Published three times a year, the ISI Newsletter provides a broad overview of the Institute's activities, and also includes additional information of interest to statisticians. The Newsletter is sent to all members of the ISI and its Sections (approx. 5,000) as part of their membership.
Editors: Mr. D. Berze and Ms. S. Mehta, Graphic Designer: Mr. H. Lucas
In this online Issue Message from the President Message from the Director 56th ISI Session in Lisboa, Portugal ISI Restructuring Papers: Issues and Challenges for the ISI in 2007 and Beyond ISI – Economic and Financial Characteristics and Trends ISI Special Panel Session 57th ISI Session in Durban, South Africa News of Members In Memoriam ISI Nominations Committee Awards, Prizes and Competitions ISI Committee Matters Historical Anniversaries: Karl Pearson (1857-1936) Memories of the ISI's Past International Statistical Literacy Project (ISLP) Calendar of Events News from ISI sections Volume 31, No. 2 (92) 2007
Message from the President
In the museum of contemporary art in Berlin in the former Hamburger Bahnhof, a prominent sculpture is Anselm Kiefer’s Volkszählung (1991), dedicated to the memory of the traumatic census in the Bundesrepublik in 1987, where a boycott movement had a certain success.
Kiefer arranged large books of lead in a square of bookshelves. On closer inspection, these books are filled with peas, symbolizing that human beings are reduced to peas by being counted in a census. In the centre is a glass polyhedron modelled over Albrecht Dürer’s famous print Melencolia 1 (1514).
Let me contrast this pessimistic contemporary view of statistics with the following quotation;
La Statistique est une science très moderne ………
Sous ce rapport, c’est surtout la legislation sociale de notre époque qui a accaparé la statistique. Grâce aux renseignements statistiques, les injustices sociales sont signalées, et, pour le pouvoir leégislativef, il s’agit de trouver les moyens d’y remédier. C’est ici qu’il y a souvent des domaines où la situation des pays moins puissants, don’t les conditions sont faciles à embrasser, permet qu’ils marchent à la tête; ils peuvent procéder à des enquêtes, plus difficiles pour les pays plus grands, dans le but de contribuer à ce qu’on crée le plus de bonheur possible pour le plus grand nombre de personnes.
Who told us that statistics is a modern science, thanks to which social injustice has been ‘signalled’, inspiring legislators to seek to provide maximum happiness to the largest possible number of people? And that small countries may be at an advantage, because there it is easier to carry through the necessary enquiry? Crown Prince Christian of Denmark did, opening the XIth Session of the ISI in Copenhagen (or should I say Copenhague), exactly 100 years ago in 1907 (Bull. Internat. Statist. Inst. 17, 23-25, 1908). Christian went on to become King of Denmark 1912-47.
Let us stay with the 1907 version. Statistics today is as important and modern as ever, and Vice-Presidents Nick Fisher and Len Cook have elaborated how this is to be interpreted in 2007 and beyond (see here), where you will also find a survey of the economic and financial characteristics and trends of the ISI by Finance Committee chairman Olav Ljones (here).
These documents are additional background for the important discussions in Lisboa on identifying a new course to consolidate and rejuvenate the ISI to prepare for many more good years. A very dedicated ad hoc committee, led by Nick Fisher, has outlined possible changes in the structure of the ISI. This restructuring should be measured against how well the resulting structure will enable us to fulfil the ISI Mission:
To promote the understanding, development, and good practice of Statistics worldwide.
Who is the future member for whom we plan this new structure? As befits true statisticians, the answer is not a point prediction, but rather a distribution. The new structure should accommodate a multitude of members from all over the world, interested in furthering the Mission. We should recruit the members who will be the important and influential players in the action of the future in academia, in government and other official statistics, in business and industry. Our organisation should be particularly alert in furthering the activities, combining several statistical sub-disciplines, borrowing technical strength from the methodologists, experience about political independence from the official statisticians, specific subject matter insight from many experiences with applications in science, industry and business. However, no single person can contain all these competences. It is exactly through the bringing together of different specialists who are all competent in their own field that the combination will result in added value.
The future members are more diverse than the current membership. They are more truly international, they are younger, and there are relatively more women than today. Also, they cover all types of statistical competence more evenly than the current membership.
In addressing the ISI of 1907, Prince Christian spoke French, the then main working language of the ISI (German was also used quite extensively), and neither English, the now most commonly used working language, nor his mother tongue.
According to the Wikipedia, the current working languages of the ISI are native to about 6% (English) and 1% (French) of the 6.5 billion people on the Earth. Thus, the vast majority are handicapped by having to communicate in a language other than their mother tongue. (European Union diplomats have the egalitarian rule that since not all can communicate in one’s mother tongue, nobody is allowed to do so, though compliance to this rule is doubtful.)
Most statistical conferences are organised by a national organisation with an obvious language as standard. Despite many formal promises of international outreach, the relevant mother tongue is taken for granted, including the many delicate nuances both in the communication of scientific matters and in jokes and other informal conversation, presenting a serious handicap to the visitors from other languages.
This has to be different in the ISI:
In the ISI you shall never be ashamed of your mother tongue,
and steps shall be taken to minimise the handicap from having a different mother tongue than the working ISI languages.
But what steps can be taken?
Exactly with the language problem in mind, the International Biometric Society (IBS) is at the moment introducing an interesting idea of Volunteer Editors, ‘who are willing to help IBS members polish up the prose in a manuscript that they intend to submit for publication'. Would we like to follow that path?
For our meetings, we have for a long time had general recommendations that presentations should recognize that many in the audience (actually, most likely the majority) will not have full command of the language used by the speaker, making it particularly important that the spoken sentences are clear and to the point and well supported by the written presentation on the screen. Do what you can to follow these recommendations!
This is my last editorial column as President, and it is time to thank my colleagues in the Executive Committee and Council for two very active years with a lot of constructive work. It has been a significant and positive personal experience for me. Thanks are also due to the Permanent Office with Director Daniel Berze for careful attention to the many details of our large and complex organisation.
The Lisboa Session is approaching, and the planning activity is in its highest gear. Local Organising Executive Secretary José Pinto Martins, Local Programme Committee Chair Maria Ivette Gomes and Programme Coordinating Committee Chair Pedro Silva are working around the clock to ensure that everything will run smoothly once we arrive in Lisboa.
See you there!
