Collaborating with international partners to improve statistical systems and data access

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Susan Noble, the UK Data Service’s International Data Service Manager, discusses the collaborative approach taken to developing international statistical information systems.    

The SIS-CC

Set up by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Statistical Information System Collaboration Community (SIS-CC) is a group of international institutions engaged in memoranda of understanding with the OECD for the purpose of sharing and co-developing statistical information systems, particularly the OECD’s ‘.Stat’ data dissemination platform.

The only ‘Academic Voice’

In 2012, the UK Data Service was delighted to become part of the SIS-CC and is working collaboratively with the OECD to develop UKDS.Stat, the platform used for disseminating international aggregate data at the UK Data Service. We’re in good company, members of the group include: the Australian Bureau of Statistics, iStat (Italian Statistics), Statistics New Zealand, the European Commission, the National Bank of Belgium, Statistics Estonia and UNESCO with more joining each year!

The SIS-CC adopts a joint approach to setting strategic objectives – extensive member consultation took place in 2013 resulting in the current 5-year strategic plan for .Stat.  As the only academic member of the SIS-CC, the UK Data Service is in a unique position to help influence the development of this widely used platform to ensure that current and future research and teaching needs are taken into consideration.  

Upsides of collaboration

Collaboration in the international data community helps to improve efficiency in statistical processes and enables the implementation of statistical standards such as SDMX to facilitate smoother and faster data dissemination and exchange. Collaboration between members is seen as a significant activity for the statistical community, highlighted as such in the aims of the High-Level Group for Modernisation of Statistical Processes (HLG).  Set up by the Bureau of the Conference of European Statisticians in 2010, the HLG monitors and coordinates international work relating to statistical modernisation and recognises the importance of work in the SIS-CC.

Being part of a collaborative development makes it easier to exchange data and strengthens ties and relationships within the international statistical community. The upsides are saving money in enabling access to high quality data from a single point and using common shared systems, which in turn promotes the development of statistical standards and quality. Find out more about SIS-CC here.

What we’re working on…

A project we’re currently working on with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) is to integrate Solr, an open source enterprise search platform into .Stat. This will provide more advanced search features combined with significantly improved performance.

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Screenshot of UKDS.Stat data dissemination platform

Annual SIS-CC Workshop

Towards the end of March 2015, UK Data Service staff – Nick Syrotiuk, Fiona Cameron and Dave Rawnsley will be representing the UK Data Service at the key OECD hosted SIS-CC Annual Workshop in Paris.  This year’s workshop theme is Beyond .Stat – fostering an innovation ecosystem and will be a rare and valuable opportunity to meet face to face and develop our collaborative working relationships.  Staff from influential statistics users such as Google and representatives from the collaborating organisations will attend the workshop to agree on the 2015/16 work-plan and to discuss a range of topical data issues and emerging data technologies.   You can see details of the SIS-CC workshop 2015 at https://community.oecd.org/community/sisccws2015 and follow on Twitter: #SISCCWS2015. We’ll post after the event with an update from the meeting.

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