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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on National Statistics
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Coordinating and Sustaining Federal Statistics

A Centralizing Influence in the Federal Statistical System
The federal statistical system is a critical part of the nation’s science and information infrastructure. The United States has one of the most decentralized statistical systems in the developed world. At present, there are 14 member agencies of the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy, established in the Paperwork Reduction Act, and chaired by the chief statistician who directs the Statistical and Science Policy in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. These principal statistical agencies include the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Economic Research Service of the USDA, Energy Information Administration, National Agricultural Statistics Service, National Center for Education Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Office of Environmental Information, Social Security Administration, Statistics of Income Division, and the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, there are more than 85 other agencies that are projected to spend at least $500,000 on “statistical services” in fiscal year 2013. CNSTAT, through its studies, workshops, seminars, and the quadrennial publication of Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency, serves as a centralizing and sustaining influence for the system as a whole. The recommendations and lessons learned from individual panel studies are frequently pertinent to multiple agencies, and the Committee often strives to convene activities on methodological and operational problems that may be difficult for individual agencies to address on their own. The projects and reports listed below cover such cross-agency topics as providing access to statistical data while protecting the privacy of respondents’ information, coordinating census, survey, and administrative records programs across agencies in broad subject areas (e.g., science policy, business dynamics, disability measurement, and others), and addressing common methodological challenges (e.g., survey automation and data dissemination in an Internet age).


Current Projects

Creating the American Opportunity Study (AOS): First Phase Standing Committee

Evaluation of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Achievement Levels

Modernizing the Nation’s Crime Statistics
Completed Projects and Workshops

Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP) 

Guidelines for Returning Individual Results from Genome Research Using Population-Based Banked Specimens: A Workshop





Relevant Reports

Issues in Returning Individual Results from Genome Research Using Population-Based Banked Specimens, with a Focus on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey: A Workshop Summary  (CNSTAT)

Population surveys traditionally collect information from respondents about their circumstances, behaviors, attitudes, and other characteristics. In recent years, many surveys have been collecting not... Read more

Science of Science and Innovation Policy: Principal Investigators' Conference Summary  (CNSTAT)

The National Science Foundation developed the Science of Science and Innovation Policy program (SciSIP) in 2006 to fund basic and applied research that bears on and can help guide public- and... Read more

Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences  (BBCSS,CNSTAT,CPOP,HSP)

Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences examines how to update human subjects protections regulations so that they effectively... Read more

Developing New National Data on Social Mobility: A Workshop Summary  (CPOP,CNSTAT)

Developing New National Data on Social Mobility summarizes a workshop convened in June 2013 to consider options for a design for a new national survey on social mobility. The workshop was sponsored ... Read more

Nonresponse in Social Science Surveys: A Research Agenda  (CNSTAT)

For many household surveys in the United States, responses rates have been steadily declining for at least the past two decades. A similar decline in survey response can be observed in all wealthy... Read more

Communicating Science and Engineering Data in the Information Age  (CNSTAT,CSTB)

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) communicates its science and engineering (S&E) information to data users in a very fluid... Read more

The Future of Federal Household Surveys: A Workshop Summary  (CNSTAT)

Federal household surveys today face several significant challenges including: increasing costs of data collection, declining response rates, perceptions of increasing response burden, inadequate... Read more

Facilitating Innovation in the Federal Statistical System: Summary of a Workshop  (CNSTAT)

On May 8, 2009, the symposium, The Federal Statistical System: Recognizing Its Contributions, Moving It Forward was held in Washington, DC. One of the topics considered at that symposium was the... Read more

Conducting Biosocial Surveys: Collecting, Storing, Accessing, and Protecting Biospecimens and Biodata  (CNSTAT,CPOP)

Recent years have seen a growing tendency for social scientists to collect biological specimens such as blood, urine, and saliva as part of large-scale household surveys. By combining biological and... Read more

Protecting and Accessing Data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates: A Workshop Summary  (CNSTAT)

The Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) collects data on the number and characteristics of individuals receiving research doctoral degrees from all accredited U.S. institutions. The results of this... Read more

Improving the Measurement of Late-Life Disability in Population Surveys: Beyond ADLs and IADLs: Summary of a Workshop  (CNSTAT,CPOP)

Improving the Measurement of Late-Life Disability in Population Surveys summarizes a workshop organized to draw upon recent advances to improve the measurement of physical and cognitive disability in... Read more

Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Program Assessment  (CLAJ,CNSTAT,CSTB)

All U.S. agencies with counterterrorism programs that collect or "mine" personal data -- such as phone records or Web sites visited -- should be required to evaluate the programs' effectiveness,... Read more

Protecting Student Records and Facilitating Education Research: A Workshop Summary  (CNSTAT,CFE)

Designed to protect the privacy of individual student test scores, grades, and other education records, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 places limits the access of... Read more

Understanding Business Dynamics: An Integrated Data System for America's Future  (CNSTAT)

The U.S. economy is highly dynamic: businesses open and close, workers switch jobs and start new enterprises, and innovative technologies redefine the workplace and enhance productivity. With... Read more

Improving Data to Analyze Food and Nutrition Policies  (CNSTAT)

Read more

Expanding Access to Research Data: Reconciling Risks and Opportunities  (CNSTAT)

Policy makers need information about the nation—ranging from trends in the overall economy down to the use by individuals of Medicare—in order to evaluate existing programs and to develop new ones.... Read more

Eliminating Health Disparities: Measurement and Data Needs  (CNSTAT)

Read more

Survey Automation: Report and Workshop Proceedings  (CNSTAT)

For over 100 years, the evolution of modern survey methodology—using the theory of representative sampling to make interferences from a part of the population to the whole—has been paralleled by a... Read more

Protecting Participants and Facilitating Social and Behavioral Sciences Research  (CNSTAT,BBCSS)

Institutional review boards (IRBs) are the linchpins of the protection systems that govern human participation in research. In recent years, high-profile cases have focused attention on the... Read more

Responsible Research: A Systems Approach to Protecting Research Participants  (IOM)

When 18-year-old Jesse Gelsinger died in a gene transfer study at the University of Pennsylvania, the national spotlight focused on the procedures used to ensure research participants’ safety and... Read more

Improving Access to and Confidentiality of Research Data: Report of a Workshop  (CBASSE)

Improving Access to and Confidentiality of Research Data summarizes a workshop convened by the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) to promote discussion about methods for advancing the often... Read more

Summary of a Workshop on Information Technology Research for Federal Statistics  (CSTB,CPSMA,CNSTAT)

Part of an in-depth study of how information technology research and development could more effectively support advances in the use of information technology (IT) in government, Summary of a Workshop... Read more

Private Lives and Public Policies: Confidentiality and Accessibility of Government Statistics  (CBASSE)

Americans are increasingly concerned about the privacy of personal data--yet we demand more and more information for public decision making. This volume explores the seeming conflicts between privacy... Read more

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