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Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS) meeting notes

I was lucky enough to be able to sit in on the most recent COPAFS meeting in place of our regular liaison Judith Rowe.  While the topics were very different than the issues I usually deal with at work, I found the presentations really interesting. Here's an abridged version of my notes.

 

News:

Ed Spar will be stepping down as Executive Director at the end of 2012.  The board will be launching a search and will be engaging a search firm.

Director's update:

The budgetary situation is grim to worse and outlook isn't any better. Every agency will wish they had last years budget. Census numbers reflect a very bad year coming up. The meeting dates for next year are: March 16, June 1, Sept 14, December 7.

Update on National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)- Marilyn Seastrom
NCES is the statistical agency within Dept of Education.  They have a small staff but lots of contractors and may be lucky enough to be level funded next year.

Assessment: it was the busiest year in the history of national assessment.  They are ready to release the state mapping report.  This compares assessment measures across states - map state assessments to National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). For example, there is only one state (MA) where a 4th grader who is deemed is proficient on the state exam is proficient on the national level.  There are many states where they are proficient at the state level but they don't even make the "basic" cut for the national assessment. The are also ready to Release the Reading and Mathematics report card


Elementary and Secondary update: They've done an expansion of NCES Geo-mapping application which works with the ACS to provide data by school district boundaries.


Miscellaneous: there's a new OECD adult literacy study (PIAAC - first international assessment done on laptops in the home) and the national household education survey (what goes on outside of school) is no longer random digit dial sample due to deterioration in response rates, now address based sample (mail) .
There's new stuff on the horizon:  a middle school study, NAEP-TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) link which will be an ambitious study using 8th grade level achievement in math and science.

American Demographic History: Campbell Gibson (demographer retired from Census)
Website of demographic history : www.demographicchartbook.com
Developed over a few years with David Kennedy and Herbert Kline (Stanford) - about 130 graphics through 2000 for both state and national charts which are freely available and can be downloaded.
Source:  all decennial census - some drawn from compendia of ipums files.
He showed a variety of slides - all of which are available on the website and most of which were fascinating.  Can you guess the changes in the set of the top five languages spoken in the home of non-US born residents?

Rural Statistical Areas: Mike Radcliffe, Geography Division, Census
The presentation described a three year joint research project with 23 states. The goal was to define Rural Statistical areas - geographic areas defined using counties, county subdivisions and census tracts a building blocks. The goal was to be able to tabulate ACS 1 year estimates for areas of 65K+ people. These areas would be based on rural focus - not like pumas which used 100K but mostly urban areas.  They started with most rural parts and build from there - urban is really the residual.


RSA delineation process - counties with 65K+ would be standalone RSAs if rural focus.  Used the urban influence codes (UIC from USDA) to get to "ruralness" and grouped counties with some boundary tweaks made by State Data Center Steering committee. He showed maps of UIC ratings then discussed how to aggregate counties:  they created an aggregation net using state boundaries, interstate highways and rivers to create a lattice work to think about how to group counties.  They started with UIC category 12 and aggregated up by county until you hit the 65K+ measure. It's an imperfect measure and there were some problems with adjacent county differences and sometimes had to sacrifice resolution.


The resulting definitions for RSAs by state were sent to the state and they were able to move things around a bit to help smooth out some of the initial classification imperfections. Some states suggested alternative definitions; for example, Vermont wanted to use their planning regions.


Questions on the table:

  • Should RSAs be contiguous? Census has a preference for yes but states disagree - eg Alabama might have similar demographics between north and south counties that would match better for an RSA than using geography.
  • Can a variety of building blocks be used to form RSAs?  Initial proposal was counties but they may not be the best units to start with.  States found that in some cases sub-county divisions or census tracts worked better.
  • Why not cross state lines?  Makes sense for some questions but State data centers need to address rural areas withing their states?
  • Should counties of 65K+ be split into multiple areas?

Next steps:
State data centers have asked Census to define these as statistical areas but Census has said that in some cases (like Los Angeles) you just can't call them rural.  What do you call them? The project needs to get wider review including public comment through a Federal Register notice.


Research on measuring same sex couples - Nancy Bates - Census
Motivation: definition of marriage has changed; new terms and different state recognition and no federal recognition of same sex couples. According to 2008 ACS, there are about 150,000 self described same-sex married couples but only around 32,000 same-sex legally married couples.