Message from the Director
The ISI Permanent Office has played host to a series of important administrative meetings. On March 28, the ISI Finance Committee, skillfully chaired by Mr. Olav Ljones, met in Voorburg to review the financial status of the ISI. On March 29-30, the ISI Executive Committee (Prof. Niels Keiding, President; Prof. Denise Lievesley, President-Elect; Mr. Len Cook, Vice-President; Dr. Nicholas Fisher, Vice-President; and Prof. Gilbert Saporta, Vice-President) met in Voorburg in what was the final meeting of the Executive Committee before the Lisboa Session. Needless to say, the restructuring effort was the dominating theme of these meetings, and the valuable intellectual output of these discussions will become apparent in various discussion papers included in this issue of the ISI Newsletter, which will no doubt be broadly discussed in Lisboa.
The ISI Executive Committee
Apparently, the name ‘Lisboa’ is a derivation of the Phoenician ‘Olissipo’ or ‘Allis Ubbo’, meaning ‘enchanting port’. If you still have not made plans to attend the ISI Lisboa Session, you might want to consider attending what will undoubtedly be the highlight of the ISI’s biennial activities, set in a city whose many attractions never fail to enchant. As I write this in early June, I note that the Lisboa Session Organisers have already received more than 1,700 abstracts, and 2,757 persons have formally registered to attend the Lisboa Session. All indications are that this will be a truly remarkable Session, both in terms of the engaging scientific and social programmes, the warm Portuguese hospitality, as well as the many tourist attractions that Portugal has to offer. Visit the Session website at http://www.isi2007.com.pt for further details.
Belem Tower, Lisboa
Photo: Antonio Sacchetti
The ISI Professional Ethics Committee, chaired by Dr. David Morganstein, organised a special seminar on March 26 in Paris, which was generously hosted by INSEE/ADETEF, France. The seminar was a prelude to the special ‘Open Meeting’ that will be held in conjunction with the Lisboa Session, to take place on August 22 starting at 13:30 (prior to the Opening Ceremony). Everyone is welcome to participate in the meeting, which will include a panel discussion on ‘Ethical Dilemmas’ as well as an open floor discussion. Further details about this Committee’s activities can be found here.
Another ISI Committee in action, the ISI’s Khowarizimi Committee is responsible for stimulating international statistical cooperation with countries in the Arabic world. The Committee is chaired by Dr. Hilal Al-Bayyati. Responding to a request from the ISI that the ISI Glossary of Statistical Terms also include terms in the Arabic language, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Al-Bayyati’s team has now submitted these terms, which can be viewed in the Glossary at http://isi.cbs.nl/glossary.htm.
Dr. Simo Puntanen
On the publications front, I am delighted to announce that Short Book Reviews, as of 2007 a component of the International Statistical Review, now has a new Editor. Dr. Simo J. Puntanen from the University of Tampere, Finland, has assumed editorial responsibilities for Short Book Reviews effective April 2007. We welcome Dr. Puntanen, and look forward to an informative series of future book reviews.
I would like to warmly congratulate the winner of the third edition of the Mahalanobis Prize, Dr. Isidoro P. David; the three winners of the Jan Tinbergen Award, Mrs. Archana V., Mr. Caio Lucidius Naberezny Azevedo, Ms. Lishamol Tomy, Muthirakalayil) and the six recipients of the ISI Service Certificates (Prof. Bovas Abraham, Prof. Jae C. Lee, Mrs. Ank Lepping, Mr. Bart Meganck, Prof. Eugene Seneta, Prof. William Smith). For additional details, please refer here.
I have one final note regarding preparations for the ISI General Assembly Meeting in Lisboa. In conformity with ISI traditions, the Report of the ISI Executive Committee to the General Assembly, which will be formally presented during the ISI General Assembly Meeting on August 28, will appear in advance of the Lisboa Session on the following web page, http://isi.cbs.nl/07session/07report.htm to allow members to familiarise themselves with the Report.
25 de Abril bridge and Tagus river, Lisboa
Photo: Jose Manuel
See you in Portugal’s ‘enchanted port’!
Elevador da Gloria, Lisboa
Photo: Jose Manuel
56th ISI Session in Lisboa, Portugal
22-29 August 2007, Lisboa, Portugal
As you have come to expect, the Scientific Programme for the Lisboa Session of the ISI is wide-ranging and includes world class speakers, as well as providing opportunities for all in the statistical community to present their contributions. Over the past few months, the appointed organisers of Invited Paper Meetings (IPM) and Special Topic Contributed Paper Meetings (STCPM) have been busy getting their invited authors to complete and submit their papers via the conference website. In the case of the IPMs, it is now the turn of the discussants to read all the papers and prepare their discussions for presentation during the meetings. The detailed composition of each one of the 91 Invited Paper Meetings (IPM) scheduled for the 56th Session of the ISI is provided here (PDF, or JPG1, JPG2).
In addition, the submission of contributed papers was quite large, and the Local Programme Committee had to extend the deadline of submissions to accommodate the many requests it received. Table 1 presents a summary of the number of papers submitted to date.
Table 1 – Number of papers submitted
Type of meeting
The Scientific Programme will be supplemented with one tutorial on “PLS (Partial Least Squares) and Related Methods”, and several short courses that are offered regularly by the IASS. The complete and up-to-date Scientific Programme, including information on the Special Topic Contributed Paper Meetings (STCPMs) and the Contributed Paper Meetings (CPMs), is available on the 2007 ISI website at http://www.isi2007.com.pt/isi2007/. The website will be updated regularly with the latest news about the Scientific Programme as preparations progress, so keep an eye on the website.
Nine Satellite Meetings will take place either before or after the 56th ISI Session. By combining the ISI Session with one of the Satellite Meetings, you may be able to get greater value from the time you will spend travelling to and in Portugal. The Satellite Meetings are:
• Advances in semiparametric methods and applications (Bernoulli, Lisboa)
• Statistics for Data Mining, Learning and Knowledge Extraction (IASC, Aveiro)
• Probability and Statistics in Science and Technology (Bernoulli, Porto)
• Assessing Student Learning in Statistics (IASE, Guimarães)
• ISBIS 2007 (ISBIS, Azores)
• Small Area Estimation (IASS, Pisa - Italy)
• International Conference on Statistical Methods for Risk Analysis (ICSMRA, Lisboa)
• Computational Environmetrics: Protection of Renewable Environment and Human and Ecosystem Health (TIES, Mikulov - Czech Republic)
• Innovative methodologies for censuses in the new millennium (IAOS & IASS, Southampton - UK)
Contact and other details for all these are available on the ISI website http://www.isi2007.com.pt/isi2007/.
