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|N° 50 - August 2006|
The first special issue of the magazine was published in 1999. This looked at the 23 Key Actions of the Fifth Framework Programme (1998-2002). In January 2001, another special edition marked ‘European Science Week’. Since then, a whole series have been produced on ‘Marie Curie Actions’ (August 2003), ‘Research and international co-operation’ (July 2005) and, more recently, ‘Science dialogues’ which was distributed at the Communicating European Research Conference in November 2005. RTD info also focuses on subjects that allow science and research to be presented from an unexpected angle, such as ‘Art and science’ (March 2004), ‘Science and memory’ (April 2005) and ‘Polar research’ (May 2005).
Does RTD info have a good press?
Two readership surveys have been carried out to date. The first was a questionnaire enclosed with issue 29 (April 2001) which received 700 replies. Interviews conducted in five EU countries and Poland completed the analysis, carried out by a specialist company. The conclusion is that RTD info is seen as a ‘different’ kind of European publication, both serious and attractive which provides readily understandable information. Most of the questionnaire respondents were aged between 32 and 61 and had a high level of education (41% had a PhD). New subscribers bring down this average, however, with students making up 56% of readers. These also widen the readership to include a less specialised public. The dossiers, portraits, interviews and special issues are all popular.
A second readership survey has just been carried out via the magazine’s website (see RTD info n°49). The 624 first replies received would seem to confirm the findings of the first survey. One-third of the replies came from the scientific world and 15% from students.
Half of these ‘declared’ readers are in the 30-50 age group, 20% are aged between 25 and 30, and 10% under 25. Overall, the questions relating to the quality of the magazine elicited overwhelmingly positive responses. Global estimates range from 20% who view it as very good, 45% as good and 30% as satisfactory. These vary depending on the subject but the positive appraisals always clearly outweigh the negative ones that account for 5% at most. Readers were asked to give their verdict on the subjects covered by the magazine, the quality of the dossiers, the interest of the editorials and the comprehensibility of the texts.
Some 85% of respondents approved of the layout and 75% of the website. Seven out of ten considered that RTDinfo increases their interest in science while more than 80% said that by reading it they learned something new in the field and found information on European research policy and on Europe in general.
The website is the preferred means of access to the content for 45% of respondents, while 30% say they prefer the print version. More than half of respondents find the present frequency to be satisfactory (four issues a year plus some specials). Another question was asked about the title. The name RTDinfo (1) sometimes appears rather cryptic… but this is not the view of 60% of the survey participants.
(1) RTD is the acronym used by the Commission to refer to ‘research and technological development’.
They have said…
I’ve just received my first issue of your publication. I want to express my gratitude to all of you for sending me such a great magazine.
Isaac Fuenmayor (Columbia)
RTD info is a ‘tool’ that really must be developed and that should be found in every family, especially with children. Bernard Linard (Belgium)
I am working at the Open University and have a very strong research interest in science-society relationships and science communication/education. Recently I had a glance at the two special issues of RTD info on Eurobarometer and science dialogue. Well done!
Joachim Allgaier (United Kingdom)
Well produced and with an instructive content it keeps me up to date on scientific activity. Thank you! I particularly like the dossiers.
Jean-Marcel Schorderet (Switzerland)
Your magazine RTD info really is very well done. The pictures and illustrations are superb; the choice of features is excellent. Keep up the good work!
Jean Rossier (France)
RTD info of March 2004 on art and science is particularly interesting. It presents a view of a generally very complex subject in a way that makes one want to look at the world differently.
Barbara Gessler (Germany)
Do not improve the magazine, but improve awareness of it by, for example, sending it to schools across Europe. Children are the future and there are a lot of items that could interest them in the magazine.
Yvonne Muizet (Italy)
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