Well, the results have been announced so I am now somewhat at liberty to discuss my thoughts on the submissions to the RSS Excellence in Statistical Journalism Awards. There were some very worthy winners.
Throughout history, engineers, medical doctors and other applied scientists have helped convert basic science discoveries into products, public goods and policy that have greatly improved our quality of life. With rare exceptions, it has taken years if not decades to establish these discoveries. And even the exceptions stand on the shoulders of incremental contributions. The researchers that produce this knowledge go through a slow and painstaking process to reach these achievements.
In a recent entry on these pages, Martin Goodson talked about how analytics was done before anyone had heard of 'data scientists', and one of the pioneering companies he mentioned was Reader's Digest. I'd like to fill in some of the blanks about what the company did in the early days of data led marketing, and how those early models evolved into the data science of today.
The history of human experiments often focuses on biomedical research and the gradual changes in acceptable practice and ethical considerations. But another class of human experiments that has had its own share of controversies is the study of human behaviour.
‘A world that counts’ is a cleverly crafted motivational manifest. This is the title given to a UN report on how data can be utilised the monitor progress with the oncoming sustainable development goals (SDGs). But it is not a practical roadmap towards applying a ‘data revolution’ to this agenda.