President's Message September 2020

President’s Message September 2020

 

Dear colleagues

Nominations for IAOS Executive CommitteeI am pleased to inform you that the Nominating Committee for the IAOS Executive Committee members (2021-23) has been set up with Mario Palma as Chair and Ola Awad, Oliver Chinganya, Angela Me and Shigeru Kawasaki as members. The duty of the Nominating Committee is to make nominations for the posts of President Elect and four executive members for the next term under the Presidency of Mr. Misha Belkindas.

The Executive Committee is the main leadership group for the IAOS. I have been fortunate during my term as President to be supported by a talented, committed and diverse group of colleagues. Please think hard about individuals who could make a valuable contribution to serve the IAOS in this way. The task is important but not necessarily onerous: the Executive Committee meets only a few times a year. For those who can get more deeply involved there are also plenty of opportunities through our conferences and webinars, journal, the Young Statisticians prize and other activities.

You are invited to make nominations (including self-nominations) for the IAOS Executive Committee by 20 November. Submissions should contain the CV and contact details of the proposed candidates and should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . 

Upcoming Webinar - MISUSE OF STATISTICS: TIME TO SPEAK OUT -- Tuesday 6th October 2020, 14.00-16.00 CET 

This webinar focuses on Fundamental Principle 4: Prevention of misuse, which states that the statistical agencies are entitled to comment on erroneous interpretation and misuse of statistics. It features leading figures in the statistical world with direct personal experiences of applying Principle 4 (Ed Humpherson, Martine Durand, Pali Lehohla, Andreas Georgiou and Hernan Munoz). There will be time for open discussion and reflection on future actions.  Registration is open at http://www.iaos-isi.org/index.php/latestnews/278-misuse-of-statistics-time-to-speak-out. 

2021 IAOS Young Statisticians Prize is now open.  The Prize is awarded for the best paper in the field of official statistics written by a young statistician. 

In addition to 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 rescheduled IAOS 2020 Conference 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.

You can find the relevant information in all UN official languages here. I would appreciate it if you would share information about the competition in your office and the wider National Statistical System in your country.  More information is available at http://www.iaos-isi.org/index.php/latestnews/277-2021-iaos-young-statisticians-prize  The closing date is 12 February 2021. 

Zambia IAOS 2020 Conference - Better Lives 2030: mobilising the power of data for Africa and the world – This conference was previously planned for May 2020. It is now expected that the conference will be held in September 2021 in Livingstone, Zambia.  Updates will be posted at  http://www.iaos-isi.org/index.php/conferences  

The new world order and official statistics in Africa – a webinar on this topic is scheduled for 22 October 2020. More information is available on the website here and registration is now open via this link. 

SJIAOS - The September issue has a special theme on The Future of Economic and Business Statistics, building on the work of the Friends of the Chair Group on Economic Statistics, commissioned by the UN Statistical Commission. This issue will also set the scene for the fifth discussion on the Official Statistics discussion platform - www.officialstatistics.com.  The June issue contains articles from some of the sessions at the ISI World Statistics Conference 2019, including articles on pre-release access of official statistics  which formed the basis for the fourth discussion on the Official Statistics discussion platform www.officialstatistics.com.  This issue is open access. Our thanks to IOS Press for their support.

The Official Statistics platform -www.officialstatistics.com is proving to be an important place for all parts of the official statistics community to discuss current issues. The discussion on  “Pre-release access to official statistics”, has been very active and I encourage everyone to take part in this and other discussions. 

Finally, thanks to those that were able to attend the virtual General Assembly in late August.  The minutes of that meeting are available here. 

John Pullinger

IAOS President

2021 IAOS Young Statisticians Prize

2021 IAOS Young Statisticians Prize

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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).

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

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.