Statistical Journal of the IAOS

Volume 38 (2022) 1:

Special theme: The 50x2030 Initiative

The Statistical Journal of the IAOS can be read via the printed version and online via the official statistics website: www.officialstatistics.com. The website offers beyond the online versions of the articles also a discussion platform, news, and interviews.

The latest version of the Statistical Journal of the IAOS (SJIAOS)

March 2022, Volume 38, no. 1,

Special theme: The 50x2030 Initiative

See: https://content.iospress.com/journals/statistical-journal-of-the-iaos/38/1

This first issue of Volume 38 of the Journal contains 25 high-quality contributions.

The issue opens with an interview with the incumbent IAOS President for the period 2021–2023, Misha Belkindas. In this interview, we learn more about Misha’s background, his experiences with official statistics, and his plans as President of the IAOS.

The next two contributions concern the governance of statistics and are centered on Mario Palma, Former IAOS President and former member of the Governing Board of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico (INEGI). In 2021 Mario Palma published a book ‘Why INEGI? The Saga of a Mexican Institution in Search of the Truth’. In his article ‘On Professional Independence’ Mario Palma elaborates - based on his book - on the issue of professional independence in official statistics through the analysis of the basic tenets that inform its raison d’etre, the main threats against it, and the possible measures NSO’s can promote to protect it. The manuscript presents some cases, both from the past and present, where governments from different countries have intervened against or attempted to interfere in the work of their national statistical offices, undermining the integrity of official statistical data for the benefit of political interests. The process of institutional autonomy of the INEGI is examined as a case study of the ways NSOs can promote the protection of their professional independence.

 Complementing this article, Hermann Habermann, Former US Chief Statistician and former UNSD Director, has engaged with Mario Palma in a very interesting dialogue ‘Interview with Mario Palma on his book: Why INEGI? The Saga of a Mexican Institution in Search of the Truth’. This interview gives interesting insights into the role and responsibilities of national statistical offices, especially from the perspective of Mexican official statistics and the motives and arguments by Mario Palma to write this book.

The special theme of this issue the ‘50x2030 Initiative’ is represented by eight contributions. The 50x2030 Initiative aims to close the agricultural data gap by addressing current shortcomings in the quality and availability of agricultural data and by transforming country data systems in 50 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America by 2030. The initiative is one of the largest international projects on the development of statistics ever with planned costs of 500 million US dollars. Each of the eight contributions focuses on a specific aspect ranging from the backgrounds to concrete outputs in specific countries. The 11th discussion on the SJIAOS discussion platform is also dedicated to statements around this global statistical development project.

International statistical projects, organized by cooperating international organizations with the involvement of a large number of regions as well as individual countries require - to be successful - the support of the international statistical community. Such large projects as initiated and monitored by the UNSC during the last couple of years are for example the International Price Comparison Project (ICP), the revision of the System of National Accounts (SNA), and the methodological and technological projects under the umbrella of the High-Level Group on the Modernization of Statistics (HLG-MOS) as well as the here presented 50x2030 Initiative. 

In the 11th discussion, via a set of thought-provoking statements, the ambitions, structure, and content of the 50x2030 Initiative will be proposed for reflection, as well as the role, structure, and governance aspects of such large international projects. The statements will come around mid-March online on the SJIAOS discussion platform (www.officialstatistics.com).

Next to the already mentioned topics, this issue covers a Covid-19 related article; two more articles on agriculture-related issues, land cover, and the agricultural census; a set of manuscripts on combining information from statistical registers and surveys in a population census context stemming from the recent ISI World Statistics Conference, and finally six manuscripts covering a diversity of methodological developments. At the end of this issue Andreas Georgiou closes the fourth discussion of the SJIAOS discussion platform with his contribution:  

In the article ‘Automatic Extraction of Land Cover Statistics from Satellite Imagery by Deep Learning’ Diego Zardetto, Eleonora Bernasconi, Fabrizio De Fausti, Francesco Pugliese and Monica Scannapieco address the challenge of producing fully automated land cover estimates from satellite imagery through Deep Learning algorithms. To produce these estimates they used a tile-based, classify and count design, a cutting edge Convolutional Neural Network model to implement the classification engine of the system. The analysis shows that the automatically produced land cover estimates are in good agreement with the pseudo ground truth and that this supports the offers segmentation ability of the system. The authors conclude that their project compared to traditional projects like CORINE and LUCAS, is remarkably cheaper in producing, delvers timely and frequent land cover statistics and goes well beyond the NUTS 2 level for small area estimates.

