Data Paper Zone II Versions EN1 Vol 4 (2) 2019
Survey and analysis of scientists' training needs
: 2019 - 03 - 13
: 2019 - 03 - 13
: 2019 - 06 - 19
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Abstract & Keywords
Abstract: With the shortening of knowledge updating cycle, lifelong learning becomes necessary. As a group of scientists and technicians who pursue the discovery of scientific knowledge, their continuing education has its particularity. At present, there are more studies on continuing education in medicine and engineering at home and abroad, but less on other science researchers. In order to understand the needs of science workers in terms of continuing education and its effective training modes, an online survey was conducted from April to June 2014 to investigate their training needs, focusing on the methods, contents, approaches and other assistance they expected from training. 872 pieces of data were collected, of which 7 were duplicated and 865 were valid. The survey results show that the most needed contents include frontier professional knowledge, team management theory, research projects and fund management knowledge, while the most recognized training methods include learning through work, academic seminars, visits and so on. People with different professional titles have different tendencies. The dataset enables us to analyze the training content and mode needed by scientists in different positions and of varied titles.
Keywords: lifelong learning; scientist; survey and statistics; training mode
Dataset Profile
English titleSurvey and analysis of scientists’ training needs (2014)
Corresponding authorZhao Yixia (
Data author(s)Zhao Yixia, Jin Kun
Time range2014
Survy scopeScientific Research Staff of 116 Institutions of Chinese Academy of Sciences
Data volume124 KB, 865 entries
Data format*.xlsx
Data service system
Source(s) of fundingE-learning System Project of the 12th Five-Year Informatization Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Dataset/Database compositionThe dataset consists of 2 parts of data: Survey questions for scientists’ training needs and valid sample data. The The former is composed of 8 questions, while the latter includes 865 samples, each with 9 fields, including 4 fields for basic information.
1.   Introduction
A study carried out by UNESCO shows that with the development of science and technology, people's knowledge updating cycle is getting shorter and shorter. In the 18th century, the cycle of knowledge renewal was 80-90 years. In the 1920s, the knowledge renewal cycle was 30 years. From 1980s to 1990s, the knowledge renewal cycle was shortened to five years. After entering the 21st century, the knowledge renewal cycle of many disciplines has been shortened to 2-3 years. Paul Lengrand, a French adult educator, formally submitted the "Proposal on Lifelong Education" to the UNESCO Conference in 1965[1]. Lifelong learning becomes a necessity. Science and technology are the first productive forces.,especially in the knowledge-based economy society. Talents are the most important factor in scientific and technological innovation. Talents have become the most important strategic resources. We need to strengthen the construction of scientific and technological talents to implement the strategy of strengthening the country with talents. The Outline of the National Medium and Long Term Science and Technology Development Plan (2006-2020) puts forward five plans, including giving full play to the important role of education in the cultivation of innovative talents. "The 13th Five-Year Plan for National Science and Technology Innovation" points out that we should vigorously train and introduce innovative scientific and technological talents, promote scientific classification management of innovative scientific and technological talents, and explore individualized training paths. The state has a more specific plan for the continuing education of professional and technical personnel. Scientific researchers, especially natural science researchers, are the discoverers of knowledge. Their knowledge updating has its particularity. The purpose of helping scientific researchers to update their knowledge is to promote scientific researchers to discover knowledge, and there is less research on the training of scientific researchers at home and abroad. The Chinese Academy of Sciences, as the highest academic institution of natural sciences, the highest scientific and technological advisory body and the comprehensive research and development center of natural sciences and high technology in China, has more than 70,000 scientific researchers. The author is mainly engaged in the continuing education network of the Chinese Academy of Sciences [2]. We carried out a survey on the training needs of the staff of the Institute for scientific and technological workers in order to understand the training content and training mode needs of scientific and technological researchers. Using the results of the survey, personalized training for scientific researchers will be carried out in the follow-up.
2.   Data collection and processing
The data set of this paper is obtained by designing questionnaires, collecting data, cleaning data steps.