Following the successful idea used at the Sydney Session, there was an attempt to group IPM and STCPM sessions covering similar topics in adjacent days to form theme days for a few selected areas, as indicated below. Please note that there will be no separate registration for these, and full registration to attend the Session applies.
1. Statistics and Finance (August 23 and 24)
2. Statistics in Genomics and Proteomics (August 24 and 25)
3. Statistics of Extremes and Risk Assessment (August 27 and 28)
4. Environmental Statistics (August 28 and 29)
A timetable for the scientific meetings appeared in Information Bulletin #2 and is available from the website. Please note that this may still change before the final version is issued. Prof. Ivette Gomes, Chair of the Local Programme Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org), is in charge of this and all queries about this should be directed to her.
ISI Restructuring Papers
Summary: The ISI is in the process of significant change. In this paper, the guidance of ISI Members and Sections Members is sought. The ISI Executive Committee has formulated seven questions that it considers to be significant in furthering change in the ISI. This is a necessary to precursor to formulating changes to the ISI Statutes that will support restructuring of the ISI family.
ISI Mission: To promote the understanding, development, and good practice of Statistics worldwide.
In this time of massive change, the influence of Statistics on the quality of life has not only local and national importance, but is of distinct global significance in a way we have never before experienced. We need the ISI to survive and prosper as a successful international society. Without some action, simply continuing the past trends in the makeup of our membership will see the ISI being of much less value to future generations of statisticians. The Executive sees the need to define well a clear pathway for how the ISI will evolve over the next decade. How the ISI manages to address the challenges it now faces may affect not just the future form and membership of the ISI, but whether or not it actually exists a decade hence, given the age disribution of current members.
At its most effective, the ISI can facilitate discussion of ideas, ethics, methods and practices. On occasion, it has brought an authoritative collective voice through statements on matters of international importance, and it has aided professional development. All of this has been achieved by reinforcing the scientific underpinnings of public life, business endeavour and community welfare.
The ISI family has unique capabilities in terms of
1. its international reach, ethical basis, and enduring commitment to the furthering the place of Statistics in our societies
2. development of the profession (publishing and education)
3. professional issues and practices
4. international leadership in advancing statistical theory, method and practice across diverse fields of Statistics
Like other international professional societies, the ISI is an evolving body. To steer its continued change, we need to have a good sense of type of services the ISI might be providing in 10 years. The ISI Executive has formulated a number of questions that it believes need to be answered, in order to inform and bring constancy of purpose to how the elected ISI leadership of the next decade pursues the mission of the ISI.
1. In what ways can the ISI provide a unique and valuable contribution to addressing global issues?
2. In what ways can the ISI facilitate communication, co-operation and collaboration among its members and member groups?
3. In what ways should people belong to the ISI?
4. How should the ISI family of organisations evolve?
5. How should the ISI relate to national statistical societies?
6. How should the ISI fund its activities?
7. Are there better ways for this international society of statisticians to manage its ongoing activities?
1. In what ways can the ISI provide a unique and valuable contribution to addressing global issues?
1. The ISI brings strengths that are of particular importance to matters that have global impact, involving scientific engagement across disciplines, to where there is a need to build and share knowledge worldwide.
2. The ISI could contribute much more to aid the development of statistics across the world, in particular to advance the capability of developing countries, through providing a context, stimulus and vehicle for collaboration.
3. The ISI can bring international leadership to facilitating cross-disciplinary activity and and links across disciplines in diverse fields including, Law, Environment, Health, Population, Economics and Biology
4. By seeking to address global issues, the ISI may be stimulated to widen the spheres of influence of ISI Sections, to set up new ISI groups, or to establish stronger links with currently non-affiliated bodies that share the wider purpose of the ISI.
2. In what ways can the ISI facilitate communication, cooperation and collaboration among its members and member groups?
We expect to see continuing change in the relative emphasis that the ISI places on each of journal publications, newsletters, ISI Sessions and Section conferences, the ISI web site and the Internet, and training and development activities.
(a) Publications: Changes will reflect the impact of web, the expansion of accessibility, cost effectiveness of publication processes, ownership, accreditation through peer review
(b) Section and ISI conferences:
1. Development of statistical ideas, theory, methods and practice, alongside topic/specialisation conference (on line, multilingual, UN paper by joint councils)
2. Collective thinking about ethical challenges and principles of oversight
3. Development of young statisticians
4. Generation of revenue stream for ISI
5. Capacity to increase African/Asian/South American involvement
6. Information-based development of Session organisation and form
7. Joint session with rotating group of international societies (ISI Hong Kong Session onwards)
(c) Training and development sessions
The ISI web needs to be a brilliant website, given its role
Other uses of the internet could include real time contact, blog, chat rooms
(d) Newsletters and updates
(e) The website and Internet
1. In view of its increasingly important role, the ISI’s web site needs to be first rate
2. Other uses of the internet could include real time contact (audio and visual), blogs, chat rooms, …
3. In what ways might people belong to the ISI?
We need to strengthen the membership base of the ISI family among those who work in business, industry and commerce, those who live in less developed countries, and among young statisticians.
Open membership simplifies and broadens the ways in which people can participate in the diverse activities of the ISI.
We will continue to have special arrangements for
1. affiliated bodies,
2. current elected ISI Members,
3. corporate members
4. future elected Fellows, who will be our most distinguished members.
The Executive recognises the unique and vital role played by National Statistical Offices in helping the ISI operate. We see further opportunity for extending the relationship, for example in making initial contact with young statisticians as they embark on their careers in Statistics. We see having a variety of forms of affiliation as assisting younger statistician in particular, who might not see a need to join ISI but they may still want to participate in some ISI activities eg conferences. We can do some things that link them to the ISI even though they are not members. They may become members in the future or contribute to the ISI through Conference participation.
4. How should the ISI family of organisations evolve?
The restructuring report makes it clear that moving to open membership is a first critical step that leads to rethinking relationships across Sections and current structures of the ISI.
Experiences and ideas from international societies in scientific, educational, legal, and medical professional fields may provide exemplars of good practice for us.
The ISI family has links with other statistical bodies, such as the IUSSP, IAIW, International Biometric Society, International Econometrics society and we may expect to share issue focused sessions with such bodies in the future.
The Sections of the ISI have evolved to be the main platforms for maintaining the dynamism of the ISI in specific fields of Statistics, and this needs to be reinforced in the evolution of the ISI family. Having a reasonably informal specification of the scope of interest of each ISI Section is seen as a strength of the existing arrangements that should be continued.
At present, the most common route to membership of the ISI family is to join a Section. The significance of the role of Sections in building membership needs to be fully supported as the ISI evolves.
