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Over the past 18 months, I've been writing about the growth in the number of statistics degrees being granted using data from the National Center for Education Statistics NCES. I've restricted my queries to five categories, which are represented by these five NCES CIP codes: 26.1102 – Biostatistics; 27.0501 - Statistics, General; 27.0502 - Mathematical Statistics and Probability; >27.0503 - Mathematics and Statistics; and 27.0599 - Statistics, Other. I generally use Statistics to be the last four categories, which NCES categorizes as 27.05 - Statistics. (See below for definitions and links.)

Because statistics is such a broad field and there are emerging areas like, for example, data science and analytics, it was suggested I use a blog entry to briefly discuss the CIP Codes and to consider statistics-related CIP codes. When one does look at the related degrees, one sees that some statistics-related degrees are also seeing strong growth.

Let me start with a chart of the four 27.05 categories, Biostatistics, and a related statistics degree: 27.9999 – Mathematics and Statistics – Other. For ease of comparison, the data below includes Bachelor's degrees categorized as 1st majors (and therefore misses another ~300 degrees.) One can see in the chart that most of Bachelor's degrees are categorized as 27.0501 - Statistics, General and that this category captures most of the growth in Bachelor's degrees. One will also notice a big jump in 27.0502 - Mathematical Statistics and Probability between 2011 and 2012, which is due to one university changing how it categorizes its Bachelor's degrees. It's also worth noting that the 27.9999 category has increased 50% since 2003.

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The ASA Committee on Funded Research (CFR) will again be hosting a meeting at JSM for attendees to learn about funding opportunities directly from representatives of funding agencies. "Funding Opportunities for Statistics" is scheduled for Tuesday, August 5, 4-5:30 pm in room 157B of the Convention Center. This meeting has been very well attended in past years and I hope that you'll be part of it this year.

The confirmed speakers are

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The NIH Advisory Committee to the Director released a report in early June, BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision, that emphasizes the importance of statistics. Its executive summary lists seven scientific goals that are high priorities for achieving this vision including:

Identifying fundamental principles: Produce conceptual foundations for understanding the biological basis of mental processes through development of new theoretical and data analysis tools. Rigorous theory, modeling, and statistics are advancing our understanding of complex, nonlinear brain functions where human intuition fails. New kinds of data are accruing at increasing rates, mandating new methods of data analysis and interpretation. To enable progress in theory and data analysis, we must foster collaborations between experimentalists and scientists from statistics, physics, mathematics, engineering, and computer science.

This goal is then discussed in section 2.5, titled, "Theory, Modeling, and Statistics Will Be Essential to Understanding the Brain." That section listed and discussed several "areas that appear promising for the collaborative efforts of theorists and experimentalists:"
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In keeping with the “celebrate our past, energize our future” theme of the 175th anniversary, we are pleased to announce today that “Statistics and Science: A report of the London workshop on the future of the statistical sciences” is posted on The World of Statistics website. The London workshop was the capstone meeting of the International Year of Statistics 2013.

Below is the blog I wrote for The World of Statistics website summarizing the report, but I urge you to read the full report. It is well worth the time!

Statistical science is as healthy as it ever has been, with robust growth in student enrollment, abundant new sources of data, challenging problems to solve and related opportunities to grasp over the next century, summarizes a just-released report on the future of the field.

Statistics and Science: A Report of the London Workshop on the Future of the Statistical Sciences (http://bit.ly/londonreport) is the product of a high-level meeting in London last November attended by 100 prominent statisticians from around the world. This invitation-only summit was the capstone event of the International Year of Statistics, a year-long celebration during 2013 that drew as participants more than 2,300 organizations from 128 countries.
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We’ve written often in this 175th anniversary blog about the importance of communities within the ASA.  (See March 27, for example.)  Today we’ll focus on one specific type of community, a type many members are unfamiliar with, but one which serves an important purpose for those who are involved.

Interest groups are smaller ASA communities organized around an area of specific importance to portions of our diverse membership.  They are generally smaller than and more loosely organized than ASA sections, but they are every bit as important to their members.

There are four ASA interest groups.  The newest of these, Astrostatistics, was formed just a few months ago.  It was organized to meet a growing need in collaborative research efforts between statisticians and astronomers and to encourage astrostatistical research to flourish within the ASA.  The group hopes to draw more statisticians into astrostatistics, and, consequently, more astronomers into astrostatistics since those new statisticians will seek out astronomy collaborators.  They are connected with a Working Group on Astroinformatics and Astrostatistics of the American Astronomical Society.

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[7/10/14 update: The ASA Submitted its comments July 9. Read the letter here.]

