RSA Membership Survey Results

Following the publication of the RSA’s 2015-2020 Development Plan, we conducted a membership survey to find out how you feel about your RSA membership and how we can improve our services to ensure that the Association stays at the forefront of the field as a leading and impactful community.

24% of members provided input and your feedback was very useful, pleasing and most of all encouraging. Following, we provide details on the key findings.

Main reasons for joining the RSA

Why members join the RSA is crucial knowledge for us when developing new services. Top three reasons for joining the RSA according to you are the networking with other professionals which was named as very important or extremely important by 64% of respondents, continuous professional development which was very important or extremely important for 54%, and thirdly accessing the RSA’s publications and journals was very important or extremely important for 49% of respondents. Figure 1 shows the top five reasons for joining the RSA.

Satisfaction Level with the RSA membership

We asked how satisfied members are with their RSA membership and 60% of respondents stated that they are very or extremely satisfied. 20% of members stated they are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. Overall, this is a pleasing result and we are spurred on to improve the experience of the less satisfied members. Figure 2 shows reasons named for lower satisfaction levels.

RSA Journals

One of the key RSA membership benefits is the access to the five RSA Journals: Regional Studies (12 copies per year), Spatial Economic Analysis (4 issues per year), Territory, Politics, Governance (4 issues per year), the Open Access journal Regional Studies, Regional Science (1 issue per year) and from 2016 Area Development and Policy (3 issues per year).

We were pleased to learn that members do read the journals frequently and find them very important for their work. As shown in Figure 3, the RSA’s flagship journal Regional Studies is read most and by 63 % of respondents who said they read the journal often or all the time. The second most popular RSA journal with members (32 % said they read the journal often or all the time) is the three years old journal Territory, Politics, Governance. This is great news and we are pleased to share with you that the journal has recently been accepted into the Scopus.

The third most read journal amongst our members is our gold Open Access journal Regional Studies, Regional Science. Also still a new journal within the RSA’s suit of journals, RSRS started in 2014 and is now regularly read by 26 % of respondents. Regional Studies, Regional Science has also recently been accepted into Scopus.


As part of the survey, we asked if you find the Members’ Magazine Regions useful and 40 % of respondents rated the magazine as very or extremely useful. Your detailed suggestions on how we can improve the journals are currently reviewed and discussed, so watch this space!

RSA Grant Schemes

During the last two years, the RSA invested heavily in its portfolio of research funding schemes and awarded over £300,000 globally to research in regional studies and science. Within the survey, we asked you which research funding schemes are most beneficial to you. Overall, all RSA research funding schemes were rated of high significance to members. 46% of respondents rated both the Travel Grant and the Conference Bursaries as very or extremely beneficial, 45% rated the Research Network Grant Scheme and 43% the Membership Grant Scheme as very or extremely beneficial.

RSA Conferences and Events

Our diverse and global events’ programme provides latest research, continuing professional development and networking opportunities. All of which aspects our members highly value. As part of the survey, we asked what is preventing you from attending the RSA events.

The top three reasons named were the costs of travel and accommodation which were perceived as very or extremely relevant by 56%. For 46% of respondents the delegate fee was very or extremely relevant as a factor holding them back from attending and for 32% it was the accessibility of the destination.

To address this feedback, we have reviewed our policy to hold major conferences in second or third tier cities and thus next year’s annual conference will be held in Dublin which offers a variety of accommodation at different price levels as well as good and affordable transport links. We also reviewed our conference pricing and made sure that our fees are lower than conference fees of other organisations in the field. 

Stay in touch

For us, the survey was extremely valuable and we wish to thank you taking the time and sharing your feedback and ideas. If you have more ideas you wish to share, then please email Daniela at or call +44(0)1323-899 698