An open letter to ICM Research

June 2, 2010 at 12:48 pm 2 comments

| Gabriel |

Dear ICM Research,

I recently started taking your survey on journals and quit when I got to this question:

I didn’t complete the survey because it is premised on the assumption that publishers are highly salient to the survey taker. Distinguishing between publishers might be something that could be articulated by librarians, journal editors, or the publication committees of professional societies, but for most practicing scientists the publisher is a very non-salient distinction and the particular journal is much more significant. Questions like “Would you recommend Blackwell to a colleague” are almost literally meaningless for most scientists. Not only do I not have opinions about whether Blackwell is “customer focused” but I can’t even remember what journals Blackwell publishes or what their journal websites look like from either the reader or peer review side. Any survey asking about such issues needs to have an implicit or explicit “don’t know” option. In general people collecting surveys need to get over the assumption that multiple dimensions about obscure objects are as interesting to the person taking the survey as to the person administering the survey.


Gabriel Rossman
Assistant Professor
Sociology, UCLA

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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  • 1. Vincent  |  June 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Probably not the best screenshot to make your point: there’s a “Don’t know” column in there.

    • 2. gabrielrossman  |  June 2, 2010 at 1:43 pm

      true. it was the previous page (which asked something like “would you recommend) that didn’t have a “don’t know.” this page does have “don’t know” for its stupid questions.

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