Inspiring talk by David Spiegelhalter at PSI 2017, London

David Spiegelhalter gave inspiring and entertaining talk on “Engaging¬† without manipulating: the balanced communication of statistics” at PSI 2017 conference in London. Obviously, scientific results are often miscommunicated by mass media to boost the novelity¬† and relevance of scientific results. After David’s talk I raised the question whether addressing the questions who owns the results and who owns the data may help to improved the situation.

Currently, scientists publish their results in journals, where the publishing companies own the copyrights. Therefore, scientist may feel less responsible to control the use (and abuse) of their results because they dont have a clear sense of ownership.

At present, data is owned by the researchers although the data has often been generated by using public funding. By making the data avialable to the public who paid for it, they would have the opportunity to perform data analysis themselves, which would improve scientific literacy  in society (cf citizen science), which may inocculate people against misleading statistics.

Discussing the role of owning data and results to improve communication of statistics with David Spiegelhalter

I (left) am discussing the role of owning data and results to improve communication of statistics with David Spiegelhalter (right) and Nigel Howitt, the new chair of PSI (photo taken on 2017-05-16, London, by David Svensson)