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What You Think

There is something both unsettling and exciting about having your work rated, especially if you promise to publish the results. So it was with some trepidation that we asked readers to complete an online questionnaire about the content of The Analytical Scientist. You kept your part of the bargain: in all, we received 523 completed surveys, a laudable total, which I estimate to be around 1 percent of the hard-core readership. Without getting into the statistical minefield of sample sizes, it is more than sufficient to provide meaningful information.

Now, we are completing our side of the bargain by presenting the results of the survey in graphical form on pages 10 and 11 of this issue. Here, I shall offer the editorial team’s thoughts on the trends and specific issues that were raised in the free-form section of the survey.

The overall rating of the publication – the combined figure for ‘excellent’ and ‘very good’ of 86 percent – is inspiring to us, and sets a great benchmark for the future.

Readers use The Analytical Scientist to provide a broad, integrative overview of the field (see “Why I read TAS”) so I was especially interested in how the poll ratings for content from inside and outside readers’ areas of expertise would compare. In the latter case, 84 percent feel that the tone and pitch is about right, while the 9 percent who think that it is too complex and 7 percent too simplistic balance each other out. Seventy-seven percent think that coverage within their area of expertise is about right; 19 percent feel that it is too simplistic. Since more in-depth (but less accessible) information is readily available on all aspects of analytical science, we believe that we are striking a good balance between complexity and accessibility. However, we do intend to add more graphical information that will offer agreeable visual summaries for the non-expert, and allow us to delve more deeply into select subjects.

Ratings on individual sections also provided us with food for thought. Features, Solutions and Application Notes were given relatively high ratings and Business and Profession relatively low ratings. This charges us to reimagine the Business section in particular, something that we had already started. You may have read the perceptive article from Marcus Lippold, Head of [iito] Business Intelligence, in last month’s issue; we will have more from Marcus and additional articles of this type in future issues.

To all those of you who participated in the survey, thank you. We welcome further suggestions and feedback; our goal is to provide you with the most useful and engaging magazine possible.

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About the Author
Richard Gallagher

Richard Gallagher is no stranger to quality, style or credibility. With Science, Nature and The Scientist all under his editorial belt, Richard teamed up with two good friends to form Texere Publishing, a new company with a great deal of know-how. Richard's also no stranger to contention: "You've constantly got to have an eye out for an editorial subject that will really stir the pot. We're aiming to be always relevant, but never predictable. About The Analytical Scientist, he says, Our vision is to capture commitment and success in analytical science in very particular way: by telling stories. Getting it right is an enormous, exciting challenge. Like so many professionals in the analytical sciences, we'll be thinking it, dreaming it and living it every day.

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