In a May 21 Federal Register notice, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) solicits comments on a proposed new Statistical Policy Directive affirming "the fundamental responsibilities of Federal statistical agencies and recognized statistical units in the design, collection, processing, editing, compilation, analysis, release, and dissemination of statistical information." Comments are due July 21 and the ASA will be strongly supporting the proposed directive.

The proposed directive, which makes up two of the notice's five pages, delineates four responsibilities of federal statistical agencies and units to "provide a framework that supports Federal statistical policy and serves as a foundation for Federal statistical activities, promoting trust among statistical agencies, data providers, and data users." The four responsibilities are  

  1. Produce and disseminate relevant and timely information.
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[7/10/14 Update: ASA, AERA, and nine other organizations send letter to Senate HELP Committee expressing their concerns.]

In early May, the House passed a bill reauthorizing the Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES), which includes the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and three other centers. IES was created in 2002 with the original IES authorization bill, the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA).

The bill the House passed in May, H.R. 4366, the Strengthening Education through Research Act (SETRA), contains provisions that diminish NCES authority, autonomy, and stature beyond provisions of ESRA and the 2012 law, The Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 (PAESA.) These provisions are very concerning because, as explained in

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In the next few days, the ASA will launch its 2014 annual fund drive, hoping to improve on the record-setting success of last year’s drive.  There are many reasons members choose to support the ASA through contributions to the association, but a common theme is to give back to the profession and the association. There is much the ASA does to promote the practice and profession of statistics, and it can do much more with additional support.

Thus, members are invited during the annual fund drive to make a donation to further expand education, understanding and access to statistics worldwide. Member financial support of ASA activities makes a difference in many ways.  Here are a few:

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[5/29/14 3:25 pm Update: McNerney and Bridenstine amendments approved in recorded votes. Total cuts on House Floor now total $133 million, lowering the House mark for Census Bureau to $974 million, with more amendments possible, including one to make the ACS voluntary. C-Span is saying final passage of CJS bill expected this evening.

5/29/14 9:40 pm: House approves Poe amendment by voice vote, making the American Community Survey voluntary (by restricting funding to enforce penalties for ACS non-response.) The Poe-Fattah exchange on the amendment is pasted below.]

In its first day of deliberations of the FY15 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill, seven amendments were offered over an 80 minute period diverting funding from the Census Bureau to other parts of the CJS bill. So far, the cuts have amounted to $118 million with votes pending on another $15 million and one amendment withdrawn.

More amendments are expected in day two, including amendments that could make the American Community Survey (ACS) voluntary or otherwise undermine it. In 2012, on the FY13 CJS bill, the House voted to make the ACS voluntary and then to eliminate it altogether
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The International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) will begin this weekend in Los Angeles, and as they have for more than 25 years, ASA members will be there to judge the statistical content of the projects.

Involvement in ISEF is an outreach project of the ASA Council of Chapters—has been since 1987—thanks to the vision and effort of the late Joe Ward. ISEF is the world’s largest scientific competition, with more than 7 million high-school students around the world competing to land one of the approximately 1,600 coveted spots as a finalist. These spots are awarded to students who have advanced from local and regional fairs based on the quality of their projects.

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The ASA Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Forensic Statistics submitted written comments to the newly established National Commission on Forensic Science "to enhance scientific thinking to benefit the practice of forensic science." In the cover letter, 2015 ASA President David Morganstein writes,
We at the ASA commend the creation of the National Commission on Forensic Science and offer to
support your important work in any way we can. A prominent theme within "Strengthening Forensic
Science" is the need to undergird the science in the forensic science disciplines. We are convinced
statistical scientists can be helpful in this regard. As noted in a 2010 statement by the ASA Board of
Directors on forensic science (http://amstat.org/policy/pdfs/Forensic_Science_Endorsement.pdf),
"Statisticians are vital to establishing measurement protocols, quantifying uncertainty, designing
experiments for testing new protocols or methodologies, and analyzing data from such experiments."
In their statement, the committee recommended these four steps:
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An important part of the future focus of the ASA’s 175th anniversary celebration is on encouraging young people to consider careers in statistics. This is the fourth ASA at 175 blog on the topic (see the third one for links to the other two).  The occasion for writing this blog is that I was asked a series of questions by writer who is developing a profile of statistics as a career. Here are the questions, and my responses. At the end of them is an opportunity for you to help me sharpen these responses.

  • Who hires statisticians and why?

Statisticians work in a surprising array of places, throughout academia, business, industry, scientific research and government. Statistics is used by scientists of all types, including social scientists. It’s also used by business executives; economists; advertising and marketing representatives; educators; technology company leaders; drug company and medical researchers; transportation planners; our elected representatives in government at all levels; and so many more critical fields.