Possible causes:

  • Classification error:  maybe people think of themselves as married even if they aren't.
  • First response: on ACS the husband/wife category is first in list but unmarried partner is 13th
  • Errors elsewhere: false positives due to incorrect gender response

Research: some based on focus groups - 18 groups in 8 different areas with different legal recognition of same sex marriage.  Mostly gay couples but some unmarried straight couples.  Most people interpreted the question on federal form as indicating "legal status".  Some thought it meant "legally married anywhere".  Many groups noted they were missing categories for civil unions or domestic partnerships. And there is the "function equivalence" problem that couples had the equivalent of a marriage but no where to put themselves.


Research: some based on cognitive interviews - 40 interviews both gays and straights across different legal jurisdictions. Participants filled out forms then were debriefed afterwards and showed alternative form and asked for preference.
Results: most survey results aligned with "true" legal status.  Specifically calling out same sex or opposite sex in the marital status question was preferred but also was flagged as potentially sensitive. Would this delineation increase unit non-response? Also, there was some confusion about defintion of civil union/domestic partnership.  Most people found it useful to have a cohabitation question.
Next steps:  interagency group review, piggyback on an ACS test for a larger trial which is mail only and they need to test in other modes and would love to be able to have a re-interview component.

Research on measuring same sex couples - Martin O'Donnell - showing some data
Showed a comparison of ACS data and census stuff - but comparability may not be perfect.
Changes in ACS forms and editing caused a drop of self reported same sex spouses from 350K+ to 150K+.

2010 Census results showed much higher level of same sex households than the 2010 ACS.  There was a huge difference between mail forms and non-mail forms.  Approximately 3 times as many households reported themselves as same sex households in mail forms as non-mail forms for ACS where the non-mail were nonresponse follow up (NRFU). On the pre2008 ACS and 2010 Census NRFU form, the matrix format for the form didn't yield consistent results.  ACS 2008+ and 2010 Census form had a person based column format which had much more consistent responses.  This is truly non-sampling error for populations: you only need 4 errors per 1000 of opposite sex households to generate the 250K+ error in the same sex spouses because there are 60 million of them.


Problem: bad matrix form was approved and printed before these results where available. Now short form data wave 1 is published including one table with one table about same sex couples but they can't stop the processing of the entire 2010 Census to allow for the correction of one table. Now how do they fix it?


They tested the quality of the reporting on sex.  Used name index to match the probability that a person has a name associated with a male (John or Thomas has very high index, Virginia or Elizabeth is very low) with state controls for cultural differences (Jean may be more likely to be a male in French areas).  Index value of 0-50 were likely to be female and those with 950-1000 were likely to be male.  Couples with a female partner with a name at the highest index value or a male partner with a name at the lowest index value where then considered to have incorrectly marked the sex item on the question and they were dropped from the same sex couples category. Ex: 9000 male-male couples in Texas out of 31,000 have names that indicate they are probably male-female couples - nearly one third of the same sex marriage stats in American Factfinder may be incorrect.  


Geographic distribution with inconsistent name reporting: swath from Florida north west to ND - matches high rate of NRFU forms.
Summary: They reissued the numbers which matched the 2010 ACS better once the name mismatched folks where thrown out. Spousal household estimate is most improved. American Factfinder page shows people where to go to get preferred estimate. Census PUMS is based on edited data.  They aren't recalculating the entire Census data but they are published the edit data and there will be a flag on data that are affected.

Stephen S. Clark Library for Maps, Government Information, and Data Services is open for business!

Three cheers for Jen Green!!! 

When not keeping IASSIST finances in check as the IASSIST Treasurer, Jennifer Green, director of the new Stephen S. Clark Library for Maps, Government Information, and Data Services, at the University of Michigan has been busy getting the library in shape for the recent opening day! 

Check out the announcement of the grand opening festivities in the Record Update (a publication of the Office of the Vice President for Communications at the University of Michigan) and don't miss the brand new website of the Setphen S. Clark Library

Green says the new library’s unique combination of collections, government information expertise, and data services will provide scholars and researchers with unprecedented opportunities for exploration, discovery, and collaboration.

