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Ethical Principles

 

1. Pursuing Objectivity
Statisticians should pursue objectivity without fear or favor, only selecting and using methods designed to produce the most accurate results. They should present all findings openly, completely, and in a transparent manner regardless of the outcomes. Statisticians should be particularly sensitive to the need to present findings when they challenge a preferred outcome. The statistician should guard against predictable misinterpretation or misuse. If such misinterpretation or misuse occurs, steps should be taken to inform potential users. Findings should be communicated for the benefit of the widest possible community, yet attempt to ensure no harm to any population group.

2. Clarifying Obligations and Roles
The respective obligations of employer, client, or funder and statistician in regard to their roles and responsibility that might raise ethical issues should be spelled out and fully understood. In providing advice or guidance, statisticians should take care to stay within their area of competence, and seek advice, as appropriate, from others with the relevant expertise.

3. Assessing Alternatives Impartially
Available methods and procedures should be considered and an impartial assessment provided to the employer, client, or funder of the respective merits and limitations of alternatives, along with the proposed method.

4. Conflicting Interests
Statisticians avoid assignments where they have a financial or personal conflict of interest in the outcome of the work. The likely consequences of collecting and disseminating various types of data and the results of their analysis should be considered and explored.

5. Avoiding Preempted Outcomes
Any attempt to establish a predetermined outcome from a proposed statistical inquiry should be rejected, as should contractual conditions contingent upon such a requirement.

6. Guarding Privileged Information
Privileged information is to be kept confidential. This prohibition is not to be extended to statistical methods and procedures utilized to conduct the inquiry or produce published data.

7. Exhibiting Professional Competence
Statisticians shall seek to upgrade their professional knowledge and skills, and shall maintain awareness of technological developments, procedures, and standards which are relevant to their field, and shall encourage others to do the same.

8. Maintaining Confidence in Statistics
In order to promote and preserve the confidence of the public, statisticians should ensure that they accurately and correctly describe their results, including the explanatory power of their data. It is incumbent upon statisticians to alert potential users of the results to the limits of their reliability and applicability.

9. Exposing and Reviewing Methods and Findings
Adequate information should be provided to the public to permit the methods, procedures, techniques, and findings to be assessed independently.

10. Communicating Ethical Principles
In collaborating with colleagues and others in the same or other disciplines, it is necessary and important to ensure that the ethical principles of all participants are clear, understood, respected, and reflected in the undertaking.

11. Bearing Responsibility for the Integrity of the Discipline
Statisticians are subject to the general moral rules of scientific and scholarly conduct: they should not deceive or knowingly misrepresent or attempt to prevent reporting of misconduct or obstruct the scientific/scholarly research of others.

12. Protecting the Interests of Subjects
Statisticians are obligated to protect subjects, individually and collectively, insofar as possible, against potentially harmful effects of participating. This responsibility is not absolved by consent or by the legal requirement to participate. The intrusive potential of some forms of statistical inquiry requires that they be undertaken only with great care, full justification of need, and notification of those involved. These inquiries should be based, as far as practicable, on the subjects’ freely given, informed consent. The identities and records of all subjects or respondents should be kept confidential. Appropriate measures should be utilized to prevent data from being released in a form that would allow a subject’s or respondent’s identity to be disclosed or inferred.

 

 

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