, distribute, or sell your information to any third parties, including those who may be involved in this project as analysts or collaborators. The data we may share with any such third parties will be deidentified.

When we release the findings based on our analysis in any form, we might quote a selection of open-ended comments from survey participants. This will always be done anonymously and in deidentified form (i.e., after removing any potentially identifying information, such as department and organizational affiliation, which respondents may have mentioned of their own accord).

The survey data will be analyzed to identify broad overall themes and demographic patterns. As mentioned above, we do not intend this to be an academic/systematic study, but our core team may seek analytics support from verified third parties if needed (we will share only deidentified data with them in this case).

Only aggregate results will be released/shared through non-academic publications, presentations, etc. We may share customized reports with participating organizations. These reports will contain only aggregate results obtained for specific topics, and not individual data. As mentioned above, we will share any quotes in deidentified form only.

No personal data that respondents may have provided of their own accord in the survey (e.g., contact details) will be used for purposes other than initiating communication/engagement related to this survey.

Raw data will be stored indefinitely in secure servers, should we ever need to perform a follow-up or further analysis.

Cactus Communications is the world's largest provider of scholarly communication services to researchers. We operate through a multitude of service and product brands:

  • Editage is a leading consumer technology content business that provides editorial, translation, and digital solutions.

  • Editage Insights is a community platform for researchers to exchange ideas, opinions, and stories.

  • PubSure, a game-changing AI powered product, helps researchers increase the chances and speed of getting their papers publication-ready.

  • Impact Science is a full-service amplification partner that helps researchers amplify the impact of their work to a larger stakeholder audience.

  • Kolabtree helps organizations and businesses hire freelance scientists and researchers for a wide range of services.

  • Science Talks is an open dialogue platform for various stakeholders to meet and discuss various topics pertaining to research and academia.

  • blank:a is an online and print magazine that features groundbreaking practices of universities that are challenging the norms of research and higher education.

  • Cactus Life Sciences provides rich strategic and tactical content solutions to stakeholders associated with global pharma and device making.

Further, on the basis of our experience helping authors prepare their manuscripts for publication in English-language journals, we have authored three books offering practical advice to researchers on academic writing.

  1. "100 Common Mistakes in Research Manuscript Preparation: Practical Advice from an English Editing Company." Published in Japanese in February 2016 by The Japan Times.
  2. "Common Mistakes in Research Writing across Subject Areas: Advanced Advice from an English Editing Company." Published in Japanese in April 2017 by The Japan Times.
  3. "100 Common Mistakes in Research Manuscript Preparation." A Chinese adaptation of our first book, published in October 2019 by The Tsinghua University Press.

As a global scholarly communications company, we have interacted with over half a million researchers over 17 years and are familiar with many of the typical issues they face as researchers. Moreover, through our author-engagement initiatives, we have had several researchers share with us personal stories of their accomplishments, the challenges they have faced, and their motivators and sources of inspiration. Our questionnaire was designed based on a combination of literature review, anecdotal evidence gathered from our interactions with researchers, and the typical components of workplace happiness surveys. The questionnaire was shared with several researchers for feedback before the survey was launched.

First, this is not a psychological study, so we DO NOT ask questions related to your personal clinical/medical conditions, nor do we ask questions whose responses can be used to gauge any clinical conditions.

Second, we do not ask you to identify your department/organization with which you are affiliated. You have the option of sharing your name/e-mail address only if you are comfortable with us approaching you for follow-up questions.

Apart from general demographic questions, we ask close-ended and free-text questions about your perspectives/feelings about your work, career, and your work environment.

Your participation in this survey is completely voluntary, and you are completely free to discontinue at any point. We have included "prefer not to say" and "N/A" options for sensitive questions.

We are conducting this survey because we are strongly committed to researcher well-being and we believe that, as a large global organization serving researchers worldwide, we may have access to a far greater and demographically diverse researcher base than many organizations. We believe that our results can therefore offer highly relevant and useful insights into global patterns in research culture and researcher well-being for all stakeholders in academia committed to improving the work environment of researchers.

The primary outcome will be a series of reports based on the overall findings of the survey. We aim to publish one main report that covers all the important findings and may publish follow-up reports/articles later, which take a deep dive into specific topics. We also intend to discuss our broad findings in conferences and other platforms with different segments associated with academia to which the results will be relevant.

Since we intend to get universities and research organizations on board as collaborators, we hope to use the survey findings to help these participating organizations determine actions and next steps that they can take to initiate improvements in research environment.

You can write to the core team at

About Cactus Foundation

Cactus Foundation is an initiative by Cactus Communications aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and it aims to help researchers grow and create global impact through their research.

It was established to build a more just, equal, and inclusive society by providing grants, business support, education, and other initiatives to the global research community as well as to aspiring next-generation researchers.

Our aim is to contribute to improvements in the quality of life and the greater prosperity of human society. Our commitment to society compels us to create meaningful change that is not only based on appearances but on enabling real impact to solve society's problems.