Having finally had a lull over the holidays, I finished processing the
details of the 1459 responses to the Fall 1991 (597 msgs.) and Fall
1992 (862 msgs.) readership surveys (overall totals for the two
surveys were posted previously). Readership was up about 45% between
these two periods!!! The response rate was about 65% (see below and
subsequent messages), so I estimate the readership of
BIONEWS/bionet.announce to be about **1350** as of October 1992 (the
BIONEWS mailing list at this site has since grown an additional 18%
from 10/1 to 12/31).
The U.S. continues to have the largest response to the survey at about
55% in both years. Responses were received from 32 different
countries in '91 and 37 in '92.
Readers using news software instead of e-mail increased slightly from
55.8% in Fall '91 to 58.7% in Fall '92 (thus e-mail distribution
remains a significant part of our system). rn continues to be the
dominant type of newsreading software in use (for better or worse 8-),
but nn gained ground on it over the last year.
Although the totals for both the '91 and '92 surveys had been posted
previously, I had to find a large block of uninterupted time and steel
myself for the task of going in and extracting the newsreader software
info and geographical distribution of readers. The geographical
breakdown was not an explicit question in the 1991 survey, so this had
to be determined from mail headers and our WAIS source for unclear
instances. All of this is finally finished and the results follow in
the next 5 messages. Due to the increasing size of this task, in the
future I am going to require that responses be sent back in a parsable
format, so that I don't have to go through this compilation task
again. I have been hesistant to do so in the past because I have
often found that requests to use a particular format, e.g., in CALL
FOR VOTES, are ignored by too many respondents. However, this is
becoming too big of a time sink to continue to do manually.
I would like to thank all of you who responded. The survey response
rate continues to be very close to 65% based on examining the
BIONEWS/bionet.announce mailing list at net.bio.net and determining
what fraction of these people responded. Compared to typical surface
mail survey response rates, this is phenomenal!!
Prior to 1991, the survey was run very informally (basically whenever
I had to report some numbers to NIH or write a grant proposal 8-), and
comparisons with older data are complicated by possible seasonal
factors. Because I need to report these results regularly to NSF now
as part of the BIOSCI grant, the survey will be standardized and run
each October from the 1st through the 31st on BIONEWS/bionet.announce.
Happy New Year, everyone, and I would like to thank all of the survey
respondents for their many kind words about the BIOSCI network which
were included in their responses.
kristoff at net.bio.net