2.1   Questionnaire Design
This questionnaire is designed to investigate the training mode and content needs of scientific researchers and research managers. The questionnaire consists of eight questions, one of which is the subjective question and answer. The questionnaire was designed by four experts in the field of continuing education and training.
2.2   Data Acquisition and Cleaning
(1) Define the audience of the questionnaire: The subjects of this questionnaire are employees of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, including researchers and research managers.
(2) Questionnaire issuance: The questionnaire was designed through the online survey tool of the Continuing Education Network of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It was created and published from April to June 2014. The training supervisors of the institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences determine the participants according to the proportion of their senior title, intermediate title and junior title, and send the questionnaire addresses to the audience by e-mail.
(3) Questionnaire recovery: The effective time to complete the online questionnaire is from June 10 to June 25, 2014. A total of 865 valid questionnaires were collected. In order to ensure the quality of the questionnaire, we set four screening conditions when we collected samples. Firstly, through the training directors of the institute, the typical job groups are screened to ensure representativeness. Secondly, only complete questionnaires are collected and filled out. Thirdly, restrict the same computer or mobile phone to submit only one questionnaire to prevent respondents from submitting answers repeatedly. Fourthly, according to the repeated subjective answers and statistics of the duplication of other topics, the duplicate data can be deleted as a basis. We eventually collected 872 questionnaires, of which 7 were completely duplicated, so 865 were valid.
(4) Data cleaning: After completing the data quality inspection, the data set to be published is further collated according to the actual needs. In order to protect the information of the respondents, we filtered out the information of the institutes that are easy to check in. In the original questionnaire, age and length of service is a question. In order to facilitate statistics this question is divided into two questions, namely, age and length of service, for separate statistics in data cleaning in order to understand the sample's age distribution and employment distribution. At the same time, normalized encoding is carried out for each return value to form a complete and standardized data set.
2.3   Demographic Characteristics of Sample Data
The demographic characteristics of 865 valid samples obtained from this questionnaire are as follows (see data sets Q1 to Q3 for details). In terms of age distribution, 72% of the respondents were the backbone of scientific research between 30 and 60 years old. In terms of working years, the largest proportion is from 1 to 5 years, which is 77%, and only 2% is below 1 year. 73% of the respondents were technicians and 27% were managers. In terms of the Title Distribution of scientific research technicians, 44% of respondents with senior titles (vice-senior and above), 34% with intermediate titles and 22% with junior titles (see Table 1 for details).
Table 1   Description of basic demographic characteristics of sample
No.characteristicsSpecific statisticsTotalPercentage
1AgeUnder 30
31~40 years old
41~50 years old
51~60 years old
2Duration of postLess than one year
1~5 years
6~10 years
11~20 years
3CategoryScientific manager
Scientific researchers
4TitleScientific researchers
Intermediate (34%)21525%
Senior (44%)27732%
Scientific manager
Middle-level leadership(52%)12014%
Integrated manager(48%)11213%
3.   Sample description
In the valid sample data set after cleaning, a single sample covers eight questions of the survey content. Age (Q2) and length of service (Q3) are numeric fields, and the rest are character types. Select the first sample as the display, the content is shown in Table 2. The actual meaning of each header encoding is detailed in the "encoding" form of this data set.
Table 2   Sample examples
12014-06-11 10:29:50
Note: The instructions in each column are serial number and submission time.
(Basic information of respondents)
Middle-level leadership370.5
(Qualitative Scale)
Distinguished Youth/Outstanding YouthLearning at WorkAcademic leaveMental health and self-emotion management knowledgeThe training system of my institute is relatively perfect and the training schedule is relatively reasonable. I hope to strengthen management training.
4.   Quality control and assessment
4.1   Quality Control
The quality control of sample recovery mainly includes system limitation and manual intervention. Among them the system is limited to avoid short-term IP duplicate filling relying on the sample recovery conditions conducted by the MOOC platform of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The manual intervention is mainly to check the integrity and repeatability of the recovered samples.
