MPR Readership Report


  • We report on readership and satisfaction with MPR
  • Survey respondents’ satisfaction rates were high, with 67% indicating they were either satisfied or very satisfied and only 10% indicating a level of dissatisfaction.
  • Since 2012 there have been 157,000 digital downloads from users in 191 countries.
  • In response to comments from the readership survey, MPR plans to create a flipbook electronic version in addition to the Digital Commons version and to email abstracts of current articles to interested subscribers.

Distribution of Maine Policy Review

readership categories
Figure 1: Percentage of MPR readers by subscriber category.

Maine Policy Review (MPR) is distributed to more than 2,400 people or organizations in print format, with more than 91% mailed within Maine. MPR is also distributed on-line via UMaine Digital Commons. MPR mail subscribers fall into ten basic categories based on their organizational or employment affiliation.

  • State and federal officials
  • Private-sector people or organizations
  • Public school officials
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Local elected/board officials
  • Higher education
  • Municipal administrators
  • State legislators
  • Libraries
  • No title or organizational affiliation

Results of Reader Survey

In July 2016, MPR conducted a reader’s survey by sending surveys and return envelopes to more than 2,100 print subscribers. (We did not send surveys to libraries.) Approximately 15% of the surveys were returned, and survey response rate within each subscriber category mirrored the percentage of that category in the overall MPR readership. While this response rate is lower that desired, it is not unexpected because a large number of our subscribers are organizations and institutions that do not have a particular individual who receives the issue.

response rates
Figure 2: Survey response rates compared to overall subscriber categories.

From the survey, we learned that approximately 85% of respondents read most or some of each issue, 7% read it cover to cover, and 8% don’t read it at all.

reading rate
Figure 3: Response to “How much of MPR do you read?”

Readers’ satisfaction rates were high, with 67% of respondents indicating they were either satisfied or very satisfied with MPR, and only about 10% indicating a level of dissatisfaction.

satisfaction rate
Figure 4: Response to “Overall, how satisfied are you with Maine Policy Review?”

In open-ended questions, we asked readers what they liked most and what they liked least about MPR and grouped their responses into several broad categories.­

like best about MPR
Figure 5: Response to “What do you like most about Maine Policy Review?”
like least
Figure 6: Response to “What do you like least about Maine Policy Review?”

Some readers took the time to provide suggestions for improving MPR; we grouped the suggestions into the following categories:

  • Shorter articles, more abbreviated versions, other formats
  • Fewer articles
  • More graphics, more visual appeal
  • Wider range of authors/topics
  • Modernize distribution, more digital options and other outlets, executive summaries
  • Frequency – more
  • Content recommendations (various)

Other findings from the survey include that approximately 74% of readers would either always or sometimes read MPR articles if they were only available online. If MPR had to charge for subscriptions, only 18% of respondents would be willing to pay $30/year for the hard copy; 47% would not be willing to pay, and 35% were unsure if they would be willing to pay. Although 34% of respondents were not willing to make an annual donation to keep MPR free, 27% would be willing and 39% were unsure.

MPR on Digital Commons

Since Maine Policy Review became available through the University of Maine’s Digital Commons in October 2012, there have been more than 157,000 downloads from users in 191 countries. The top ten countries accessing MPR articles are

  • United States
  • France
  • China
  • India
  • Philippines
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Russian Federation
  • Australia

MPR articles have been downloaded by users from more than 5,000 different institutions, including commercial (e.g., Boeing Company, Reuters, Inc., Melon Bank), educational (e.g., University of Maine System, U.S. Department of Education, California State University Office of the Chancellor), and government institutions (e.g., State of Maine, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Transportation), along with libraries and nonprofit organizations.

The top ten most-downloaded MPR articles from Digital Commons

Title # Downloads
Gun Control: State Versus Federal Regulation of Firearms 26400
Public Access to Privately Owned Land in Maine 4720
Are Libraries Necessary? Are Libraries Obsolete? 3138
Top 10 Health Issues Faced by Maine People 2421
Margaret Chase Smith Essay: The Right of Independent Thought 1921
Tourism Strategy for the Maine Woods: A Big Push to World Class 1680
Using Public Engagement to Inform the Future of Health Care in Maine: Talking About “Tough Choices” 1253
Libraries in the Community: Changing Opportunities 1184
Economic Contribution of Maine’s Food Industry 1160
Why the Humanities Are Necessary to Public Policy, and How 1133

Future Plans

Based on responses to our readership survey, MPR has begun updating its website and is working on other changes. We will be creating an e-book or flipbook format for MPR, so the journal can be more easily read on a cellphone using an app. Additionally since many readers wanted shorter articles or synopses, we will include abstracts at the start of each article and begin emailing article titles and abstracts to interested subscribers.

We will also start encouraging authors to submit audio or video recordings and expanded data tables, which we can add to our Digital Commons site.