IMS President introduces Membership Survey

Regina Liu, the current IMS President, wanted to find out more about who IMS members are, what you want, and how the IMS can better serve you. She writes a preamble to the IMS 2021 Membership Survey Report below:

The IMS recently conducted a survey to assess how effective it is in representing our profession, and how it can better serve its members. We are grateful that more than 1800 members have responded to the survey, many with heartfelt comments. We thank those who have responded, and we would like all members to know that their input is always welcome and valued, even without the survey.

The survey has collected useful information in providing a broad vision for the IMS to move forward. The survey data has been thoroughly analyzed and thoughtfully summarized in the report prepared by Junhui Cai, Nicole Pashley and Linda Zhao, on pages 6–9 of the August 2021 Bulletin, here.

In the report, two action items stand out:

  1. Broader Future Directions: there is a clear wish from the respondents to see the IMS respond to the unprecedented expansion of our profession to grow in the directions of machine learning and data science, broadly defined.
  2. Membership Base Expansion: the data indicate the need for the IMS to strengthen its membership drive effort, to:
    (i) retain its student members after graduation and encourage them to participate in the IMS New Researcher Group (NRG),
    (ii) recruit more members from emerging areas of data science, underrepresented groups and from regions outside of North America.

It is gratifying to see that many have expressed their willingness to volunteer for IMS service. The IMS needs you and would love to know who you are! Please contact Elyse Gustafson ( or me ( We welcome your participation in IMS activities.

There is an oversight that I must apologize for. I had announced at the beginning of the survey that the first 25 respondents would receive a free one-year membership. As it turns out, our survey design was so thorough in protecting data privacy that it would not allow us to identify the respondents at all. I would like to apologize to those first 25 respondents, and, instead, set aside these 25 free memberships in the IMS gift account for those who are in need of such support. Please contact Elyse Gustafson, at, if you would like to be considered for this gift membership.

This survey would not have been possible without the time and effort of many volunteers. In particular, I would like to thank Jean Opsomer, Nicole Pashley and Nicole Lazar for their meticulous efforts in designing the survey, Elyse Gustafson for her gentle yet persistent nudging to encourage responses, and Junhui Cai, Nicole Pashley and Linda Zhao for their excellent survey report, presented here.

Regina Liu, IMS President 2020–2021

Read the summary report.