In order to get a more real understanding of the training needs of various types of scientific and technological workers at all levels, questionnaires were distributed to middle-level managers and scientific and technological workers, and the number of questionnaires for scientific and technological personnel was increased. 44% of the respondents had senior title (vice-senior or above), 34% had intermediate title and 22% had junior title among the 865 valid samples collected.
4.2   Quality Assessment
The questions of this questionnaire design are basically qualitative as this questionnaire focuses on the training needs survey for scientific researchers and research managers and focuses on understanding the training content, training mode and training assistance needed by users. In view of the completeness of data filling, the survey data set has a certain degree of credibility and is suitable for further analysis.
4.2.1 Analysis of the Training Contents Most Needed by Scientific and Technological Workers
The most needed training content is frontier knowledge of science and technology, team management theory, scientific research project and fund management knowledge, scientific spirit and social scientific literacy, mental health and self-emotion management knowledge, and others when answering the question of "the training content most needed for the future development of workers". Scientists and technicians can further specify the specific content according to their individual needs When they choose "other" options. A total of 32 scientists and technicians chose "other" options and filled in their subjective needs, focusing on "scientific research methods and technology-related knowledge". Therefore, although only 32 scientists and technicians feedback the needs of "research methods and technology-related knowledge" through "other" options, these subjective needs show a high degree of coincidence, which indicates that the training needs of scientists and technicians for research methods and technology tools are relatively significant (Figure 1).

Figure 1   The training content most needed by scientists and technicians
277 senior scientific researchers, 215 middle-level scientific researchers, 141 junior scientific researchers, 112 integrated management personnel and 120 middle-level management leaders participated in the survey. We have analyzed the training contents most needed by five groups of people, namely, junior professional technicians, junior professional technicians, senior professional technicians, mid-level management and integrated management. Although there is no significant difference, there are still differences in the demand for content among scientists and technicians with different titles and positions.
Primary scientific researchers most need frontier knowledge of science and technology, accounting for 44%, followed by scientific research projects and fund management knowledge, accounting for 24%. Intermediate scientific researchers most need frontier knowledge of science and technology, accounting for 46%; followed by scientific research projects and fund management knowledge, accounting for 18%; followed by team management theory, accounting for 17%. For senior scientific researchers, the same needs are needed for the frontier knowledge of science and technology and team management theory, accounting for 30%, followed by scientific research projects and fund management knowledge, accounting for 20%. For scientific research management posts, the training content required is quite different. The middle-level leaders of management departments need team management theory most, accounting for 57%; scientific research projects and fund management knowledge, accounting for 16%; next is the frontier knowledge of science and technology, accounting for 8%. Integrated management personnel need team management theory most, which is 26%; scientific research projects and fund management knowledge, which accounts for 22%; scientific spirit and social scientific literacy, mental health and self-emotion management knowledge, which account for 18%.
It can be seen that the core needs of scientific researchers are frontier knowledge of science and technology, knowledge of scientific research projects and fund management, and team management theory from the above data. This shows that with the promotion of professional titles researchers pay more and more attention to the theoretical knowledge of team management and the frontier knowledge of science and technology has always been the most important training content. For scientific research managers team management theory is most needed, followed by scientific research project and fund management knowledge. However, there are differences in the needs of integrated management personnel and middle-level management leaders in the frontier knowledge of science and technology. The trend of training content required by researchers and research managers at different levels is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2   Map of Training Contents needed for Scientific Researchers at Different Levels
4.2.2 Analysis of the Most Effective Training Ways
In the question of "the most effective training way", junior scientific researchers think that the first three most effective training ways are working study, centralized off-production training and academic seminars. Intermediate scientific researchers are most accredited to study, visit, academic seminars and seminars in their work. Senior scientific researchers believe that the most effective ways of training are work study, academic seminars and visits. It can be seen that scientific researchers think learning and work are the same and academic seminars and visits mean the need for "communication" through the analysis of the most recognized training approaches for scientific researchers at different levels. For scientific research managers middle-level cadres in management departments are most inclined to study at work and centralized out-of-production training, both accounting for 36% while integrated management personnel are most inclined to centralized out-of-production training, followed by work learning, accounting for 42% and 29% respectively. Compared with scientific research personnel and scientific research management personnel, the most recognized is work-based learning, and there is a strong consistency in training methods, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3   Map of the Most Effective Training Ways needed for Scientific Researchers at Different Levels
4.2.3 Data Analysis of Subjective Questions on Demand
The survey also set a humanitarian topic for scientific researchers at all levels as "According to your current experience and future plans, what help do you want your units to give you in continuing education and training". More information is collected through open-ended question and answer. Most researchers filled in the question more carefully in addition to filling in "none" individually. Through thematic extraction we can see the subjective answers of scientific researchers, focusing mainly on the four aspects of training content, training opportunities, training channels and training funds.
