ISI Declaration on Professional Ethics
The ISI Declaration on Professional Ethics was approved by the ISI Council in July 2010. The Declaration was formally presented on World Statistics Day on 20 October 2010. The 2010 Declaration succeeded the first ISI Declaration on Professional Ethics from 1985.
The Declaration on Professional Ethics consists of a statement of Shared Professional Values and a set of Ethical Principles that derive from these values.
The aim of the Declaration is to enable the statistician's individual ethical judgments and decisions to be informed by shared values and experience, rather than by rigid rules imposed by the profession. The Declaration seeks to document widely held principles of the statistical profession and to identify the factors that obstruct their implementation. It offers a framework within which the conscientious statistician should be able to work comfortably.
The ISI Declaration on Professional Ethics is available in several languages.
ISI’s Involvement in Professional Ethics
The ISI is a Non-Government Organization (NGO) which allows it to take actions which may be politically difficult for other organisations. The ISI Declaration on Professional Ethics will be used as a framework for raising any concerns with regard to breaches of the professional ethics in statistics.
The Advisory Board on Ethics
In connection with the issue of the 2010 ISI Declaration, the ISI Executive Committee (EC) decided to establish the ISI Advisory Board on Ethics (ABE).
The ABE is established to advise the EC and Council on relevant ethical issues and to recommend or undertake activities for promoting observance of ethical principles in statistics. The work of the Board is based on the ISI Declaration on Professional Ethics and guided by the relevant objectives of the ISI and its mission. The objectives, which seem particularly relevant in this respect, are as follows:
The full Terms of Reference for the ABE can viewed here.
The ABE is composed of the following members:
Mr. Rolando Rebolledo
Mr. Willem de Vries
Mr. David Morganstein
Ms. Haishan Fu
Ms. Grace Bediako
Mr. Stephen Penneck
Role of the EC and Council Concerning Ethical Issues
Policies and strategies concerning the Declaration on Professional Ethics are discussed and decided by the ISI Executive Committee and Council. Decisions on actions concerning ethical issues are taken by the EC, mainly following advice from the Advisory Board on Ethics (ABE). In order to strengthen the observance of the EC of ethical issues and facilitate the dialogue with the ABE and external partners in this field, the EC has created a specific “Portfolio on Professional Ethics” to be assumed by one of the ISI Vice Presidents. The incumbent EC has entrusted that portfolio to VP Hallgrímur Snorrason. Furthermore, the EC has designated one Council Member to hold a similar portfolio and cooperate with the VP responsible for the EC ethics portfolio. The Council Member holding this portfolio 2011-2013 is Lawrence Cox.
The ISI Strategy on Professional Ethics
Following recommendations by the ABE and discussions in Council the EC approved the following strategy for ISI actions on Professional Ethics. The most appropriate strategies would be taken depending on the circumstances.
ISI Statements and Letters Concerning Statistical Ethics
Based on the aforementioned strategy and advised by the ABE the EC decided to undertake action in specific cases. An overview of the ISI letters, statements and discussion papers is given below:
Reviews, Other Documents
Several International organisations and professional associations have issued codes of ethics/ good practices and the UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics are key in the operations of official statistical offices and organizations. Here follows a list of links to several of these codes and principles: