MPs support RSS argument on inflation indices and student loans

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MPs on the Treasury Select Committee have recommended that interest on student loan repayments should switch from following the Retail Prices Index (RPI) to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).

The recommendation was made in a newly published report on Student Loans following an inquiry that the RSS contributed to, specifically regarding the use of RPI in calculating interest repayments.

RSS convenes meeting on use of evidence in public debates

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In January, the RSS convened a workshop of around 15 senior people from leading organisations in the UK focused on improving the use of evidence, facts and statistics in public and policy debates.

Organisations represented at the event included the UK Statistics Authority, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Full Fact, the Alliance for Useful Evidence, Sense About Science and the House of Commons Library. The event was focused on considering the terrain in this area, and asking what if anything the organisations should be thinking about or doing collectively to strengthen their impact.

Significance February 2018 issue

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The February 2018 issue of Significance is out now in print and digital formats. Our cover story explores outliers in scientific measurements – which can be the cause of much consternation but may also be a sign of healthy scientific progress.

We also describe five ways data is transforming music, and we estimate the proportion of people in France and the USA who have a “homonym” – someone with whom they share a first and last name. 

MSPs recommend ending pre-release access to stats in Scotland

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Pre-release access to market-sensitive government statistics should end, according to MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee.

The call was made in the Committee’s report on economic data, How to Make Data Count: Improving The Quality and Coverage Of Our Economic Statistics. It follows an inquiry to which the RSS contributed evidence, both in writing and in person (represented by Martin Weale, pictured).

Stats Excellence in the Pharmaceutical Industry Award launched

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The RSS and Statisticians in the Pharmaceutical Industry (PSI) now welcome entries for their 2018 joint Award for Statistical Excellence in the Pharmaceutical Industry. The award celebrates influential examples of the application of an existing statistical practice, or the implementation of an innovative statistical practice, in the pharmaceutical industry.

Nominees can be based anywhere in the world and do not need to be a member of PSI or the RSS. The award will be presented at the Annual PSI Conference which will be held in Amsterdam from 3-6 June 2018.