Once open membership of the ISI has been introduced, national statistical societies may provide another important pathway to ISI membership.
5. How should the ISI relate to national statistical societies?
Successful pursuit of the ISI mission should make the ISI a highly valued international partner for national statistical societies and a well-used forum for international engagement, linkages and resources. We could do this through:
1. promoting sound statistical practice in all fields of scientific endeavour and public decision-making
2. enhancing linkages to other fields of scientific endeavour
3. identifying the role of Statistics in the societal questions of the time
4. bringing first-hand contact with international statistical leaders (video top speeches, short reviews, peer review processes)
5. enhancing the breadth of international accumulation of ideas, skills, knowledge know-how
6. sharing good practice in marketing, planning, recruitment for professional societies,
7. providing a congenial and challenging environment to evolve ideas and developments that span the globe, across the spectrum of statistical activity
8. sharing teaching materials and practices
9. providing an international job network, facilitating international exchange programmes for young statisticians
6. How should the ISI fund its activities?
• Potential versus actual revenue of each funding source
• increase Session surplus revenue returned to ISI
• recognise the ISI’s web site as a major area of investment in a service that will generally be free to use
• subscriptions reflect benefits that members receive, and any change in the contribution of member subscriptions to the ISI’s revenue will depend on increases in member numbers. We do not forsee any significant increases in the level of fees paid by members, and indeed seek to reduce our reliance on them.
• ISI funds will be in invested in such a way as to provide predictable income with low to medium risk. It is this income stream that will be dedicated to target development initiatives consistent with the Strategic Plan.
• publications should be a predictable source of revenue
• institutional memberships should provide a major source of revenue, with a clear matching of contributions to specific activities, so that institutional members can see how their contribution is valued
• we need to spend some resources to establish a clear understanding of what rewards from sponsorships and advertising the ISI might reasonably expect, and any implications of apparent endorsements
7. Are there better ways for this international society of statisticians to manage its ongoing activities?
1. The General Assembly, the ISI and the ISI Council need to take greater advantage of the Internet to be more responsive in making changes to Statutes and in addressing other fundamental issues
2. Both the Executive and the Council could meet more frequently through telecommunications
(b) Role of the ISI Permanent Office
Based on its experience, the ISI Executive recognises the pivotal role of the Permanent Office in managing administrative affairs and membership, in helping assure continuity of leadership provided by elected officers, and in building and maintaining corporate memory. Specific important tasks are to
1. support the integrity of operational planning both annually and year-to-year
2. manage ISI membership
3. enable formal governance processes
4. facilitate member committees
5. manage web site
6. manage regular communication processes (newsletters)
7. ongoing oversight of publication activities
8. Section services
9. manage financial affairs of ISI Sections
ISI – Economic and Financial Characteristics and Trends
The purpose of this small note is to give a simplified description of the structure of the ISI and a profile of its financial situation. The ISI is basically a membership organisation with fees paid by the members. In addition to individual members, there are institutions that are institutional or ex officio members. The members elect the Executive Committee, which is responsible for the management and finances, together with the permanent secretariat, known as the ‘ISI Permanent Office’.
An important characteristic of the ISI is the ISI Sections. There are at present 6 Sections (plus one ‘transitional Section’, the Irving Fisher Society [IFS], which does not have any financial ramifications for the ISI). One of the 6 Sections, the International Association for Survey Statistics (IASS) is not administered by the ISI Permanent Office, and as their financial report for the 2005-2006 period has not yet been received, they are not included in this analysis. ISI Sections could be seen to represent statistical specialties or as ‘departments’ of the ISI. The Sections are at the same time both integrated in the ISI and operate as organisations with autonomy. Members of the ISI have the right to choose to be automatic members of one of the Sections. The Sections will, in addition, have members who are direct Section members – and these direct Section members are not elected members of the ISI.
The Sections have economic autonomy from the ISI but with strong links in common projects (e.g. ISI Sessions) and some of the publications are interlinked (e.g. the ISI Newsletter). The ISI Permanent Office performs administrative services on behalf of the ISI. The ISI Permanent Office conducts administrative and accounting work for most of the Sections (the above-mentioned IASS and IFS being the only exceptions). Such administrative work for the Sections will be covered by payment/transfers from the Sections to the ISI.
The main activities in the ISI may be listed as follows: membership services, the provision of information to members; Sessions, conferences and seminars; publications.
After several years of growing concern for the ISI’s economic situation, the ISI Finance Committee was established during the ISI Sydney Session in 2005. The Finance Committee has further developed the accounts and budgets in collaboration with the ISI Permanent Office. Actions have been taken to introduce better links between activity planning and budgets, making it easier to identify costs and revenues by activities. One basic aim has been to identify eventual elements of cross-subsidising between Sections or activity programmes.
The ISI Members and Sections
The total number of members in the ISI family is a little less than 4,000. More than half of these are ISI elected members. These ISI members have the right to be a member of a Section. We see that around 40 per cent of the ISI members are not linked to a Section as a member.
For some Sections (like the IASS), the dominant part is composed of ISI members. For some Sections, members are distributed equally between the ISI and the Sections. For the Bernoulli Society and the IASC, the majority of their members are Section members.
The basic revenue item for the ISI is membership fees and contributions from ex officio members (56 per cent), and from publications (43 per cent).
Annual contributions in 2006 from corporate/ex officio members are presently at € 148,643 vs. € 102,368 from individual members. The percentage of revenues from the corporate sector is high and has been increasing.
The average revenue from individual members calculated per member is € 51.20. Institutional revenues exceed revenues from members. The institutional revenue per individual member is € 68.
The major expenditure item is wage costs. Wages may also be distributed among activities (membership, publications, Sections, and Sessions).
For some years, there has been a concern that the yearly annual result of the ISI is negative, such that expenditures exceed income. For example, in 2006, income was € 92,000 less than the expenditure but when a positive income from capital (€ 41,000) is accounted for, the yearly result is reduced to minus € 50,000.
Expenditures have been higher than incomes for several years, with the expectation that investment income would compensate this imbalance, which has not always been the case. As a result of cost reduction decisions, the expenditures have been reduced, but still with a yearly negative result. There has been a downsizing of staff with a reduction in wage costs as well as some other cost reductions (e.g. office costs).
The budget for the next two years foresees a net negative result. At present, there is no reason to expect a stable increase in capital income (while income in 2006 has risen by 6.7%, it is not expected that this trend will continue). With a negative annual net result – the opposite should be expected since this reduces the capital balance.