Jairo Castano, Adriana Neciu in ‘Midterm review of the 2020 round of censuses of agriculture’, report on the results of an online survey on the 2020 round of the World Programme for the Census of Agriculture (WCA 2020). The main findings show that an increasing number of countries are shifting their census methodologies from classical to modular approaches and combining field enumeration with the use of administrative registers. Due to the lack of funds and the impact of COVID-19. A large number of countries postponed their censuses at least once due to lack of funds and the situation even got less positive due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The next section in this issue deals with ‘Building statistical registers in countries with no administrative population registers’. The three manuscripts in this section are based on the contributions to the 2021 ISI World Statistics Conference (The Hague) Invited Paper Session (IPS) with the same title. In his introduction to this section, Jean-Michel Durr describes different directions in which countries are developing the use of administrative sources for their statistical production as well as to transform their population and housing census in either a fully register-based census or a census combining registers and surveys. The three articles in the section present the experience of France (Setting up statistical registers of individuals and dwellings in France: approach and first steps’), New Zealand (‘A Statistical Person Register in New Zealand: Progress and challenges), and Canada (‘The Canadian experience of building a privacy-responsible integrated statistical register infrastructure).

Six more manuscripts discuss very different issues, varying from SDG Progress assessment to Machine Learning, Web Scraping, and Statistical Algorithms.

Arman Bibarbakhtnia in ‘SDG Progress Assessment; comparing apples with what?’ Reflects on a selected number of metrics developed by international organizations for measuring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The author states that the analysis shows that inconsistency in results concerning the progress of countries in measuring the SDGs is more likely to be driven by different interpretations of concepts and not on methodologies.

In their contribution ‘Big Data Adoption in Official Statistics: Challenges, Opportunities, and Determinants’, the authors Christopher A. Moturi, Allan Gather Wairumu assess the adoption of Big Data in research institutes in Kenya. For this, they collected information from 64 data practitioners based in 24 research institutes. Core in the paper is the identification of the determinants of the adoption of Big Data in statistics. The authors conclude that there are immense opportunities for Big Data in statistics if the associated risks and challenges are addressed and the identified key determinants are prioritized to promote the adoption.

New technologies have created an exponential increase or ‘data explosion’ in data generation. These Big Data sources contribute to the reduction of the response burden and especially the cost of data collection. In their manuscript ‘Web scraping technique for producing Iranian consumer price index Ayoub Faramarzi, Reza Hadizadeh, Saeed Fayyaz, Sohrab Sajadimanesh, and Abbas Moradi report on the use of web scraping technique to extract the daily prices of the food and drinks products to replace them with conventional prices which had been used for price indices. Findings revealed that the web scraping technique can be applied as an effective alternative to conventional methods for CPI.

An application of Machine Learning to Big data is described by Rani Noorani, Jimmy Nickledon, Eko Rahmadia, and Nugroho Yudho in their contribution ‘New Recommendation to Predict Export Value Using Big Data and Machine Learning Technique’. The manuscript aims to develop and select an AIS indicator to predict the monthly export value in Indonesia via an innovative approach using Seasonal ARIMA and Artificial Neural Network (ANN) methods. Considering that ANN  requires high computational costs to obtain optimal parameters they introduce a Genetic Algorithm (GA) for increasing ANN accuracy. The authors report on the successful established five indicators to be used as predictors in the forecasting model.

The group of authors of ‘A Quality Framework for Statistical Algorithms Wesley Yung, Siu-Ming Tam, Bart Belen’s, Hugh Clipman, Florian Dumpert, Gabrielle Ascani, Fabiana Rocci, Joep Burger, and InKyung Choi) represent the 2019 launched project within the High-Level Group for the Modernisation of Official Statistics (HLG-MOS) to integrate machine learning (ML) into the official statisticians’ toolbox. One of the main outputs of this HLG-MOS project is a Quality Framework for Statistical Algorithms (QF4SA). This Quality Framework does not replace existing quality frameworks; it complements them. This paper presents the QF4SA, as well as some recommendations for NSOs considering the use of machine learning in the production of official statistics. 

In the final manuscript in this section, Jitendra Sinha describes the effects of unemployment and inflation on output growth. His article ‘Economic Impact of Unemployment and Inflation on Output Growth in Bihar during 1990 -2019’ uses time-series data to show how physical capital expansion in terms of infrastructure development along with skill development to provide employment opportunities to the youth appears to be the major determinant of boosting the potential productivity of physical and human capital and affecting positively the economic growth. The author concludes that the results indicate that there are benefits from an increased supply and improvement in the quality of physical capital. This increases labor productivity as well as investment in human capital.

Launch of the 11th discussion: Large international projects on the development of official statistics, the 50x2030 Initiative as an example

With the release of this issue of the Journal (March 2022), also the 11th discussion will be opened. This discussion is triggered by the special section concerning the 50x2030 Initiative, as presented in this issue (Vol 38, (2022) Nr 1) via seven manuscripts and a guest editorial.

