CINF Salary Survey

2007 Survey | 2004 Survey | 2000 Survey | 1994 Survey | 1991 Survey

Every few years, the Division of Chemical Information (CINF) of ACS conducts a survey on salary information specific to scientists working in the information profession. The American Chemical Society (ACS) publishes salary data for chemists (ACS members, see the ACS Salary Comparator), Patent Information User Group (PIUG) publishes salary data for patent specialists, and the Special Library Association (SLA) publishes salary data for librarians and information specialists working in special libraries. To our knowledge, CINF provides the only published survey specific to scientists, especially chemists, in the information profession.

In 1991 CINF conducted its first survey on salary information. Additional surveys were conducted in 1994, 2000, 2004, and 2007.

2007 Salary Survey (top)

The 2007 Salary Survey is available as a pdf document.


2004 Salary Survey (top)

An overview of the 2004 Salary Survey is available as a pdf document. (Originally published in the Chemical Information Bulletin vol. 57, No. 2, Fall 2005, pp. 9-12.). Specific results are available below:


2000 Salary Survey (top)

Over 2300 surveys were sent to members of CINF, PIUG, and ACRL/STS. With over 400 responses (~17% return) interesting statistical evaluation will be possible. Comparisons with data collections in 1991 and 1994 should allow comparison of salaries over time. A summary of data will be sent to survey respondents who have requested it, PIUG, and ACRL/STS, as well as being presented in various CINF publications.

Detailed results:

According to the August 14, 2000 C&E News the median salary for chemists in 2000 is $70,000. Science information professionals reported, in the CINF 2000 Salary Survey, a median salary of $60,300. This seems to indicate that science information professionals earn considerably less than other chemists. In reality, science information professionals who work in industrial or commercial settings earn a similar amount, as other chemists in the same setting ($72,500 vs. $74,500). The big discrepancy in salaries is in the academic sector where science information professional earn 20% less than other chemists ($46,000 vs. $58,000). However, in the 1991 Survey, research into respondents’ degrees showed that only 7% of science information professionals working in academia had doctorates. According to the ACS 2000 survey academic chemists with a Ph.D. earn 25% more than those with a M.S. and 34% more than those with a B.S. This leads to the conclusion that science information professional who works in academia earn equivalent salaries to academic chemists when educational achievements are considered. This supposition will be further explored as the CINF 2000 Salary Survey analysis is completed.

Other interesting facts from early analysis of the CINF 2000 Salary Survey:

Location, Location, Location:

  • Most industrial or commercial information professionals work in CA (9%), NJ (15%), OH (9.6%), and PA (9.6).
  • Academic information professionals are more spread out with the highest concentrations in CA (10%) and NY (11.6%)
  • Science information professionals who work in other types of organizations (consulting, not for profit, and governmental) are concentrated in OH (43.6%) and MD (12.7%)

Salaries vary with state:

  • Science information professionals in DC earn the highest salary.
  • CA has the second highest total number of employees, however the average salary for all workers there is 6th on the list below MN and WI. That appears to be in part caused by the high number of academic employees. When only industrial employees are considered CA has the 4th highest average salary (CA=$87,000 vs. average=$73,400).
  • The neighboring states of PA and NJ have a considerable salary inequity – employers in PA pay 25% less than NJ employers. (When limited to industrial and commercial employers there is still a difference of 22.5%)
  • The lowest average salaries were reported from workers in AL, WY, and ME. All are academic employees.

Day to day work:

  • Because PIUG members were asked to participate in this survey, the individual function included a category for patent work. Over 10% of respondents indicated they worked with patents. However, the group function “Legal and/or Patent Information Services” received 10% in the 1994 Survey and only 5.4% in the 2000 Survey. This discrepancy will be explored as results are further analyzed
  • At first glance it appears that information professionals that work with patents earn approximately $10,000 (13.8%) a year more than average. Further analysis show that no academic employees work with patents. Industrial information professionals who indicated that at least one of their primary functions was to work with patents earn close to the average for industrial employees. (Ave=$74,400)
  • The higher paying positions in industry include “Computer Research and Support”, “Information Analysis”, and “Writing, Editing”. These pay approximately 14% more than average. The lower paying positions in industry are “Teaching” and “Reference” (approximately 20% lower than the average).


1994 Salary Survey (top)

The average respondent in the 1991 Salary Survey earned a base salary of $50,400. Three years later, the average base salary was $55,300, a 9.7 percent gain in base salary.Median base income for the two years was $47,900 and $51,000 respectively, a 6.5 percent gain. The median figures compare favorably with recognized salary surveys of both chemists and librarians or information scientists. The CPI for urban workers during the same period as our salary survey rose by 8.6%.

Median Base Salaries and Consumer Price Index

Surveys 1991* 1994* % change
CINF Survey $47,900 $51,000 6.5%
ACS Salary Survey1,2 $52,000 $59,700 9.1%
SLA Salary Survey3,4 $37,800 $40,500 7.1%
CPI-U Unadjusted all items5 137.9 149.7 8.6%

* These dates refer to the edition of the CINF survey. Refer to the articles in question for actual dates of each comparison survey used.The SLA survey data is approximately 6 months earlier than CINF and the ACS survey is approximately 6 months later than CINF.

[1] Michael Heylin, "Salary Survey", Chemical and Engineering News, July 13, 1992, p. 13.
[2] Michael Heylin, "Salary Survey", Chemical and Engineering News, August 7, 1995, p. 11.
[3] Ann Thompson, "1991 Salary Survey Update", Special Libraries, 1991, 82(4), 295-297.
[4] "Highlights from the SLA Biennial Salary Survey 1995", On the Scene, Special Libraries, 85 (4):292-4, 1994.
[5] Table 25, CPI detailed report, US Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jan 1995, 78.

There were 153 respondents in the 1994 survey who reported additional professional income (bonuses, consulting fees, royalties, etc.) averaging $8,000 (median: $2,800). In order to evaluate additional income it is important to note that the highest three figures reported were: $300,000, $100,000, and $50,000. The other 150 respondents reported additional income between $100 and $35,000.

All respondents for the 1994 Survey

  Median Average # of Respondents
Years with employer 8 11 369
Years in information career 13 15 363
Age 46 45 367
Base salary $51,000 %55,200 369
Additional income $2,800 $8,000 153


1991 Salary Survey (top)

Scientists working in the information profession were surveyed for 1991 salary data. Approximately 2800 surveys were mailed to members of the Chemical Information Division (CINF) of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Biological & Chemical Interest Group (SIG/BC) of the American Society for Information Science (ASIS), and Science & Technology Section (STS) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). A total of 589 (21%) survey forms, with usable full-time salary information, were returned. Sixty-two percent of the responders were CINF members.

The average respondent earned $50,400 with $2,100 in additional professional income, had 11 years service with current employer, and was 45 years old. The average CINF member earned $57,700 with $2,800 in additional income, had 12 years service with current employer, and was 47 years old.

Median figures for all respondents compare favorably with nationally recognized salary surveys of both chemists and librarians/information scientists.

Comparison of Median Salary

  Base Salary Adjusted Salary
CINF Survey All responses $47,900 $48,500
CINF members $54,000 $56,000
Non-CINF members $36,000 $36,750
ACS Salary Survey1 All Chemists (base salary as reported) $52,000  
SLA Salary Survey2 All Librarians/Information Specialists (base salary as reported) $37,800  

[1]Michael Heylin, "Salary Survey", Chemical And Engineering News, July 13, 1992, p. 13.
[2]Ann Thompson, "1991 Salary Survey Update", Special Libraries, 1991, v. 82, no. 4, p. 295-297.




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