Data Science and Official Statistics: Toward a New Data Culture

Essay by Stefan Schweinfest and Ronald Jansen: “In the digital age, data are generated continuously by many different devices and are being used by many different actors. National statistical offices (NSOs) should benefit from these opportunities to improve data for decision-making. What could be the expanding role for official statistics in this context and how does this relate to emerging disciplines like data science? This article explores some new ideas. In the avalanche of new data, society may need a data steward, and the NSO could take on that role, while paying close attention to the protection of privacy. Data science will become increasingly important for extracting meaningful information from large amounts of data. NSOs will need to hire data scientists and data engineers and will need to train their staff in these fast-developing fields. NSOs will also need to clearly communicate new and experimental data and foster a good understanding of statistics. Collaboration of official statistics with the private sector, academia, and civil society will be the new way of working and the fundamental principles of official statistics may have to apply to all those actors. This article envisions that we are gradually working toward such a new data culture…(More)”.