Dear colleague, This, the June 2014 issue of the Statistical Journal of the IAOS, like the second issue last year, is completely open to all. The iss

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Dear colleague,

This, the June 2014 issue of the Statistical Journal of the IAOS, like the second issue last year, is completely open to all. The issue is not just for members of the IAOS but for everyone.

Lars Thygesen

The issue begins with a Skype interview with Lars Thygesen from Denmark. The interview concentrates mainly on his seminal role in starting the modern census movement back in the 1970's. In the interview Lars talks about the early days of the still growing modern Census movement that now relies as much as possible on existing data, rather than, as traditionally, direct collection.

The idea that he and his team had, was to use population registers rather than ask many of the same questions a second time in a census. Of course, there is a lot more to the idea, when you get into the details and address quality and timing issues, etc. But, bottom line, in the end the Thygesen Team was able to greatly reduce both data collection cost and respondent burden. Since those early days the idea has expanded as it moved from country to country but always substituting, where possible, administrative/operating record data in place of directly collected items. Simple in concept; but, as they say, the devil is in the details. Or, as we would say in this case anyway, God was in the details...

The rest of the June issue concerns data access -- not a new topic for an official statistician. Important enough to be given this level of attention (however, still without a general solution! Your turn?):

(1) First, there is a full set of papers on general statistical access considerations submitted by the guest editor, Murray Cameron, from Australia. If you are as experienced as we are, you may feel that there is nothing new to say. At least in our case, though, there was still a lot to learn. You be the judge?

(2) Second, there are multiple papers on both macro (Yang et al.) and micro (Abowd et al.) protection tools that minimize the re-identification risk of data that must be protected. Both teams employed mixed methods, but centered on the use of synthetic (e.g.,fully imputed) data. The work was so innovative, in fact, that the Abowd team will be receiving the 19th Roger Herriot Innovation Award later this year when the American Statistical Association celebrates its 175th year of operation (in Boston) this August.

One last observation? Notice this issue was labeled the "Innovation Issue." Why? Isn't every issue innovative? Well, "Yes" and "No." Every issue of this journal is full of new ideas that may lead to innovations in our work. But here we are describing, in brief, new paradigms that are of proven worth -- already tested and ready for adapting to your use. You won't be disappointed.

Best wishes,

Fritz Scheuren
Editor in Chief

Senior Fellow and Vice President
Center for Excellence in Survey Research
NORC at the University of Chicago


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