MISUSE OF STATISTICS: TIME TO SPEAK OUT

IAOS & ISI

 

MISUSE OF STATISTICS:
TIME TO SPEAK OUT

A webinar free and open to all. Sign up now to have your say.

The Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics are a pillar of the Global Statistical System. The
current pandemic, occurring alongside the decade for action on the Sustainable Development Goals,
has brought into sharp focus the critical importance of trustworthy official statistics that meet the
requirements of the Fundamental Principles. Official statistics are needed to guide action, help save
lives and chart our progress towards a future in which no one is left behind.

A particular feature of the current climate is the danger of false statistics that can mislead and result
in poorer decisions. Such false statistics may be the result of an inadequate design, implementation
or communication or a deliberate attempt to deceive in order to serve a vested interest. Either way
false statistics result in poorer decisions and therefore lost lives, weaker economies, less just
societies and a future for our children that is not as sustainable as it could have been.

This webinar brings out the importance of Fundamental Principle 4: Prevention of misuse. This
Principle states that the statistical agencies are entitled to comment on erroneous interpretation
and misuse of statistics.

The webinar will hear from leading figures from around the world with direct personal experience of
the application of Fundamental Principle 4. There will be an opportunity for an open discussion and
a reflection on future actions that might be taken. The outcome of the seminar will be considered by
the Executive Committee of the International Association for Official Statistics with follow up action
where appropriate.

The webinar is being organised by the International Association for Official Statistics in conjunction
with the International Statistical Institute and supported by the World Bank Trust Fund for Statistical
Capacity Development.

Chair: John Pullinger, President, IAOS

Speakers:

Ed Humperson, Director General, Office for Statistics Regulation, UK with panellists
Martine Durand, Pali Lehohla, Andreas Georgiou and Hernan Munoz
Date: Tuesday 6 th October 2020, 14.00-16.00 CET

REGISTER HERE

2021 IAOS Young Statisticians Prize

2021 IAOS Young Statisticians Prize

 

Announcement of Competition

Calling all Young Official Statisticians
Win a trip to an international statistical conference

The International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS) is pleased to announce the launch of the 2021 IAOS Young Statisticians Prize. This international prize, which is designed to encourage more young statisticians to take an active interest in official statistics, is awarded for the best paper in the field of official statistics written by a young statistician.

In addition to the monetary prizes, the first-place winner will receive travel funds to present the paper at an international conference.  Due to COVID-19, details of the conference will be decided in conjunction with the winner and may include the IAOS Conference which will be held in Livingstone, Zambia, in 2021 (rescheduled from 2020) or a 2021 ISI World Statistics Congress Satellite Conference in memory of Fred Smith and Chris Skinner being held in Southampton, UK, 8-10 July 2021.

We encourage submitters to address and propose solutions to pressing methodological or strategic issues in the area of official statistics at the regional, national or international level. The paper must be no more than 4,000 words, be submitted in English, and should not have been previously presented in a public forum or published. An international panel will judge the papers based on the following criteria:

  • Scientific and/or strategic merit
  • Originality
  • Applicability of the ideas in the practice of statistical organizations
  • Quality of the exposition.

Papers must be submitted before 11:59pm (UTC) on 12 February 2021.

The decision of the panel will be final. Prizes will only be awarded if papers of significant quality are submitted.

A maximum of three co-authors is allowed for a paper. An author can participate in only one paper.

The author(s) of the best paper will be awarded:

  • A cash prize valued at €1,500 (divided among co-authors if applicable)
  • An opportunity to present the paper at a session at a mutually agreed international statistical conference, with airfare and hotel accommodation provided (for only one author in situations of co-authorship)
  • Two years of IAOS membership
  • A certificate of award from the IAOS acknowledging success in this competition.

Prizes may also be awarded to those in second and third place:

  • 2ndPlace - A cash prize valued at €1000, 2 years of IAOS membership, and a certificate
  • 3rdPlace - A cash prize valued at €500, 2 years of IAOS membership, and a certificate

A prize will also be award to the best paper from a developing country:

  • Best paper – honorable mention, 2 years of IAOS membership, and a certificate.

Prize winning papers will be considered for publication in the Statistical Journal of the IAOS.

To be eligible, authors (and co-authors) must:

  • Be under the age of 35 on 12 February 2021 and
  • Be employed by an official statistical organization as at 12 February 2021

Submissions must comprise a maximum of 4,000 words (including abstract, titles and references) plus the filled-in submission template plus a cover page that must include:

  • A line that it is a “Submission for the 2021 IAOS Prize for Young Statisticians”
  • The title of the paper
  • The name(s), prefix(s), job title(s), full date(s) of birth, age(s) and e-mail addresses of the author(s)
  • The name(s) of the employing official statistical agency(ies)
  • An abstract of no more than 15 lines.

Any material beyond the core text of the paper, such as table of contents, references, appendices, tables, and graphs, must be contained within the maximum of 4,000 words. Any submission exceeding 4,000 words plus cover page will be disqualified.

Please submit papers, in MS Word or compatible format to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Guidelines for papers

Submission template

More information may be found here.
You may also submit questions you have about the competition to the e-mail address above.


1. Full-time, part-time, or contractual employees are eligible and an NSOs employee who also teaches or studies on a part-time basis is eligible. Professional consultants or members of the teaching profession carrying out a contract with the NSO agency are not eligible.