Subjective questions are segmented and extracted, and analyzed according to different roles. The categories of assistance most needed by scientific researchers are shown in Table 3.
Table 3   Training Assistance Most Needed by Scientific Researchers
Academic ResearchBasic theory of scientific research, frontier of science and technology, office software, secrecy, multimedia production, thesis writing, law, industry communication, skill training, interdisciplinary, scientific methods, scientific instruments, scientific research ethics, scientific research tools, scientific research practice, periodical database, artificial intelligence, experimental skills, data processing, literature retrieval Scientific Research Technology, Speech, English Writing, Oral English, Professional Technology
Project LeaderFinance, Communication Skills, Achievement Conversion, Archives Management, Project Management, Project Application, Administration, Funds Management, Budget Management, Scientific Research Management, Team Management, Negotiation, Project Organization, Intellectual Property Rights, Quality Management
Basic post responsibilitiesinnovation, national and academic conditions, economy, scientific responsibility, scientific spirit (scientific masters), social science literacy, scientific thinking, literature, Scientific Research Ethics, career planning
tutorMental Health, Teachers, Student Management, Students'Psychological Quality, Postgraduate Guidance
5.   Value and significance
This data set provides first-hand information to help understand the training needs of scientific researchers and research managers in China, especially in the field of natural sciences. It can be used for further research about continuing education and training of scientists. It is also possible to construct continuing education resources of scientific research institutes and carry out continuing education and training by analyzing the needs of users. EXCEL statistics can be used to summarize the needs of continuing education and training assistance for all kinds of people, such as stratification according to demographic characteristics of samples, acquiring training needs and training modes under the indicators of age, length of scientific research work, professional titles, etc., so as to carry out horizontal comparative analysis.
Thanks to all the experts who contributed wisdom to the development of the questionnaire and the respondents who contributed their opinions in the questionnaire.
Li Gq. Paul Langrang and Lifelong Education Theory -- Also on the Enlightenment of Western Lifelong Education Theory to China's Education Modernization. Journal of Educational Research38(2017):146-150,158.
Zhao Yx, Jin K, Jin Y. Research on the Contents of Continuing Education for Scientific Researchers under the Network Environment --- Taking the Resources of CASMOOC as an example. Journal of E-science Technology & Application9(2018):31-38.
Data citation
Zhao Y & Jin k. Survey and analysis of scientists’ training needs. Science Data Bank, DOI: 10.11922/sciencedb.742 (2019).
Article and author information
How to cite this article
Zhao Y & Jin k. Survey and analysis of scientists’ training needs. China Scientific Data 4(2019). DOI: 10.11922/csdata.2019.0007.zh
Zhao Yixia
Contribution: questionnaire design and data collation.
postgraduate, senior engineer; research area: online education.
Jin Kun
Contribution: questionnaire design and data quality control.
Ph. D., six-level staff; research area: innovative management and continuing education.
E-learning System Project of the 12th Five-Year Informatization Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Publication records
Published: June 19, 2019 ( VersionsEN1
Released: March 13, 2019 ( VersionsZH2
Published: June 19, 2019 ( VersionsZH3