The 50x2030 Initiative to close the agricultural data gap is a multi-partner program that addresses current shortcomings in the quality and availability of agricultural data by transforming country data systems in 50 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America by 2030. The Initiative is also one of the largest international projects on the development of statistics ever with planned costs of 500 million US dollars.

In the discussion, via a set of thought-provoking statements, the ambitions, structure, and content of the 50x2030 Initiative will be proposed for reflection, as well as the role, structure, and governance aspects of such large international projects. The statements will come around mid-March online on the SJIAOS discussion platform (www.officialstatistics.com).

You are also invited to comment on the statements for the 10th discussion

The 10th discussion topic: ‘Statistics on difficult to measure population groups: challenges to leave no-one not included'

The 10th discussion will focus on the importance to be in official statistics as inclusive as possible and especially statistically covering the - often very vulnerable  - population groups that are difficult to measure because of a lack of administrative or register data and/or difficulties in approaching or accessing these groups. Examples of these groups are stateless people, refugees, and homeless people. It also includes other population groups, that for a variety of reasons, are not included in vital registrations or other central administrative systems. Such inclusion in official statistics is relevant from the perspective of the Sustainable Development Goals, directed on targets for specific population groups,  but also in the wider context of (the ethics of) covering in official statistics all and especially vulnerable population groups. Measuring such groups requires creatively applying all possible data sources, ranging from administrative records to snowball data collection, to self-measurement as well as automatic and geo tracing/observation methodologies to cover them in official statistics.

This 10th discussion is triggered by the manuscript ‘Improving official statistics on stateless people: challenges, solutions, and the road ahead, by Mary Strode (Independent Consultant to UNHCR) and Melanie Khanna (Former Chief of the Statelessness Section, UNHCR) in Volume 37 (2021).

The discussion statements will concentrate on the need for such statistical information, the challenges in collecting them as well as aspects of confidentiality and protection in data sharing and it will stress the importance of data to be comparable over contexts and time and to use the same definitions, concepts, questions, and methodologies. The discussion will also invite comments on the experiences gained and result achieved in developing guidelines for measuring and developing statistics for difficult to measure groups.

Readers are invited to react to individual statements and of course can also choose to react to a combination of these statements, or a simple comment on the overall theme.

See the discussion platform on: www.officialstatistics.com

The SJIAOS discussion platform invites you to contribute to important discussions at a time of your choosing.  With each release of an issue of the Statistical Journal, a new discussion topic is launched via a leading article or based on a section in the Journal. Each discussion runs for a year and is closed with a concluding commentary by the article author(s). In this issue, two discussions are formally closed with a closing article.

This 10th discussion will come online, with specific statements around the 15th of December 2021. See www.officialstatistics.com

Several other discussions are still also online on the SJIAOS Discussion platform (www.officialstatistics.com)

The ninth discussion on the SJIAOS discussion platform is based on seven statements on ‘New Developments in Training in Official Statistics’

https://officialstatistics.com/news-blog/demand-and-format-training-official-statistics

In the Statistical Journal of the IAOS, Volume 37/3, on ‘New Developments in Training in Official Statistics’  the recent trends in training in official statistics are discussed in 22 manuscripts. The need and rationale for training in official statistics and the necessity to anticipate recent developments, the requirements needed for training in Data Science,  a method for assessing the type and content of this demand for training, an overview of existing training in official statistics initiatives,  general trends in learning and training, and a selection of examples of training in domains of official statistics or regions.

The eighth discussion on the SJIAOS discussion platform focuses on the UN Fundamental Principles for Official Statistics

https://officialstatistics.com/news-blog/un-fundamental-principles-official-statistics-suitable-and-current-self-regulatory

This discussion builds on one hand on the manuscript 'Assessing compliance with the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics: A Maturity Model for Continuous Improvement’ complementing the Fundamental Principles with the assessment of their compliance by countries and regions based on a Maturity Model for Continuous Improvement[1], illustrating the acceptance of this main framework for high-quality statistics as a still suitable instrument. On the other hand, during the last decennium, there were many events, where the principles were consciously or unconsciously ignored.

The objective of the discussion is twofold: first to generate knowledge and experience with the implementation, application, and effectiveness of the Fundamental Principles, second to inquire especially for major improvements, both to the Fundamental Principles themselves as well as to the compliance and the enforcement of compliance.