2. A National or International Statistical Organization, the Statistics Department of a Central Bank or the Statistics Department of a Ministry or Regional or Local Government in a decentralized National Statistical System. Statistical departments of non-statistical international organizations as well as schools of statistics formally attached to official statistics offices (such as ENSAE in France and STIS in Indonesia) are included, but university programs that are not formally attached to official statistics offices (such as EMOS1-labelled university programs in Europe) are excluded.

3. In Times New Roman (size 12) font, with side, top, and bottom margins of 1 inch (25.4 millimeters).

 

Announcement of the IAOS 2020 General Assembly in virtual format

NOTICE

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR OFFICIAL STATISTICS

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

The 2020 IAOS General Assembly will be held on Thursday 20th August at 12.00 - 13:00 (CEST) in virtual format.

If you wish to attend please email Jo Green ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) who will send you a link to join the meeting.

The agenda for the meeting will be:

  1. Minutes of 2019 General Assembly: for agreement
  2. IAOS Annual Report: for agreement
  3. Amendment to the statutes of the IAOS: for agreement (see note below)
  4. Nominations for the IAOS Executive Committee: for consideration
  5. Future topics for SJIAOS: for consideration
  6. Other business

 

John Pullinger

President

 

Note on amendment to the statutes for the IAOS

The statutes of the IAOS are in line with Dutch law and the statutes of the ISI.

The statutes do not permit the General Assembly to be held in virtual format. Accordingly, the IAOS Executive Committee had intended to find an opportunity to hold a meeting in physical format during 2020. At a meeting of the Executive Committee on 7th August the Executive Committee concluded that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic this would not be possible.

The Dutch authorities have recognised the COVID-19 pandemic currently makes it difficult for organisations to hold General Assemblies in physical format and has made provision for General Assemblies to be held in virtual format so long as this is done before 1st September 2020. This does not allow us the usual 2 months notice period for General Assemblies.

In order to avoid this situation recurring the General Assembly will be invited to agree a change to the IAOS statutes as follows. To insert the words:

The General Assembly meeting may be held virtually. In the case of a virtual meeting, members are given the opportunity to participate online and vote.

 

 

President's message August 2020

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

AUGUST 2020

This has been a year when everyone has been talking about statistics. Alongside the fear and tragedy of the global COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking to statistics for guidance on the things that matter to them. How safe is it for me go out? What are my future prospects for employment? What are the impacts on different communities? How will we pay back the debts our governments are running up?

Issues that have always been central to the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics are now being debated in locked down virtual forums across the world. How can we mobilise the power of data to help make better decisions? How do we judge which data is trustworthy and which is being produced to hoodwink us into accepting a false picture, deflect our attention or make us believe in the world view of some vested interest?

The IAOS has been active in airing these issues in recent months and has highlighted many examples, good and bad, from which we can learn. The June issue of our Journal has some excellent papers on COVID-19, on pre-release access and other questions related to trust in statistics and much more. The Journal provides a great platform for sharing and learning. The current issue has seen record levels of interest from readers. The Editor is always on the look out for good material. If you have something you wish to submit, I encourage you to do so.

In the meetings I have been part of, ranging from Asia-Pacific Statistics Week conference to MIT’s Computational Social Science for Impact the mood has been the same: how can statistics make a difference and help us navigate towards a better future? In my presentations I have drawn inspiration from the past: from Florence Nightingale and W Edwards Deming in particular.

At the same time, we must be on the look out for situations when the cause of good statistics has been frustrated by the proliferation of bad information or by roadblocks placed in the way of getting good information. Recent developments with the United States Census, as highlighted by the American Statistical Association , need to be seen for what they are. Undermining an accurate census undermines democracy and people’s right to good information about the society in which they live. The theme developing from the COVID-19 pandemic that trustworthy statistics are a human right is striking a chord amongst people with widely different political views. Without trustworthy data how can different perspectives be demonstrated and judged? Trusted statistics help us make better decisions and live better lives .

From the evidence I have seen from around the world these last few months, I remain optimistic. There are political leaders who appreciate the value of good statistical evidence to help their countries make better decisions. There is a community of official statisticians ready to step up, step forward and step on the gas to rise to the challenge. With statistically savvy politicians and politically savvy statisticians, we will be able to chart a course for better lives, whatever COVID-19 and all the other complexities of the world today throw up.

The IAOS General Assembly is next week. At the General Assembly, we will give an update on the 2020 IAOS conference, and also officially launch the 2021 Young Statistician Prize.  Both of these activities are key ways of building the community of official statisticians.   Please join us to have your say on the work of our Association.

 

John Pullinger.

Southampton Conference, July 2021, Call for Abstracts

Conference and Special Issue of Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A in memory of Fred Smith and Chris Skinner, Southampton, UK, 8‐10 July 2021

Abstract submissions are invited for presentation at a conference in memory of Fred (TMF) Smith and Chris Skinner, who both passed away during winter 2019/20. The conference will be based around the themes that interested Fred and Chris during their research careers, including (but not limited to)
 analysis and modelling of complex survey data
 time series methods in the analysis of survey data
 statistical disclosure control
 official statistics

Call for Abstracts - submission deadline: 1 October 2020 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Further details can be found here.