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Professional user requirements of statistical dissemination Comments on the papers to Session 1 of the 91 st DGINS Conference, Copenhagen, 26 to 27 May.

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Presentation on theme: "Professional user requirements of statistical dissemination Comments on the papers to Session 1 of the 91 st DGINS Conference, Copenhagen, 26 to 27 May."— Presentation transcript:

1 Professional user requirements of statistical dissemination Comments on the papers to Session 1 of the 91 st DGINS Conference, Copenhagen, 26 to 27 May 2005 Heinrich Brüngger, UNECE

2 Professional Users In what way is dissemination to professional users different from the dissemination to non- professional users? –Less or no metadata? (Nødgaard: metadata are equally important for professional users) –Advance release? (not in line with fundamental principles) –Dissemination through on-line accessible databases intended only for professional users? (less and less the case) –Tailor-made (user-defined) statistical services provided in addition to access to official results only for professional (government) users?

3 Professional Users (ctd.) Professional users are consulted more regularly and more systematically about decisions to be taken by statisticians concerning: –Statistical programmes in terms of coverage, breakdown and periodicity –New series (incl. provisional results); discontinuation of old series –Timeliness –Reconstruction of long series after methodological changes –Products to be disseminated and user-friendliness of dissemination/access

4 Professional Users (ctd.) How do we organise the communication with professional users to get a good feed-back: –At national level: statistical committees and similar groups, for the whole system and by subject area, as well as many direct contacts –At European level: internal users, or users that at the same time producers, are clearly privileged in terms of possibilities of regular feed-back

5 Professional Users (ctd.) What type of questions do we ask them, so as to get useful answers (especially by avoiding a « free-lunch » attitude)? Statistical offices/services have to filter and bundle user needs, both at national and international level, and to balance with response burden. Less evidence of this function taking place at international level

6 Multiple series Also professional users are confused Official statistics is about producing authoritative, impartial information for many users simloutaneously. Implication: if conflicting information about the same issue is produced by official statistics, authoritativeness asks for some kind of hierarchy (tier system) Official vs. non-official statistics (from private sources, or from research institutes): need for « branding » of official statistics

7 Problems of International Databases How can incentives be created or reinforced for data work to be treated in a more sustained way by international organisations? –External users expect the same degree of reliablity and comparability as from NSOs, and guarantees for the continuation of production over time independently of changes of internal priorities within IOs –The use by internal users may not always be regular, stable over time, and analytical –Data work is not spectacular enough compared to other activities of international statistical services

8 International databases (ctd.) –Ensuring comparability (between countries and over time) requires more data, metadata and analytical work than at national level –Countries may not always make available the necessary data or metadata in time, sometimes even in spite of legal obligations –NSOs have no incentive to follow regularly the dissemination activities of international statistical producers, unless they make headlines in national media, or are used for « operational purposes » (eligibility for funds, membership fees etc.) that are crucial for selected national users

9 International Statistics One effect of globalisation is that there is a growing community of users of international statistics other than the internal users within IOs, and a growing media attention for international statistical results The environment in which international official statistics is produced has to become more like the best national ones, and the quality of outputs more similar, since users see national and international official statistics as two sides of the same medal Bad quality international official statistics may undermine the reputation of good national official statistics

10 International Statistics (ctd.) Should we introduce a comparability scale for intercountry comparisons to guide users? Should we have more external assessment of data work in international organisations, and more benchmark exercises? How can we stabilise the production and dissemination of international official statistics? How can we increase the authoritativeness of international statistics, given that the variety of different series and results, and the number of actors, is much greater than at national level?

11 International statistics (ctd.) The « Europe first » dilemma: Is it possible at all to produce a supra- or international aggregate as a sum/average of statistics compiled by national statistical systems, with the same quality, timeliness and comparability as experienced from good national statistical systems? Would this require a different way of organising data collection, processing and dissemination?

12 Data Sharing between IOs Not the same definition of « statistical use » (ECB includes use for prudential supervision) Transmission of confidential data between national and international statistical authorities, and between IOs, requires consensus about what is «statistical use » (6th UN fundamental principle: to be used exclusively for statistical purposes; promise to all respondents) At international level, the distinction between who is a producer or a user of statistics is often blurred

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