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I wrote in the April 8 ASA at 175 blog about ways to help the ASA promote the practice and profession of statistics through volunteer service. This week, a committee has been quietly but diligently working to select the 2014 honorees of the Founders Award, the highest honor bestowed by the ASA. It is particularly appropriate to write about the Founders Award during our 175th anniversary year because it was first awarded during our 150th anniversary year.

The Founders Award is presented annually for distinguished service to the association. Award honorees have served the association over an extended period and in a variety of leadership roles, including chapter, section, committee, officer or editorial activities, roles in which effective service or leadership was provided within the ASA or on behalf of the association to other organizations.

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From my discussions (on-line & off-line) with several statisticians and researchers, some believe Randomization infer Causation and others disagree.

Either you disagree or agree, the next question is:How do we Randomize?

I have 2 consensuses on this issue?
#1. Randomize in sample selection
#2. Randomize in allocation of treatment

Will both methods produce the same or different outcome (s)?

What about estimator bias and confounding?

Please provide answer(s) with references (weblink, journal article, book, etc), whenever possible.
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Two unrelated things - an inquiry from a student working on a class project and the upcoming Women in Statistics conference – set me to thinking briefly about the demographics of ASA membership during its 175th anniversary year.

ASA members have the option to include demographic information, and about 75% of members have provided this information.  Of those, about 1/3 are women.  It is worth noting that women make up 43% of ASA members under 45, but only 23% of members 45 years of age and older.

Speaking of age, the mean age of members is 47.5 years, and the median age is 46.  Seventeen percent are 30 or under, 38% are 40 or under, 58% are 50 or under, and 76% are 60 or under.  A big shout out goes to the 2% of our members who have reached the age of 80.  By the way, I’m older than 72% of the members.  Approximating my age should not be difficult from this information.

About 8/9 of ASA members have advanced degrees (masters or doctorate).

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A few days ago, we blogged about statistics being listed as one of the top jobs in the U.S.  Now in this past weekend’s New York Times was an op-ed article by Thomas Friedman titled “How to Get a Job at Google, Part 2” that adds further evidence to the importance of and opportunities in statistics as a career.

In the article, Friedman interviews Laszlo Bock, Google’s “senior vice president for people operations.”  The interview is a follow-up to a February interview with Bock about what employers like Google are looking for in new employees. In the more recent interview, Bock says the first thing Google looks for “…is general cognitive ability—the ability to learn things and solve problems.” Then, Bock notes, “I took statistics at business school, and it was transformative for my career. Analytical training gives you a skill set that differentiates you from most people in the labor market.”

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During this 175th anniversary year of the ASA, issues that have a major statistical component have been at the forefront of major policy discussions. 

  • Who does data belong to, especially when it is collected using federal funds?
  • What are the most effective ways of sharing data so that science is advanced while protecting the intellectual property of those who collected it and any personal data it might contain?
  • How do we make sure research results are widely available, especially research that was supported by federal funds?
  • How do we make it possible to check the reproducibility of research results?  (By “reproducibility” we mean that analyzing the same data the same way gets the same results.)
  • How can we make sure the work is replicable? (If the same experiment is conducted another time, do we get the same result?)
  • How generalizable is the result?  (If we a similar experiment - for example, with a different population - do we get a similar result?)

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We are pleased to report that CareerCast.com has once again listed “statistician” as one of the top jobs in 2014 in the US, coming in at #3 in its “Jobs Rated Report.” (“Mathematician” was rated #1, followed by “University Professor (Tenured).”

We’ve written previously in this blog about where to find information about statistics as a career, noting a March 4, 2014, article in the Careers section of Science magazine. 

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One of the most distinguished awards given to ASA members is the designation “ASA Fellow.” As I write, the ASA Committee on Fellows is meeting downstairs in the ASA HQ in Alexandria, VA, to finalize the selection of 2014 Fellows.  Committee members have been working hard over the past six weeks to review and rate 119 nomination packets, and now they must whittle the list down to at most 63 people.

According to the ASA By-Laws (Article I, part 5), “By the honorary title of Fellow, the Association recognizes full members of established reputation who have made outstanding contributions in some aspect of statistical work.”  The criteria for selection is succinctly stated in the same portion of the By-Laws: “In selecting Fellows, the Committee on Fellows shall evaluate the candidate's contribution to the advancement of statistics, giving due weight to publications, the position held by the candidate in the organization in which the individual is employed, activities in the Association, membership and attainments in other societies, and other professional activities. The case for each candidate shall be judged individually, with no one of these criteria governing selection to the exclusion of the others.”

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