04 March 2017 (eFirst)
Dinges and coworkers are to be commended for having undertaken this effort. They designed an internet-based physician survey concerning an aortic root problem and sent it to 607 cardiac surgeons in the German-speaking countries. The response rate was 17% (100/607).
As was correctly remarked during the review process, one must be very hesitant to declare the results as representative for the target group. On the other hand, one may presume that most of those who had a distinct expert opinion did voice it. It was a rather special scenario after all.
When I took over the journal as an Editor in 2010, I sent out a questionnaire to all subscribers regarding the readers' wishes because I felt that I should be aware of them. The response rate was 11%. Naturally, I was very disappointed. The publisher, however, told me that for this kind of survey anything in the two-digit numbers is supposed to be really good. Accordingly, several of the suggestions received have been attended to over the years, hopefully improving the journal. About the non-responders I do not care. It is like in any democracy: if you ignore your right to vote, you cannot complain.