“Before the Clark, there was a large degree of interaction among these three units,” Green says. “Our new proximity, in a purposefully designed and equipped space, means that we can more effectively collaborate with each other, which in turn really enhances our ability to creatively collaborate with students, faculty, and researchers.”

From the Record Update

IASSIST Latin Engagement Action Group

The Latin Engagement Action Group have come up with a number of outreach activities aimed at supporting data professionals from Spanish and Portuguese speaking educational institutions, namely:

1. Research Data Management Webinars (complete with IASSIST contribution) for Spanish/Portuguese data specialists (http://www.recolecta.net/buscador/webminars.jsp)

Stuart Macdonald and Luis Martínez-Uribe in collaboration with Alicia López Medina (UNED, Spain), the Spanish Agency of Science and Technology (FECYT) and the network of Spanish repositories RECOLECTA have organised a programme of webinars in 3 strands starting in October to discuss RDM issues:

Strand 1 is dedicated to Research Data Management Strategy (presentations from FECYT, RedIris, Simon Hodson (JISC Managing Research Data (MRD) Programme Manager)

Strand 2 - RDM Tools and models (presentations from Sarah Jones on DAF/DMP online (DCC) and Stuart Macdonald (EDINA) on IASSIST Latin Engagement, RDM at Edinburgh & Research Data MANTRA 

Strand 3 - Research Data Management Experiences (presentations from Kate McNeil-Harmen (MIT) , Luis Martinez Uribe (Institute Juan March), colleagues from University of Porto

Several members of IASSIST have been invited and the work of the group will be presented in order to keep promoting the organization to colleagues in Spain, Portugal and Latin-America.

2. Preparation of a Latin-American session in next IASSIST annual conference in collaboration with outreach committee

Organise another Latin-American session at IASSIST 2012 (complete with NGO representation) led by Bobray Bordelan (Princeton). Liaise with the outreach to fund and invite data professional colleagues from Latin America to participate in this session.

3. Spanish and Portuguese translation of the main pages of the IASSIST site - May 2012

Working with the IASSIST web editor Robin Rice to scope and implement (voluntary) translation of the main landing pages on the IASSIST website (e.g. Home page, About page, Becoming a member if IASSIST, FAQ, IASSIST at a Glance, About IQ, Instruction for Authors)

Image: Toledo by Pat Barker on Flickr, CC-BY-NC licence

Data can be cool

As I prepare to leave Guelph there are lots of things I will miss - but what I will maybe miss most is the Data Resource Centre and the creative people who work there.   If you link to the picasa album below you will see some awesome posters they have made to showcase services and bring people into the world of Data and GIS. The images on some of the posters are really powerful....

posters on picasa

IASSIST SIGDC Meeting Held in Vancouver

The IASSIST Special Interest Group on Data Citation (SIGDC) met in Vancouver on Wednesday, June 1, with 15 people in attendance. The group discussed ways in which IASSIST members could influence data citation standards and behavior. Suggestions were made to:

  • Inventory the resources that the SIG maintains and knows about
  • Create a set of simple slides to share with faculty and students; these might include guidelines on citation format with examples but would not endorse a certain format
  • Create posters on data citation to hang in prominent places
  • Contact bibliographic software companies to make sure they include data as a specific resource type
  • Contact style guides – APA, Chicago, MLA – to ensure that they are providing appropriate citations for data and including DOIs
  • Create a set of Web pages on this topic on the IASSIST site
  • Contact Google Scholar with a list of issues related to data

Joachim Wackerow presented information on ways to make DOIs more machine-actionable. He pointed out that CrossRef has a new project to provide for HTTP negotiation. This would permit the DOI to link to rich structured metadata like DDI in addition to a human-readable metadata record.

Data Management & Curation Resources

Dear IASSIST members,

The Data Management & Curation Good Practice Action Group has been working this past year to compile a list of links and resources related to Data Management & Curation.

This group has been charged with “collecting a set of existing resources and links from among the membership to create a resource page on the public website covering the topics of good practice, standards, and activity in Data Management and Data Curation”.

