Do we have any information about user demographics, such as:

(1) Fraction of early-career/mid-career/senior academicians,

(2) Fraction of doctoral students/University professors/scientists at research labs etc.

(3) Broad demographics on research areas (social sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, biological sciences etc.)


(1) and (2) will help users get a better person time of what type of questions to ask, how to word them, and judge how representative these may be.

(3) will help users decide if this is the right place to ask certain questions that may be specific to some fields.

If no such data is available,

is it possible to carry out a voluntary, anonymous poll of members to get these and similar demographics?

  • Please check my edits and roll back if needed. Commented May 10, 2018 at 0:19

1 Answer 1


We have Academia Community Polls which I would describe as a voluntary somewhat anonymous (up votes/ticks are anonymous, but making a new "answer" is not). That poll includes:

Which of the following "roles" describes you best?

What is your gender?

What fields would you consider yourself part of?

There is also a good description of the problems with interpreting polls like these, so I am not sure what value they have other than fun.

  • An issue with that poll is that it cannot be reset. Given that many of the polled data are subject to change with time, it would be helpful to reset them after a few years and redo the poll. Or, at least, it would be helpful to have the possibility to change a comment vote, but probably the powers that be would not be interested in changing this behaviour. Commented May 8, 2018 at 18:30
  • @MassimoOrtolano the role question clearly changes over time, but I am not sure if people really leave fields or just acquire new ones. Obviously people transition gender, but I still think of gender as being relatively static (even a gender fluid individual is statically fluid).
    – StrongBad
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 18:35
  • 1
    There are a few other questions whose answer can change with time, e.g., "Are you currently working in Academia?", "Which countries have academic systems you are familiar with?", "How many publications in peer-reviewed journals have you made in your career?" (this quite probably), "Are/were you happy in your PhD program?" (this is subject to change without notice :-) ), "Did you do a part of PhD studies at another institute?" and also those about the location. Commented May 8, 2018 at 18:39
  • @MassimoOrtolano yes, of course. I was being a little snarky. For the poll questions this question asked about I am not fully sure it is a problem. For other questions it is clearly an issue. That said, I am not sure the poll should be used for anything other than hey look someone said they study underwater basket weaving
    – StrongBad
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 18:41
  • 1
    Yes, indeed. Also because the fraction of participants to the poll with respect to the user base is so tiny that the poll is statistically meaningless. It's just to update the fun from time to time :-) Commented May 8, 2018 at 18:43

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