How can I discuss what’s in this survey and report?

We have set up a special community forum for discussions around the survey and the report and we encourage you to take part to make sure that this is the start of a conversation around mental health in academia, and not just the end of the survey. The forum is available at https://rvoice.researcher.life

Is this academic research?

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 (grey literature) and will serve to inform universities and policymakers 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.

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. It included general demographic questions, close-ended and free-text questions about researcher perspectives/feelings about work, career, and work environment. Participation in the survey was completely voluntary, and participants were free to discontinue at any point.

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.

We are considering releasing the full dataset to the community who helped create it at some point in 2021, provided we can anonymize the data sufficiently that no individual can be identified. This may mean aggregating some data over countries/continents so as not to be able to identify e.g. the only gay woman respondent in a particular country. If we can overcome these issues, we are happy to release the data for you to perform your own analyses.

We conducted 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.

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.

  • R Voice is a place for researchers to discuss all aspects of research life, share experiences, seek and offer support, or just hang out. It is a part of the R ecosystem of services.

  • 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.

You can write to the core team at mentalhealthsurvey@cactusglobal.com.