Statistical Journal of the IAOS

Covid-19; official statistics during a pandemic

The Covid-19 crisis will have an enormous impact on global wealth. Positive social economic developments from recent years, especially in poorer countries, risk to be stopped or even reversed, and a strong increase of people in poverty and in need for help is expected. A recovery of the hard-hit economies in many countries will costs a lot of energy and budget. It will be a huge challenge to let all this happen in good balance with for example other important policy aims like the fight against climate change. The crisis showed the vulnerability of many systems, in health, education etc.. For official statistics it pointed among others to the weak coordination between domains of involved statistics, to the lack of timeliness of official data, to incomplete and erroneous statistics and to the opportunity this crisis gave to fake and purposely misleading statistics popping up.

The four manuscripts in this issue on Covid-19, cover very different elements of this multi dimensional development and are prepared by Len Cook (New Zealand), Olav Ljones (Norway), Ashfin Ashofteh and Jorge M. Bravo (Portugal) and Jean-Luc Tavernier (France). Covid-19 is also the item for an extra discussion on the SJIAOS Discussion platform: Official Statistics in the context of the COVID-19 crisis

Pre-release access of official statistics: does it conflict with independence and impartiality?

‘Pre-release access of official statistics’, is the fourth discussion on the discussion platform. Equal access of official statistics to users at the same time is broadly recognised as best practice for adhering to the statistical principles of professional independence and of impartiality and objectivity. The United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics indicate that under the very first principle of “Relevance, impartiality and equal access”. However, practice varies across and within countries, with pre-release practiced widely: pre-release access by government and pre-release access by the press. This is usually justified as enhancing the information for the public when statistics are officially released. However, does even advertised pre-release access by policy makers preclude the possibility of pressure (or the perception thereof) on the independent production of statistics to serve political/policy interests? Is pre-release to government impartial when it gives at least a head start to the party in power relative to its opposition? Does pre-release access by the press adequately protect the level playing field for market participants, and does not lead to profiteering by some? Do the benefits of pre-release outweigh the costs associated with the risks? Is there a need for strengthening the existing movement away from pre-release access and a tightening of the guidelines in codes of practice for official statistics?’

Beyond the Covid-19 and Pre-release articles this very rich issue is built on some 10 different sections. After the contribution on the history of ISI and on the Strategy 2019-2021 for the IAOS, 25 articles deal with a variety of topics ranging from new data sources, fake data, to indicators for SDG’s, informal employment and cross-border data sources for national accounts.

The Statistical Journal of the IAOS

The flagship of the IAOS is the ‘Statistical Journal of the IAOS’. The Journal is expected to be widely circulated and subscribed to by individuals and institutions in all parts of the world.The journal has four regular issues per year, each with in average around 25 articles focussing on current and emerging issues and challenges related to the management, production and use of official statistics and related public policy matters. The ‘Journal’ is available on-line and via a printed publication and is supported by a website. Beyond the link to the on-line version of the Journal the website provides a permanent platform for news, information on events. A main feature of the website is the discussion platform. This discussion platform facilitates in parallel to and based on articles in the Journal discussions on important topics for official statistics.

Submit a paper

The success of the Statistical Journal of the IAOS depends upon the contributions of IAOS members and authors. All papers are subject to anonymous review. For a full description of the publication’s editorial aims and scope, and how to submit manuscripts, go to www.officialstatistics.com or to IOSPress. For more information on the journal in general, submission, review and revision procedures or specific manuscripts, do not hesitate to contact the Editor in Chief, Pieter Everaers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Papers are expected to be of wide interest to readers. Such papers may or may not contain strictly original material. All papers are refereed. The journal has an Editor-in-Chief who is responsible for ensuring its content and quality. For the review process he is supported by an editorial board of circa 30 eminent official statisticians and for the strategy of the Journal by a small Advisory Board The journal should publish papers of wide interest to both users and producers of official statistics. The journal should encourage papers with a focus on the basic principles for official statistics covering areas such as the importance of applying the best scientific methods, the need for statistical independence, balancing the needs of users with the burden on respondents, the continuing challenges around confidentiality, and the growing need for consistency and coherence across statistical domains and over time and for international comparability.

SJIAOS Access for IAOS Members

IAOS members have unlimited on-line access to all the articles in the SJIAOS, including previous issues.

Members are asked to register themselves at IOS Press (go to the register tab) and once done, to send an email to Ms. Kim Willems (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). She will activate your complimentary access upon receiving your email.

For more information contact Margaret de Ruiter-Molloy at the ISI membership office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..