George Osborne has asked former Bank of England chief economist and deputy governor Charlie Bean to lead an independent review of economic statistics. The UK’s economic statistics are often the focus of criticism and, as a result, subject to both internal and external reviews. But what did these reviews say – and did anything change as a result?
This month the UK updated its laws that shape how government data can be accessed and used. Since 2005, how public bodies in the UK provide access to their content and data, and the extent to which their content and data be reused, has been dictated by regulation. The Public Sector Information (PSI) regulations are an important part of the UK’s open data agenda, and establish principles around fair access to and reuse of information held by the public sector.
This month a new BMJ policy on sharing data from clinical trials takes effect. From July 1 2015, the authors of all clinical trials published by the journal must agree to make individual patient data from the trial available to other researchers upon reasonable request. Among major medical journals, only PLOS also requires data sharing as a condition of publication.
Crime is notoriously hard to quantify. Whether through cover-up by the perpetrator or the reluctance of the victim to report the crime, the true picture of criminality is obscured by the very nature of the act. Gathering accurate data on crime is at an immediate disadvantage as soon as the act is committed. Yet law and order is one of the foundations of any society and having statistics on the level, nature and evolution of crime is crucial for the state to be able to function.