Editorial, Issue 128

View the online journal, issue 128.Cover of issue 128, collage of crowds

Contents of this Issue
Following on from the discussions at the London Conference in February 2020, I asked contributors if they would agree to a student converting their power-point presentations into short texts. This has been partly successful this year. We did at last manage to get two of the presentations at the 2020 Conference – those of Danny Dorling and Andy Street – converted to text and these are the first two articles in this issue. The third article is the paper presented by Lynn McDonald at the Conference. The final article is a follow-up by Simeon Scott to an earlier article in Issue 125.

Prospects for RSN 129
We have at least one article promised for RSN 129, but, clearly, we are going to have to rely on contributions from the 2021 Conference. Given that this 2021 Conference hosted by Newcastle will be virtual, it is vital that presenters provide their powerpoints to the organisers and to the editors and that, if they can’t themselves provide a write-up of their presentation, they agree that a student should try and convert their presentation into a write-up, for the author to clear for publication.

Another proposal for generating material was the relatively recent publication of the third RadStats compendium, Data in Society, which was presented by the books’ editors on Saturday 28th 2020. It is a landmark publication, bringing together many of the crucial issues around the production and use of quantitative information.

The contributors to Data in Society summarise many of the concerns around the accessibility and use of statistics in contemporary society. Examples include the lack of data from banking and financial organisations hides the extent of tax evasion of taxation. Government agencies are reducing the number of data series they make available for public scrutiny. The number of healthcare treatments in Britain provided by private groups is growing steadily.

The book is an eye-opener on the difficulties in holding governments and large organisations to account. Do you agree with the authors’ interpretations?

As the editors acknowledge there are data topics the volume does not cover in detail. These include the use of statistics by legal practitioners, housing and homelessness data and climate change data.

The editors of the RadStats journal have been planning to devote one journal issue to topics raised by Data in Society, and to topics not discussed in the book. Could you write an article for the journal on any of the topics above? Are there are areas of debate missing from Data in Society?

Administrative Issues

As the Administrator informed those receiving printed copies of the issue that, at the AGM held in London at the end of February 2020, the decision was taken to raise the subscription from £25 to £35 for those wishing to continue to receive printed copies (whilst the membership subscription only – with online access – would remain at £25 for those £10 for those on low incomes), otherwise they would be taken off the distribution list which originally includes all 300+ members.

Also, although the2021 Conference will be virtual, there are still preparation and ongoing costs. We are asking for a donation; the suggested amount is £20, however all smaller donations will help cover the costs.

Please make sure you have updated your subscription, or make a donation! – by going to www.radstats.org.uk/membership where you can pay by cheque, standing order, PayPal – or by filling in your details on page 52.