Our focus is on the audience of the IASSIST membership. We tied the scope of this project to the IASSIST Strategic Plan. Basically, we are working to create a web resource which will provide information and resources directly related to the following areas:

  • Policies for making research data accessible
  • Practices in making research data accessible
  • Resources on responsible data curation
  • Data Management Plans

In keeping with the outlined project scope, we have gathered information in the following areas:

  • guides to data management,
  • tools for data management planning,
  • sample and template data management plans,
  • resources for data curation,
  • funder policies

Our resource page is now live on the IASSIST website:

http://www.iassistdata.org/resources/category/data-management-and-curation

Please take a look at the resources we have listed. If you are aware of, or are responsible for, great resources or tools that are not listed, and do fall within the criteria above, please send the information to our group at : iassist_dmag@googlegroups.com by May 13, 2011. We will add them to the site. This is just a starting point. We apologize in advance if your resources were not included in this preliminary stage of development.

This site is intended to be an active resource which can and should be expanded upon over time. It is our hopes to establish a new IASSIST Action Group to be responsible for maintaining the site.

There may also be topics of interest which are not listed due to the scope of our project, for instance, we have decided at this point not to include sites on related topics such as advocacy, data communities, data lifecycles, data creation best practices, data use, metadata, data ethics, preservation, and professional development.  We are mindful that these are important issues, but needed to start with a more limited scope. There may be future opportunities for IASSIST members to gather information on areas outside the scope of this group.

If you have any ideas or comments on the resources listed or any other aspect of the project, please feel free to contact us. We are looking forward to receiving your input. Again, our deadline for input on this phase of the project should be sent to us by May 13, 2011.


Carol Perry
On behalf of the DMAG team

Roper Centre recognition

To iassist:

It isn't every day that an incoming university president envies data over basketball!
Congratulations to our colleagues at the Roper Center for this well deserved recognition.

Susan Herbst, incoming President at the University of Connecticut:
What about UConn drew you here? more...

IASSIST Election Results

[Posted on behalf of Ernie Boyko]

Dear IASSIST Members


I am pleased to announce the results of the 2011 IASSIST election.

 

The members of the IASSIST Administrative Committee and their terms are as follows:


President:                           Bill Block                 (2011-2013)

Vice- President:                  Tuomas J. Alaterä    (2011-2013)

 

Regional  Secretaries for the period 2011-2013

               Africa:                 Lynn Woolfrey     (2011-2013)

               Asia/Pacific         Samuel Spencer   (2011-2013)

               Canada               Marilyn Andrews   (2011-2013)

               Europe                Iris Alfredsson      (2011-2013)

               US                      San Cannon         (2011-2013)

 

Regional Committee Members for the period 2011-2015         

               Canada                  Walter Giesbrecht           

               Europe                   Jane Roberts                    

               Europe                   Oliver Watteler                      

               USA                       Jen Darragh                            

               USA                       Kate McNeill                           

               USA                       Eleanor Read                     

 

The Regional Committee members whose terms expire in 2013 (not part of this election)

               Canada                 Maxine Tedesco              

               Europe                  Helena Laaksonen                          

               USA                      Harrison Dekker               

               USA                      Gretchen Gano                 

               USA                      Joel Herndon

 

Melanie Wright now becomes the past president

 

The voter participation was 46.2% (121 out of 262 eligible members)

This slate of officials will come into office as of the general IASSIST assembly meeting which will take place  on June 2, 2011.  I understand that all members new, continuing and outgoing are invited to attend the admin committee meeting on May 30, 2011.

I would like to join the nominations and elections committee in congratulating the new and returning members and to wish them well in guiding us over the next few years.  Our thanks go out to all who participated and to those who will be leaving the committee.  Also thanks To Chuck Humphrey and his Vote Now colleagues for organizing the electronic ballots.


Thank you to all


The nominations and elections committee

Ann Green, Jane Weintrop, Libby Bishop, Mari Kleemola, Wendy Watkins, Jennifer Green, Chuck Humphrey, Ernie Boyko (chair)

 

 

SBE 2020 white papers available

The Directorate for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences of the National Science Foundation (NSF/SBE) has released today a collection of white papers contributed under the "SBE 2020: Future Research in the Social, Behavioral &  Economic Sciences" initiative. Authors were asked to outline grand challenge questions that are both foundational and transformative. For information, please visit:
http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/sbe_2020/index.cfm more...

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    Publications Special issue: A pioneer data librarian
    Welcome to the special volume of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ (37):1-4, 2013). This special issue started as exchange of ideas between Libbie Stephenson and Margaret Adams to collect

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