In recent years, there has been a major restructuring of publications. At present (focussing on 2006 figures), we see that the net financial result from the publications programme is positive. This is a result of reduced printing costs and lower wage costs. One element worth noting is the unpaid work done by ISI/Section members in different positions working on behalf of the publications programme. The major publications, from an economic point of view, are the journals Bernoulli and the International Statistical Review.
ISI elected members may select one Section for membership. Some are solely members of Sections and then the full membership fee goes only to the Section. Some administrative costs are however charged by the ISI Permanent Office.
The ISI Permanent Office performs administrative work (secretariat functions) for the Sections. In the present financial model, the Section is charged for this work based on a system for distributing the real cost for the secretariat. This system is complicated but essentially personnel costs are charged to the non-ISI Section members at € 10/€ 5 per member (developed/developing country); other costs are charged proportionally according to the amount of non-ISI Section members (e.g. postage, bank charges); while for some cost items, there is a sharing based upon an agreed distribution formula (e.g. office equipment, computer costs).
The revenues from members varies between the Sections on a per member basis, some having higher revenues per member than the ISI and others having less.
Individual member revenue
Member revenue per member
Institutional member income
per individual member (€)
Some of the Sections will also have revenues from institutional members. For the IAOS, the level of institutional revenues are close to the same relative level as for the ISI. Other Sections have no institutional revenues.
The 2006 annual results for the Sections, in Euros, are:
If we regard the ISI and Sections as members of the same family – the total financial result is positive (+ € 18,736) in 2006 (without including IASS results).
The yearly administrative costs for Sections are as follows. This will be mostly paid to the ISI secretariat.
Cost per member in the ISI Sections (in Euros)
Cost per Section member
The ‘Balance Sheet’ for the ISI has a balance of € 3,292,729 with an equity fund of € 2,382,780. For each Section, there is also a balance sheet.
Capital income as percentage
The table above shows that the full capital base for the ISI family is € 2,796,973. The capital income compared with the capital base shows a rather modest average interest rate for the ISI and the Sections. One could use these figures to consider the potential for solving the economic challenge by seeking investments with higher interest rates. If the average interest rate as an example was at 4 per cent, capital income would have increased sufficiently to balance the yearly result for the ISI.
The Work in the Financial Committee
The Committee was established at the ISI General Assembly in Sydney in 2005. The task for the Finance Committee was to give advice to the EC and Permanent Office on the financial situation of the ISI. Integrated in this work has been the work of improving the budgets and accounts. One part of this has been to build an integrated system for budgets and activity-planning and with a link to the evaluation of accounting results while linking this to activity-planning.
The Finance Committee has pointed out that a full overview of the ISI financial situation including the Sections could be helpful.
A report from the Restructuring Committee of the ISI has been discussed by the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee did focus on the transactions between ISI and the Sections. The Finance Committee could note that, at present, there are no basic inequities or elements of cross-subsidising in these transactions.
Chair, ISI Finance Committee
ISI Special Panel Session
Global Statistical Infrastructure (GSI): Opportunities and Challenges
Thursday, 23 August, 11:45 to 13:15 hours (room TBA)
We are pleased to announce a special panel session jointly organized by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) and the Portuguese National Statistical Institute (INE-Portugal).
Over the past 60 years since the inception of the UN Statistical Commission, a growing body of international standards and guidelines governing global official statistics have been developed and endorsed. Codes of conducts have been established through the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics and the Principles Governing International Statistics. Countries are working together to establish a system of official statistics that is internationally comparable and of the highest quality. International agencies are actively collaborating to facilitate and supplement this global system of official statistics.
There are many elements that help bring the global statistical system together and ensure its effective functioning. The elements are loosely grouped under the label Global Statistical Infrastructure. This special panel discussion will describe and assess the role of the infrastructure in strengthening the Global Statistical System, pointing out the opportunities and challenges faced by national and international stakeholders.
Please come join the representatives from countries, international and supranational agencies and the private sector presenting different perspectives on their work on GSI: INEGI-Mexico, presenting a project to bring all international methodologies together into one web portal to ensure that all statistical offices in Mexico can follow the same sets of standards; Eurostat, describing their SDMX initiative showing how IT is indeed a key component of the GSI and presenting how rapid advancements can be made; IBM, elaborating on the potential role of the private sector on the development of GSI. ABS and Statistics Portugal will comment on the role of information technology and the role of countries in the evolution of global standards.
Alda Carvalho, President, INE-Portugal
Paul Cheung, Director, UNSD
1. Brian Pink, Australian Statistician, Australia
2. Gilberto Calvillo, President, INEGI, Mexico
3. Pedro Diaz, Director, IT and Methodology Division, Eurostat
4. Christopher Hoenig, Senior Vice-President, Global Strategy, IBM
5. Fernanda Perpetuo, Manager of Information System, INE-Portugal
57th ISI Session in Durban, South Africa
Proposals Welcome for the Invited Papers Programme
Please note that the deadline for submissions is on August 10, 2007!
The ISI Programme Co-ordinating Committee under the Chairmanship of John Kovar (email@example.com), the ISI General Topics Committee under the chairmanship of Dennis Trewin (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Local Programme Committee under the chairmanship of Timothy Dunne (TDunne@stats.uct.ac.za) are working on the preparation of the Scientific Programme for the 2009 ISI Session in Durban.
If you have not already done so, all ISI Section members are urged to submit proposals for Invited Paper Meetings to their own Section Programme Committee Chair (the names and e-mail addresses of these individuals are indicated below).
All ISI and Section members are also urged to submit non-Section related proposals for Invited Paper Meetings to the ISI General Topics Committee now! The General Topics Committee ensures that those areas of statistics that are not covered by the ISI Sections are represented in the Invited Papers Programme. Proposals should be sent to: email@example.com
The various Programme Committee representatives are as follows:
Scientific Programme Committee Chairs:
• ISI Programme Co-ordinating Committee: John Kovar - firstname.lastname@example.org
• ISI General Topics Committee: Dennis Trewin - email@example.com
• IASC Programme Committee: Dr. Yutaka Tanaka - firstname.lastname@example.org
• IASS Programme Committee: Leyla Mohadjer - LeylaMohadjer@Westat.com
• IAOS Programme Committee: Nancy McBeth - Nancy.McBeth@stats.govt.nz
• Bernoulli Society Programme Committee: Prof. Dr. Ursula Gather - email@example.com
• IASE Programme Committee: Prof. Helen MacGillivray - firstname.lastname@example.org
• IASC Programme Committee: Prof. Stanley Azen - email@example.com
• ISBIS Programme Committee: Prof. Vijay Nair - firstname.lastname@example.org
Standardized forms have been developed upon which contributors can indicate their official Invited Paper Proposal.
