Best Places to Work for Postdocs 2007

Best Places to Work for Postdocs 2007 Methodology Related Articles Top 40 North American institutions Iowa surges again Industry postdocs make the grade Assessing the postdoc experience Most important factors Least important factors UBC is Canada's front-runner Top 15 North American institutions Interactive map of results M.D. Anderson tops 2007 list Survey methodologySurvey Form: A web-based survey was posted on The Scientist web site from January Februar

Ted Agres
Feb 28, 2007

Best Places to Work for Postdocs 2007 Methodology

Survey Form: A web-based survey was posted on The Scientist web site from January February 8 to March 9, 2007. 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.
The survey was open to scientists in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States

Responses: 760 useable and qualified responses were received. Responses were rejected if they were from non-qualifying countries, 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 45 criteria in 8 different areas by posing positive statements with which the respondent was asked to agree or disagree. Answers were scored on a 1 ? 5 scale with 5 = "Strongly agree", 1 = "Strongly disagree" and 3 = "Neither agree nor disagree". Respondents were also asked to assess the importance to them of each factor on a 0 to 3 scale. Respondents could also mark a factor as "Not relevant" to them.

Identification of Institutions: As far as possible companies were identified and names were standardized. Companies with multiple locations within a country were merged. Because conditions of work vary from country to country, multinational companies with sites in several countries were split up by country and analyzed separately.

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 248 companies, of which 30 companies received 4 or more responses. Responses from different locations within the same company were lumped together.

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 on all factors, weighted as described.

Companies were also ranked based on all factors, unweighted.
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 will be published in The Scientist, May 2007 issue and are available on The Scientist web site.


  • The sample of respondents was self selected, which may introduce some bias into the results.
  • The scoring of results is not standardized and standards may fluctuate between individuals, companies 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 5th ranked and 10th ranked company may be statistically insignificant.

The survey was developed and responses were analyzed by AMG Science Publishing (