Survey Methodology

Survey Form: A Web-based survey form was posted at from September 8 to November 29, 2010. Results were collected and collated automatically.

Invitations: E-mail invitations were sent to readers of The Scientist and registrants on The Scientist web site who identified themselves as working in commercial or industrial companies.

Responses: 2,213 useable and qualified responses were received. Responses were rejected if the respondent did not identify him or herself as working in a commercial company, if the respondent’s company was not identified or identifiable, or if the response was a duplicate, based on e-mail address and other criteria.

Analysis: Respondents were asked to assess their working environment according to 43 criteria in 8 different areas by agreeing or disagreeing with a series of positive statements. Answers were scored on a scale of 1–5, with 5 = “Strongly agree”; 1 = “Strongly disagree”; and 3 = “Neither agree...

Identification of Institutions: As far as possible, companies were identified and names were standardized. Companies with multiple locations, including multiple international locations were merged.

Scoring: Scores for each statement were averaged by company.

Factor Analysis: Based on the importance scores given to each factor, we calculated an average importance score for each factor and for each group of factors.

Thresholds: We received responses from 256 companies, of which 44 companies received 5 or more responses. Responses from different locations, including international locations, within the same company were combined.

Company Ranking: In order to calculate the overall rankings of companies, we first weighted each factor based on the average importance score. The overall rankings were based on the average score per company across all factors, weighted as described.

In addition, we ranked companies based on unweighted average scores for the 8 major topics covered by the statements included in the survey. These categories are:

    1. Research Environment
    2. Management
    3. Integrity
    4. Communications
    5. Job Satisfaction
    6. Training and Development
    7. Remuneration and Benefits
    8. Policies and Practices

Results: Results are published in The Scientist, May 2011 issue, and are available on The Scientist Web site at


  • The sample of respondents, while large, was self-selected, which may introduce some bias into the results.
  • The scoring of results is not standardized, and standards may fluctuate between individuals, institutions, and countries.
  • In some cases, small sample responses may have led to bias in the results.
  • No attempt has been made to measure the statistical significance of the results. The difference between, say a 10th-ranked and a 15th-ranked institution may be insignificant.

The survey was developed and responses were analyzed by The Scientist staff.

Click here to view the questions used in this survey.

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