We are excited to announce the publication of the US Faculty Survey 2021. Through this national survey, we have been able to track the changing research, teaching, and publishing practices of faculty members within higher education triennially since early digital transformation at the turn of the century. Against the backdrop of the global pandemic and its numerous impacts on many different facets of higher education, this eighth cycle of the survey illuminates how earlier research and instructional trends fared in light of this disruption. 

This survey cycle, we heard from over 7,500 faculty members in many different disciplines, institution types, ages, and titles across the US. So what did we learn about their practices and preferences in a post-2020 world? Below we share several key findings:

Faculty are according less importance to a journal’s impact factor when deciding where to publish their scholarly research.

Despite this decrease, faculty members continue to emphasize the importance of characteristics that have historically been most highly valued that help contribute towards favorable scholarly incentives, such as a journal’s content area and high readership.

While faculty members continue to view the library’s most important function to be that of buyer of scholarly resources, they consider the library’s role in providing direct support to students as essential.

This includes the library’s provision of access to technology and informal learning spaces. Faculty members continue to endorse the role of the library primarily as a buyer of scholarly resources needed for their research and teaching and generally as a primary support for student learning.

Faculty members continue to be interested in an open access publication model and see their library as key in financially supporting open access infrastructure.

Faculty members want the library’s involvement in financially supporting an open access system and are specifically open to their college or university library investing in open journal platforms and infrastructure to do so.

Very few faculty members believe there are adequate processes in place to protect against research fraud, and there is widespread support for additional efforts to ensure research integrity.

While the majority of respondents do not believe that fraud is growing, they are not sanguine. There is strong support for dataset deposit, disclosure of funding sources, and registering research questions prior to analysis.

The disruptions of recent years have yielded a substantial increase in the use and creation of open educational resources (OER), textbooks, course modules, and video lectures.

Despite increased creation and usage of OER, faculty are less interested in creating and using them for their courses as incentives for integrating OER into instructional approaches have not changed since 2018.

In the aggregate, the importance of the monograph has declined.

The print monograph is decreasing in importance across all disciplines. Among humanists, a growing share compared with 2018 indicated that electronic monographs are important for their teaching and research.

Notwithstanding the disruptions of recent years, faculty members report that attending conferences and workshops remains the most important way they keep up to date with their current field.

With conferences transferring to digital options during the global pandemic, they remain just as relevant to keep up with scholarly information.

Next steps

We invite you to take a closer look at the full report for more detailed findings and important stratifications by key demographic characteristics—including institution type, discipline, and age. Libraries are also able to field the instrument developed for this survey with their own faculty through our local surveys program, and later this summer we will host a webinar on how libraries are using their local findings to shape strategy. In the meantime, we invite you to share  your thoughts, reflections, and questions on this latest cycle of survey findings by submitting your comments below.


We thank Taylor & Francis, ProQuest, Karger Publishers, and Brill for their financial support of the US Faculty Survey 2021.

We thank the following scholarly societies for their support of the US Faculty Survey 2021:

  • American Academy of Religion
  • American Anthropological Association
  • American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
  • American Educational Research Association
  • American Historical Association
  • American Mathematical Society
  • American Musicological Society
  • American Philosophical Association
  • American Physical Society
  • American Society for Engineering Education
  • Archaeological Institute of America
  • Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
  • Geological Society of America
  • Modern Language Association
  • National Association of African American Studies
  • National Council of Teachers of English
  • National Women’s Studies Association
  • Society of Biblical Literature