We surveyed 340 readers to find out if they are members of professional scientific societies, and why they join.
A majority of readers, 82.4%, belong to at least one society, and a remarkable 21.4% belong to four or more societies. Important reasons that a majority of scientists join professional societies include: participation in meetings and conferences (67.4%), association with fellow scientists (65.6%), and subscriptions to research journals (60.1%).
The 17.6% who are not members of any society gave a very wide variety of reasons--cost and irrelevance being mentioned most frequently. Society membership secretaries take note: A number of readers answered that they had no good reason for not being members of a society and planned to join up soon!