The Society's three academic journals (JRSS A, B and C) are some of the most highly cited journals in the discipline of statistics. Discussion meetings are a way of bringing some of the papers published in these journals to the wider membership. We explain how they work and how RSS fellows can get involved.
One of the great traditions of the Society is the presentation of papers for discussion at open meetings of the Society. Formerly called ‘Ordinary Meetings’, these give people the opportunity to present for debate the latest statistical developments and their views on contentious statistical issues in front of a lively audience. They also, through the subsequent publication of the paper and discussion in the Society’s journal, help to advance the subject and to inform the wider community.
The kudos that is attached to having the byline ‘Read before The Royal Statistical Society...’ at the head of a paper not only enhances the reputation of statisticians who are early in their career but is also a great attraction to those who are already well established.
Over the years, many of the most significant developments in statistical methodology have been presented at Ordinary Meetings, and the Council of the RSS is keen that this should continue.
However, Council would also like to increase the number of meetings and broaden the range of papers that are presented for discussion. For example, there is enthusiasm for more papers on applied statistical problems, more presentations on work at the interface of statistics and other disciplines, on topical societal issues, and so on. There are no restrictions!
To achieve this, Council has decided to adopt the more informative name of 'Discussion Meetings' and has set up a new committee that is dedicated to rapid processing of submissions and being more proactive in arranging different types of discussion meetings.
All sections of the Society are represented on the committee and are being encouraged to solicit or sponsor papers for discussion. The committee will welcome proposals from potential authors of papers in any area of statistical interest and are keen to supplement the traditional type of meeting by hosting events in different formats and perhaps in alternative locations rather than the Society’s London premises.
This Discussion Meetings Committee is chaired by Robin Henderson of Newcastle University (pictured above right). Its secretary and discussion papers editor is Paul Smith of the University of Southampton (pictured left). Both are very happy to discuss ideas with anyone interested in presenting a paper to the Society.
Further technical detail about the criteria for what might make a suitable paper for reading, as well as information about the procedure can be found on the relevant page of the RSS website, and further guidelines are available in this document.