The seventh discussion on the SJIAOS discussion platform focuses on Misuse of Statistics, based on the section on Misuse of Statistics in Volume 37 (2021), Nr. 1: Misuse of Statistics; Time to Speak Out

https://officialstatistics.com/news-blog/misuse-statistics-time-speak-out

The seventh discussion focuses on the Misuse of Statistics. It aims to center around comments and contributions around the need for trustworthy information to guide decision-making and enable citizens to understand issues that affect their health and livelihoods. Misuse of statistics is a phenomenon as old as statistics itself. Regulatory systems like the Fundamental Principles for Official Statistics, statistical laws, and rules for ethical behavior of statisticians aim to avoid and whenever needed correct forms of misuse of statistics. The data revolution, new data sets (Big Data), and open data all cause an even more complex society with an increasing number of stakeholders that are supposed to comply with these official statistics quality and behavioral requirements. In times of crisis like we are now in at a worldwide scale, ‘invites’ even more than in normal times those who have an interest in specific figures to massage, manipulate, or even falsify information. The impact of misuse of statistics or false statistics is apparent. All this makes a discussion on the Misuse of statistics even more current, and surely justifies the second part of the title: Time to speak out.

The sixth discussion on the SJIAOS discussion platform: Successes and challenges of regional cooperation and capacity building in Statistics: the example of the Asia-Pacific region

The sixth discussion on the discussion platform centers around the themes of innovation and transformation in official statistics production and dissemination. The four statements are based on experiences from Asia-Pacific countries as reflected in the special section on the Asia-Pacific Statistics week in Volume 36 (2020) Nr. 4: https://content.iospress.com/articles/statistical-journal-of-the-iaos/sji200771

This discussion aims to highlight, beyond the results and successes,  challenges,  problems, and pitfalls of national and international initiatives to improve the national statistical systems of low and middle-income countries. Participants will be invited to reflect on the role and impact regional organizations like UN ESCAP, international statistical organizations (for example custodian agencies for the SDGs), and support from individual donor countries can have. The discussion will emphasize experiences and lessons with deploying methods and tools to support the development of national statistical systems at the policy, organizational and individual levels.

The fifth discussion on the SJIAOS discussion platform centers around statements taken from Volume 36 (2020, Nr. 3, The Future of economic statistics: https://content.iospress.com/articles/statistical-journal-of-the-iaos/sji209007)

The discussion focuses on the four inter-related and mutually reinforcing building blocks of the emerging new statistical business model for economic statistics: outreach and user consultation; statistical framework;  institutional and statistical operations, and data stewardship; and statistical infrastructure and data solutions.

The four statements you are invited to react on focus on the most important elements of a new statistical business model that is needed to achieve such a more responsive and agile system of economic statistics. The main question is if we official statisticians and our environment are sufficiently up for the challenges, and adequately focused and resourced to make this new statistical business model a reality.

You are invited to contribute to the discussions on: www.officialstatistics.com

Some background on the SJIAOS discussion platform

In August 2019 the Statistical Journal of the International Association for Official Statistics (SJIAOS) launched a new online platform for discussion on topics of significant relevance for official statistics (www.officialstatistics.com) as part of the SJIAOS website. The discussion platform invites you to contribute to important discussions at a time of your choosing.

The ISI World Statistics Conference, the IAOS Conference, and Journals like the Statistical Journal of the IAOS, are the traditional platforms where views on new developments and important issues in Official Statistics are exchanged. However, conferences occur only a few times per year, journal issues are released maybe four times per year, and typically only reach specific interest groups. This new online discussion platform of the SJIAOS is an opportunity for anyone working or interested in official statistics, to contribute to topical discussions, at your convenience.

Every three months there is a new discussion item. With each issue of the SJIAOS, a new discussion topic will be launched via a leading article. Statements from this article will then invite you to post your opinion and arguments. Each discussion will run for a year and be closed with a concluding commentary by the article author(s). When fully up and running (after four journal issues), there will be four different discussions topics open for your contribution at any one time.

The discussion platform can be found in a prominent place on the new SJIAOS website (www.officialstatistics.com). Contributions have to be in English, have to be clear and concise, specifically addressing one of the statements, and should not exceed 25 lines. When considered useful, references to a longer text (article, paper) can be added as an attachment. Contributors are required to register on the discussion platform. Anonymous contributions are not appreciated.

The SJIAOS discussion platform editor (James Whitworth) moderates the discussions and the quality of the contributions (but of course not on the positions taken), takes decisions on the integrity of the arguments, and is available for support when needed.

 

[1] Milicich, R., T. Dickinson, G. Van Halderen, T.Labor, H. Neven: Assessing compliance with the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics: A Maturity Model for Continuous Improvement. In SJIAOS Vol37/2.

 

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 within average around 25 articles focusing 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 www.officialstatistics.com.

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 online access to all the articles in the SJIAOS, including previous issues. Staff from International Organizations that are institutional members of the ISI/IAOS can be a member of IAOS and have free access to the Journal for an annual fee of 10 euros.

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..

Latest issues

Links to the still open discussions:

March Issue 2022 

December Issue 2021

September Issue 2021

June Issue 2021

March Issue 2021