These forms can be accessed from this web page: http://isi.cbs.nl/09session/InvitedPapers.htm
Members who do not have access to Internet should contact the ISI Permanent Office for the proposal forms, or to obtain the postal addresses and/or telephone or fax numbers of any of the above-mentioned individuals.
News of Members
Professor Howell Tong
ISI elected and Bernoulli Society member Professor Howell Tong was awarded the Royal Statistical Society’s Guy Medal in Silver 2007. Professor Tong received this award in recognition of his many important contributions to time series analysis over a distinguished career, and in particular for his fundamental and highly influential paper Threshold autoregression, limit cycles and cyclical data, read to the RSS in 1980. This paper paved the way for a major body of work in non-linear time series modelling. The Guy Medal, inaugurated in 1893, is normally awarded annually.
Professor Dr. Frank Hampel
Professor Dr. Frank Hampel, ISI elected and Bernoulli Society member, received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Dortmund's Department of Statistics on 22nd of March 2007. The ceremony was followed by a workshop on the next day.
Dr. B.M. Golam Kibria
Dr. B.M. Golam Kibria, President of the South Florida Chapter of the American Statistical Association, has been appointed as an Overseas Managing Editor for the Journal of Statistical Research (JSR). JSR is an official publication of the Institute of Statistical Research and Training (ISRT) at the University of Dhaka since 1970. Dr. Kibria is also the Coordinating Editor for Journal of Probability and Statistics Science. He is an elected member of the ISI and a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.
The foundation stone for C.R. Rao Advanced Institute for Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science was laid by Dr. C. Rangarajan, Economics Advisor to the Prime Minister of India on February 20th, 2007, on the campus of the University of Hyderabad. The Institute was established on a suggestion made by Professor C.R. Rao, Eberly Professor Emeritus of Statistics at Penn State and ISI Honorary member, for promoting basic research in mathematical sciences leading to technological innovations and acceleration of economic prosperity.
Professor C.R. Rao
The mission of the Institute is to disseminate advances made in mathematical sciences by conducting workshops, international and national conferences and short courses on newly emerging areas of science and technology, guiding PhD students and providing consultancy services to research workers in other disciplines, and to government and industrial organisations. The Institute will endeavor to work in cutting edge areas of mathematics, statistics and computer science and will provide a forum for national and international experts in different areas to meet and discuss problems of mutual interest.
On the occasion of the foundation stone laying ceremony, messages of goodwill and congratulations were received from the President of India, the President of USA, the Prime Minister of India and the President of the International Indian Statistical Association.
The ISI regrets to announce the death of our colleagues:
Born Elected Deceased
Professor Lincoln E. Moses
17 December 2006
Ms. Heidi Arboleda
5 February 2007
Professor Dr. Jack C. Lee
2 March 2007
6 April 2007
Professor Dr. José Luis Sánchez-Crespo
Prof. Dr. José Luis Sánchez-Crespo passed away on Thursday, the sixth of April at one o’clock in the afternoon. His passing was short and peaceful. His illness lasted one month and we thought he was going to recover. Unfortunately, he suffered a heart attack.
Professionally, after receiving a math degree from Complutense University in Madrid in 1944, he became Professor of Analytical Geometry at that same University. Then, in 1948, he began working for the Spanish Statistical Institute, where he remained a great number of years. During 10 of those years, he worked as General Chief of Sampling and Census. At the Spanish Statistical Institute, he developed an extraordinary body of work. As well as working for the Spanish Statistical Institute, he taught Mathematical Statistics in Economic and Managerial Services for the Autonomous University of Madrid, where he spent his remaining years.
Internationally, he developed great activity in the field of co-operation and international technical attendance, especially to the service of the World Health Organisation. From 1960 to 1966, he worked for the WHO in different places, he directed surveys in regions in South Africa, Egypt, South America and finally at their headquarters in Geneva. He was hired by WHO to run a Seminar of Sampling in Bogotá, Colombia (1976). He participated in the Analysis of Systems in Statistical Vital regarding Public Health in Mexico (1977). He was elected President of the Nominations Committee of the International Association of Survey Statisticians (IASS), elected at the 41st Session of the ISI (New Delhi, 1977). He was an invited professor during the first sampling meeting, which took place in the Metropolitan Autonomous University of Mexico (1978), and in the meetings of Statistics of the Central University of Venezuela (Caracas, 1978). He developed a series of conferences in the State Committee of Statistics of Cuba at the University of the Havana (1979). He was an invited presenter during the 42nd Session of the ISI (Manila, 1979) and an invited professor for the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil, 1980), as well as during the second meeting of the Ibero-American Committee of Sampling. He was President of the Programme Committee of the IASS for the Session of the International Statistical Institute (ISI) in 1981 (Buenos Aires). He was Vice-President of the Programme Co-ordinating Committee of the ISI at the Session in Madrid (1983). He was especially proud to have been elected Vice-President of the International Association of Survey Statisticians (IASS, 1983-85) and a member of the Terminology Committee of the IASS. Regarding the five books and many papers he wrote, he was also especially proud of one of his research papers about a scheme of sampling with partial replacement in probabilities proportional to size (which was published by the Journal of Official Statistics, December, Vol.13, No.4, 1997) in the field he loved most, the pps sampling strategies and superpopulation models (http://www.jos.nu/Contents/issue.asp?vol=13&no=4).
ISI Nominations Committee
ISI members are welcome to contact any of the ISI Nominations Committee members should they wish to make suggestions for the posts of President-Elect, Vice-Presidents and Council members of the ISI, to be considered for the next round of the ISI elections. The Nominations Committee is composed of the following individuals:
Lutz Edler, Chair: email@example.com
Eric Schulte Nordholt, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Kiregyera, email@example.com
Byung Soo Kim, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stanley Azen, email@example.com
Michael Sørensen, firstname.lastname@example.org
María del Carmen Fabrizio, email@example.com
Awards, Prizes and Competitions
Initiated and financially supported by the Government of India, the biennial ‘Mahalanobis Prize’ serves to honour the memory of Professor P.C. Mahalanobis by recognising the lifetime contribution of selected statisticians from developing countries who have earned their reputation in developing countries. Previous winners of this Prize include Prof. C.R. Rao and Prof. Ben Kiregyera. We are proud to announce that the winner of the third edition of the Mahalanobis Prize is Dr. Isidoro P. David from the Philippines. We congratulate Dr. David on this well deserved recognition, and also thank the Mahalanobis Prize Jury, chaired by Prof. Lynne Billard, for their efforts. The Right Honourable Shri G.K. Vasan, the Indian Minister of State for Statistics & Programme Implementation will confer the Mahalanobis Prize upon Dr. David in a special ceremony during the ISI General Assembly on August 28. Please attend the ISI General Assembly and witness this special event!
