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Lithography rules

Miss Lili Reynolds enjoys her monthly read. Photo: Nik Reynolds.The reader survey reveals strong reader preference for print, says Ted Nield

Geoscientist Online 19.7 July 2009

It is six years since we last conducted a survey of our faithful readers, and much has changed at Geoscientist since then. The magazine has gone all-colour; we print on higher quality paper; we have put on pages and, most important of all, we have gone on-line. We think we have got better – but it was time to ask your opinion. We were so overwhelmed by your response that (for the purposes of this editorial only) I shall relax our rule about never beginning sentences with figures.

We received 234 responses, 96.6% from Fellows, and roughly two thirds were submitted online. 95.3% agreed (41% strongly) with the statement that you “look forward to receiving Geoscientist” - an increase of 20 percentage points on 2003. 82% agreed (24% strongly) that Geoscientist was “one of the main benefits of Fellowship”. So far, so good. Now for the really good news.

99.5% agreed (39% strongly) that Geoscientist copy was “well written” - an increase of just over 15 percentage points on 2003, and 92.3% agreed (35% strongly) that the copy was pitched at the right level. Moreover, in a pleasing tribute to the late Carol Liddle, whose design template this is, 92.7% agreed (32% strongly) that the magazine was attractive – up 20% over 2003.

You delivered a clear message that “online only” was not an option, with 88% of you agreeing (53% strongly) that you would “miss receiving a paper copy”. Although 34% of respondents admitted to looking at the online version, which was very pleasing, only 2.5% of respondents only looked at the online version, while 66% of respondents only read the print version.

An overwhelming 92% of you said you preferred to read Geoscientist in print, and 78% said they would not read Geoscientist (or would read it less often) if it were only online. Conversely, 8% of respondents said you would not read the magazine (or would read it less often) if it were only in print. As a broad-minded readership, 92.7% said that the magazine should, nevertheless, be available both in print and online. A larger than expected percentage - 46% - said you would sign up for email alerts, while 64% said that Geoscientist should be added to the Lyell Collection.

Of course, the survey consisted of more than bouquets – there was for example a strong view that there should be a presumption against text-over-images, especially reversed-out text, which many find hard to read. (I would however be failing in my duty as Editor if I did not point out that if you do experience difficulty in this area, you can now consult the online version – which is fully accessible to the visually impaired.) We shall of course take that on board along with many of your other detailed (and often trenchant and amusing) comments, which will be of great help in our drive to fit the magazine ever more closely to your needs. The prize draw winners are listed in this month’s People section.

Finally, I and the Editorial Board thank you for your time and evident enthusiasm for Geoscientist. We shall, as many of you urged, “keep up the good work” - for which your positive feedback has only sharpened our appetite.

  • The winners of the Geoscientist Survey prize draw were Marie Jones, Louisa Pettit and Aaron Wilkins.