Official statistics: Quo vadis?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionStatistical Journal of the IAOS. 2023, 39 (1), 39-45. 10.3233/SJI-220100
The data revolution has resulted in discussions in the statistical community on the future of official statistics. Will official statistics survive as a brand, or will such statistics drown in the flow of data and statistics from new sources and actors, including misused statistics and fake news? The COVID-19 pandemic has been an additional driver for discussion. There is a need to maintain the quality of official statistics and highlight the value of such statistics for the users as a basis for – and supplement to – other statistics and information. It is at the same time important to implement new developments to improve and keep up the relevance of official statistics. Key pillars today are statistical legislation, quality frameworks and core values defining requirements for official statistics. Possibilities are linked to new statistics, use of new data sources and possible extended roles of the statistical institutes within coordination, collaboration, and data stewardship. The paper addresses these issues in the light of trends in official statistics since the UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics were formulated about 30 years ago. Quality challenges for statistics and dilemmas in defining the roles of statistical institutes are considered. The paper includes examples from Statistics Norway. Keywords: Official statistics, data revolution, coordination, cooperation, data stewardship