Dr. Isidoro P. David
Jan Tinbergen Prize
One of the fundamental objectives of the ISI is to define and institute a constructive role for the ISI in supporting the development of young statisticians. With this in mind, we are delighted to announce the following winners of the ISI Jan Tinbergen Award, named after the famous Dutch econometrician:
• Mrs. Archana.V. (India)
• Caio Lucidius Naberezny Azevedo (Brazil)
• Lishamol Tomy, Muthirakalayil (India)
In addition to a cash prize, generously provided by the Dutch ‘Stichting Internationaal Statistisch Studiefonds’, these three individuals will receive support to enable their participation at the Lisboa Session and present their winning papers at a special Invited Paper Meeting (IPM 93) on Tuesday, August 28 from 13:15-15:30 hours. We are grateful to the Jan Tinbergen Jury, composed of Willem Albers (Chair), Eric Schulte Nordholt and Christian Genest for their work in selecting the award winners.
ISI Service Certificates Committee Recipients
The ISI Service Certificates Committee, chaired by Sir David Cox, has announced the recipients of this year’s ISI Service Certificates, a token of the ISI’s appreciation of the many years of service ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ that these select individuals have made to the ISI:
• Bovas Abraham (Canada)
• Jae C. Lee (Korea)
• Ank Lepping (The Netherlands)
• Bart Meganck (Belgium)
• Eugene Seneta (Australia)
• William Smith (USA)
Jae C. Lee
Please join us at the ISI General Assembly in Lisboa to applaud these 6 deserving ISI Service Certificate recipients.
World Bank Fund
We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the World Bank Group, which has generously provided financial support to enable a significant number of young statisticians from developing countries to attend the Lisboa Session. We are grateful to the selection jury (René Smulders, Eric Schulte Nordholt and Jelke Bethlehem) for their assistance in judging the many applications. The authors of the deserving papers will be provided with support from the World Bank Fund.
ISI Committee Matters
ISI Professional Ethics Committee
An Invitation to Attend the Open Meeting in Lisboa on the Ethics Declaration – August 22, 2007 (13:15 to 15:30, just before the Opening Ceremony.
The ISI Professional Ethics Committee held a one-day conference on Ethics issues March 26, 2007, in Paris, kindly hosted by ADETEF, the co-operation agency of the French Ministry of Economy, Finances and Industry. The following day, the Committee met to discuss preparations for the Open Meeting, which is scheduled to be held on August 22 (13:15 to 15:30) at the ISI Session in Lisboa, and to plan future activities. This note summarizes the Committee meeting discussions and describes plans for the Open Meeting.
The primary purpose of the Open Meeting is to review the current Ethics Declaration <http://isi.cbs.nl/ethics.htm> with the membership. The Committee is seeking feedback on possible changes that might make the Declaration more current or relevant to their professional environment. The Open Meeting will commence with a panel discussion by several members focussing on ethical dilemmas that they or their colleagues have faced. After reviewing the current wording with the attendees, the panel members will be asked to comment on the current Declaration and reflect on its value in helping to resolve the dilemmas they described. ISI Section Presidents will be contacted to invite their members to attend this important Open Meeting.
The Committee is exploring several other avenues that may help to increase the awareness of ethics in our profession. Departments of Statistics will be contacted to learn whether ethics is taught in classes and whether such classes are required or elective. The ethics statements of some two dozen other professional organizations and societies have been reviewed to identify potential changes to the ISI Declaration and links to these statements may be added to the ISI website. The chairs of these societies’ Ethics Committees will be invited to join an e-mail list, where ideas and activities can be exchanged. Several Committee members are examining the ethics statements of Market Research Societies to determine the relevance of our Declaration to this segment of our membership. The Committee is considering the desirability of designating an ISI Ombudsman for ethical issues. The distinction between the Declaration of Ethics and a Code of Good Practice was discussed at the meeting. This was stimulated by Jean-Michel Charpin’s, the Director General of INSEE, discussion of the EU Code of Practice during the one-day conference. The desirability of the ISI having a Code of Good Practice was discussed.
We welcome your participation at the Open Meeting on August 22 in Lisboa, and look forward to your presence.
ISI Professional Ethics Committee
Historical Anniversaries: Karl Pearson (1857-1936)
Born in London in 1857, on March 27, Karl Pearson is one of the founders of the theory of mathematical statistics. Educated at University College School, he was a scholar at Kings College, Cambridge. He took with honours the Mathematics Tripos examination in 1879 and, subsequently, received a fellowship for seven years.
Mr. Karl Pearson
During that seven-year period, Karl Pearson took interest in many fields: mathematics, evidently, but also philosophy, physics and metaphysics, law, folklore and literature, history of religion and social problems. His early publications – The New Werther (1880), The Trinity: A Nineteenth Century Passion Play (1882), Die Fronica (1887), The Ethic of Freethought (1886) – belong to these non mathematical fields, to which he devoted much attention, in particular, during his stays in Germany.
He was appointed to the Chair of Mechanism and Applied Mathematics at University College in 1884 and proved his interest in the history of sciences by completing in 1886 Todhunter’s History of the Theory of Elasticity, after the death of his teacher. Karl Pearson was among founding members of a club established in 1885 and devoted to the discussion of “all matters connected with the mutual position and relation of men and women”. There he met Marie Sharpe, whom he married in 1890; they had three children: Sigrid, Helga and Egon who also was to play an important role in statistics. Shortly after his marriage, he accepted a teaching position, the Gresham Chair of Geometry; the first eight lectures resulted in a new important book: The Grammar of Science, published in 1892.
Two events triggered Karl Pearson’s interest for statistics: the publication of Galton’s Natural Inheritance in 1889 and the same year, the arrival at University College of W.F.R. Weldon, appointed to the Chair of Zoology. This new colleague soon became a close friend. The study of shrimp and shore crab data set collected by Weldon initiated important publications from 1893. The first one concerns the method of moments as a means of curve fitting asymmetrical distributions. These publications have been collected under the title: Contributions to the Mathematical Theory of Evolution. He introduced, in this way, what was to become known as the Pearson family of frequency curves. His interest in this field and the success of his Gresham lectures inspired Pearson to teach statistics at University College London from 1894. It is also important to say that Galton supported Pearson from 1885 to his death in 1911 and helped him with the founding of Biometrika.
