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Results of the survey directed to people who registered to the CIST scientific areas (2017)

The CIST wants to thank all those who accepted to dedicate some of their time to respond to its survey!

Survey context: transforming from a Scientific Interest Group to a Research Federation

This document synthesises the survey realised by the CIST from the 12th of January to the 17th of March 2017 among people who registered to one or more of the CIST’s 9 scientific areas (1), at the time the CIST changed statutes from Scientific Interest Group (GIS, since 2010) to Research Federation (FR, as of 1st January 2017). This survey aimed at better know the members of the CIST and their expectations, and was divided in three parts: the first concerning the respondents’ contribution within the CIST, the second his/her position towards territorial sciences, the third his/her professional occupation. After an invitation to contribute, there had been a number of reminders until the beginning of March.
Out of the 813 sent invitations, 418 people responded, among which 354 fully, representing 43,5%.
(1) The subscription to the CIST’s areas of research does not imply any commitment to their activities; it corresponds to an expression of interest through an online subscription form.

Profile of CIST members

Respondents largely define themselves as university researcher, employed in a university, within a research unit member of the CIST, feeling close to social sciences, declaring geography as their working discipline and wanting to interact with sociology.

Mostly university researchers

The majority of respondents declare a statute of university researcher (158); globally, higher education and research represents over 3/4 of the answers (grouping together the following categories: university researcher, researcher, postdoc and PhD).

How would you define yourself?
(one answer)

The French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) as main employer together with numerous universities

For those who did precise this, universities are globally the main employer (192, among which 145 in France); separately, the main employer is the CNRS and pretty logically universities that are already CIST partners (left-hand group on the graph, which underlines the main employers).

What is your employing institution?
(one answer within the list of CIST partners + free field for “other”)

The main research units in the CIST

CIST research units concern less than half the respondents (44,8%). They are rather logically the biggest units and/or the ones situated in Ile-de-France (left group in the graph, which only presents the main units: LADYSS, Géographie-cités, CITERES, IDEES, PRODIG).
For those who specified the entity when selecting “other”, we can find research units that are currently in the process of becoming CIST members (especially AE&CC and ESO).

What unit do you work in?
(one answer within the list of CIST partners + free field for “other”)
Distribution of the 158 respondents who are members of CIST units

The predominance of social sciences

Out of the 4 fields defined in the Debate paper (Territory as a legible result of complex processes and a resource for action) produced at the time of the 1st CIST international conference in 2011, respondents mainly feel closer to social sciences (291).

Territorial sciences lie at the crossroads of several fields of research.
Which of these four fields do you feel closer to? (one answer)

Social sciences disciplines account for the majority of answers about the respondents’ working discipline (72,6%) and the disciplines they want to interact with (63,3%).

And, from a disciplinary point of view, could you specify:
– on the one side, what are your working disciplines (3 at most)
– on the other, what disciplines would you like to interact with (3 at most)
Disciplines and interactions

Multidisciplinarity remains very relative in the CIST, which is largely dominated by
– geography (266 answers, either as working discipline [199] or a discipline with which to interact [67]),
– urban planning & development (171/103-68),
– sociology (151/64-87),
– environmental sciences (129/62-67).
Apart from the last one, interactions with the other three scientific fields are still stuttering. Among the 10 most cited disciplines (working discipline + interaction): Public health & epidemiology (82 citations), Ecology & environment (70) and Statistics (69).

Implication in CIST activities

Given that the subscription rather shows an interest than a real commitment in the life of CIST scientific areas, it is no surprise that only 54,2% of respondents declare their implication in CIST activities, mostly in events organised by within its scientific areas (71,4%) and in its international conferences and internal seminars (61,5%).

Have you ever participated in CIST activities?
If so, what activities? (multiple answers possible)

The limited involvement in the 10 research projects (past or in progress) of the CIST (11 respondents at most concerned by one project) can be explained by this type of actions which is not so open.

Number of participation in international conferences and/or internal seminars

Among those who declare having participated in international conferences and internal seminars, most actually participated in a unique event, 24% in 3 or more.

Getting involved in the CIST

In the 4 suggested priorities, the respondents mostly chose “Analysing” and “Theorising”.

What CIST priorities interest you most?
(2 answers at most)
As part of these four priorities, what types of activities would you like to contribute to?
(multiple answers possible)

Most respondents are interested in two activities.

And also in more occasional activities, requiring less commitment time-wise.
It is worth mentioning that 268 respondents declare they are willing to participate in CIST next international conference -Representing territories- which will take place in Rouen (France) on 22&23 March 2018.
[Call for papers open until 14 September 2017]

What CIST scientific areas interest you most?
(up to 3 answers)

The two main selected areas are Mobilities, identities and territories (46,3%) and Actions and territorializations (42,4%).

Is the CIST international dimension important for you? If so, what countries or regions would you be interested in?
(open field)

85% of respondents value CIST international dimension… in a very European-centered way !

53 suggestions of other scientific areas!

15% of respondents suggested the creation of new scientific areas (half of them being inactive in the CIST). It proves rather impossible to draw any conclusions since the suggestions are more individual projects than formulated in the scientific interest of the CIST federation.

In short…

This survey underlines the existence of weak links between the CIST and people who subscribed to its scientific areas, who are mostly scattered outside of the perimeter of its scientific units and in the end only lightly involved in its activities.
Open fields enabled to contribute to the missions assigned to the members of the CIST management committee (interdisciplinarity, international, stakeholders), which should sharpen in the coming months.
At last, within a stuttering interdisciplinarity (geography-urban planning), it nevertheless underlines promising perspectives as to the respondents’ commitment both on the types of actions and scientific areas, and on the fields of research.