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Data for Good 2022 Year in Review

1 December 2022 No Comment

David CorlissWith a PhD in statistical astrophysics, David Corliss is lead, Industrial Business Analytics, and manager, Data Science Center of Excellence, Stellantis. He serves on the steering committee for the Conference on Statistical Practice and is the founder of Peace-Work, a volunteer cooperative of statisticians and data scientists providing analytic support for charitable groups and applying statistical methods in issue-driven advocacy.

As 2022 draws to a close, it is a good time to look back at the important events in the Data for Good community and look ahead to new opportunities and challenges. The past year has seen the pace of change, new methods, and important results increase. JSM’s theme, Statistics: A Foundation for Innovation, was never truer than this year.

In 2022, the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic led to an emerging ‘new normal’ that has profoundly changed the face of science. On the whole, I would say scientific communities have become stronger as a result of the new tools and greater collaboration between groups, and even disciplines, in our increasingly global research community. Science is bigger, faster, and more diverse than ever before. As a result, collaboration may be the most important skill of all. More than ever, it is important to work in groups, confer with colleagues, and attend conferences.

Getting Involved

In opportunities this month, the ASA’s Transportation Statistics Interest Group has announced the 2023 Clifford Spiegelman student paper competition for research in transportation statistics. The possibilities for D4G are endless. Up to four papers will be selected for awards and recognized at JSM 2023 in Toronto. Submissions are due by December 15.

Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is accepting applications for two research fellowships, one on statistical, economic, or behavioral science research and the other on data science. Submissions are due January 9.

I would also like to make a special announcement regarding my January 2023 column. In the past, my year in review has appeared in the January issue, but I moved it to December to make room for a new annual feature to appear in the January issue. This will be a list of the current top challenges in Data for Good. I hope the 2023 D4G challenge list will promote and inspire new research, collaborations, panel discussions, hackathons, and more addressing the most important topics in Data for Good today.

Seek to widen your circle of collaborators, including nonscientists. D4G increasingly pairs statisticians and data scientists with experts in other sciences, sociologists, economists, legal and policy advocates—even historians, who can provide insight into historical data sources and how today’s problems developed over the years.

One focus here at Stats4Good in 2022 was some of the many ways the American Statistical Association supports work in Data for Good. This has included background on the mission and work of ASA sections, committees, and outreach groups. Many have a direct connection to D4G, like the Committee on Ethics; Scientific and Public Affairs Advisory Committee; and Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Outreach Group.

We also looked at some of the important partnerships the ASA maintains with other organizations, including the National Institute of Statistical Sciences and other statistical societies and organizations around the world. Each group brings valuable expertise and resources to support statistics and data science for the greater good to the table.

ASA conferences have brought together thousands of people working in so many areas. The Conference on Statistical Practice, Conference for Women in Statistics and Data Science, and others set the standard for how statistics addresses important issues of the day through keynote presentations, panels, and networking. JSM is one of the largest D4G events each year, with far too many presentations and activities to list. It also features important events, like the presentation of the Karl E. Peace Award for Outstanding Statistical Contributions for the Betterment of Society. This year, the award went to Susan Ellenberg from the University of Pennsylvania for her ground-breaking work in data monitoring for clinical trials and vaccine safety and for being a leader in mentoring and developing future scientists.

Because of its journals, community, and presentations, membership in the American Statistical Association is the one of the most valuable resources we have in our continuing Data for Good work. Together, we accomplished so much in 2022, and the future is brilliant.

December 2022 marks the completion of five years for this column. Megan Murphy—the most helpful, encouraging, and patient of editors—and the whole team at Amstat News deserve our thanks for making Stats4Good possible. At the outset, we stated the goal of fostering, encouraging, and providing networking and resources for “statistical analysis dedicated to good causes that benefit our lives, our communities, and our world.” This vision continues to be our guiding star today.

To you, dear reader, I give my deepest thanks for joining us on the journey of seeking the greater good through the science of data and statistics. As we go forward, let us work together to open new avenues of research and strengthen each other’s work. Be inspired and be an inspiration in Data for Good!

See you in January!

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