By 1895, Pearson worked out the properties of the product-moment correlation coefficient and simple regression. Till 1922, he introduced other concepts in this field: curvilinear relationships, multiple regression, multiple and partial correlation, tetrachoric, biserial and polychoric correlation. He invented the chi-square test in 1900 and applied it to test goodness-of-fit for frequency curves before extending its use in 1904 to testing for independence in contingency tables.
Already in his Gresham lectures, Pearson introduced a number of new words and expressions now belonging to standard terminology: histogram, standard deviation, etc., and later: coefficient of variation, standard error of an estimate, etc.; as well as other concepts that did not survive. The practice of statistics was also important for him. He was the initiator of many statistical tables and organised the publication of the Tables for Statisticians and Biometricians in 1914.
His Department of Applied Statistics (including the Biometric Laboratory and the Eugenic Laboratory built up with the help of Galton) attracted many students (Yule, Gosset, Filon, etc.) and foreign visitors; it is also witnessed many controversies, often instigated by Pearson himself, the best known being his dispute with Ronald Fisher.
Karl Pearson resigned in 1933. His department was split into two parts: the Department of Eugenics under the responsibility of R.A. Fisher and the Department of Statistics that was taken over by his own son Egon. A most prolific writer, he published more than 650 papers, of which 400 are in the area of statistics. He died in 1936, on April 27, in Coldharbour, Surrey, England.
Christiaan Huygens Committee on the History of Statistics
Memories of the ISI's Past
Participants of the 29th ISI Session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1955
visit the "Cristo Redentor" monument, the symbol of Rio de Janeiro.
International Statistical Literacy Project (ISLP)
Activities of the ISLP in Portugal, August 2007
You are all invited: The International Statistical Literacy Project (ISLP) of the IASE/ISI has as its mail goal to inform on and promote statistical literacy of teachers, students, journalists, government workers, adults and citizens in general. The ISLP has several activities planned for August 2007 and would like to invite you to participate in them.
Statistical Literacy Competition of students in northern Portugal: First of all, there is a competition on Statistical Literacy resembling the game “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”, among several school students in northern Portugal. This will take place from August 15-19 in local school areas. The semi-final will take place in Guimaraes, during the IASE Satellite Conference on Assessing Student Learning in Statistics (August 19-21). The final will take place at the ISI Session in Lisboa, on Monday, August 27th, 12:15-13:15 during the last part of the ISLP Open Meeting “Actions to Reach the Statistically Illiterate: The Role of the International Statistical Literacy Project”. Join us on August 27, 11:45-13:15, for a unique experience in statistical literacy. During the first part, we will discuss other very interesting actions to reach the statistically illiterate. Details of the competition, such as brochures sent to the students and training games, can be found on the ISLP website hosted by the University of Auckland, New Zealand (http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/~iase/islp/). We are very lucky to have project ALEA for students to use and to be cooperating with Pedro Campos of the INE without whom we could not have initiated this game.
ISLP/IASE/SERJ booth: You will also find details of this competition and other activities of the ISLP, IASE and SERJ at the booth that we will have during the ISI Session. The final programme of ISI56 will give more details on the place.
5K ISLP race: This race will take place during the second half of the ISI Session. You can register at the ISLP/IASE/SERJ booth. The cost is US$25. Proceeds will go to the ISLP Statistical Literacy Competition Fund managed by the ISI. A bus will pick you up from your hotel at 5:30 AM and you will be back at your hotel in time to attend the meetings. There are prizes for first, second and third places to be unveiled at the end of the race. You don’t need to have a world record to participate.
Statistical Literacy Competition for Adults: The ISLP will host one evening of competition and fun at a local restaurant in Lisboa. Registration information and the location can be found at the ISLP/IASE/SRJ booth in Lisboa. You may use the games posted on the ISLP site to start preparing. Be aware that you will need to know about Portuguese data to do well in these games.
Presentations: If you are not too familiar with the ISLP, please plan to attend some of the informative sessions in Guimaraes (August 19-21), where there will be a presentation and a poster; and in Lisboa, there will be a contributed session.
The ISLP supports the historical move of CensusAtSchool towards a common questionnaire opened to children of all countries in the world, a common website and common database.
During March 26-29, five countries (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom) that have hosted the CensusAtSchool during the past 5 years met in Melbourne, Australia, to plan the common future of the project and its expansion to other countries in the world. The sincere commitment of those managing the project in these countries to increase statistical literacy in the world and to adapt the projects already existing in their countries to the rapidly evolving data analysis and data visualization methods and pedagogy was unprecedented and paradigm breaking.
CensusAtSchool in these countries provides teachers and students unique opportunities to use the Internet for learning across the curriculum via data handling and informal statistics, increase literacy, create awareness of the national census and public data, and learn about children in other parts of the world. A handful of passionate and dedicated people and their institutions (Australia Bureau of Statistics, Statistics New Zealand, University of Auckland, Ministry of Education in New Zealand, Statistics Canada, Statistics South Africa, Royal Statistical Society and NES) are continually working with teachers and providing them with activities to use the data and make children aware of the power of data analysis. The meeting in March was hosted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which has had one of the most successful CensusAtSchool outcomes in 2005 and which will from now on be considered the birth place of the future CensusAtSchool.
The CensusAtSchool project was initiated a long time ago by Sharleen Forbes in New Zealand. Its modern form started in the United Kingdom at the Royal Statistical Society under the supervision of Neville Davies and Doreen Connor. It consisted of students in schools doing an online survey about themselves, and then drawing random samples from all students participating to analyze the data and learn about themselves. Thousands of students in numerous schools participated. For the analysis of their data, the RSS prepared activities that teachers could use to direct the students on the right track. After the UK came Australia, then Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. Until now, each country has developed its own questionnaires for the survey, its own data analyzing methods, and its own activities for students and teachers. During the March meeting, the countries agreed to create an international website that will allow schools from countries all over the world to fill out a common international questionnaire in their own language with a common set of questions for all countries and activities that all countries can use. Students from all over the world will be able to do comparative data analysis of themselves, and consequently learn more about how they compare. The launch of this international site will take place within approximately one year. For more information on the different CensusAtSchool projects, visit the ISLP website dedicated to these projects (http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/~iase/islp/census).
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News from ISI sections Volume 31, No. 2 (92) 2007
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