“[…] it is hard to imagine that the debate on the use of composite indicators will ever be settled […] official statisticians may tend to resent composite indicators, whereby a lot of work in data collection and editing is “wasted” or “hidden” behind a single number of dubious significance. On the other hand, the temptation of stakeholders and practitioners to summarise complex and sometime elusive processes (e.g. sustainability, single market policy, etc.) into a single figure to benchmark country performance for policy consumption seems likewise irresistible.”
Andrea Saltelli, JRC
- 22-26 July, 2013 11th JRC Seminar on Composite Indicators and Rankings
05/2013 JRC Speech at the IREG Forum on University Rankings
Warsaw, May 16, 2013
Over 130 experts on university rankings and representatives from the academic community from 32 countries met in Warsaw 16-17 May 2013 at the IREG Forum on University Rankings – Methodologies under scrutiny. The conference was organized by the IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence and the Perspektywy Education Foundation in cooperation with the Polish Academy of Sciences. The JRC (M. Saisana) was invited by Jan Sadlak, President of IREG Observatory, to give a presentation on the quality criteria for data aggregation used in academic rankings.
04/2013 Presentation at the JRC Round Table on the Contribution of Universities to Science and Innovation
Brussels, April 11, 2013
Andrea Saltelli illustrated the G03 unit’s work on sensitivity of university rankings in his presentation “Looking at apples and oranges: Learning from university rankings and composite indicators” at the JRC Round Table “JRC – Universities: How to Increase the Contribution of Universities to Science and Innovation” held in Brussels, on April 11th, 2013.
04/2013 Seminar on Composite Indicators to the World Economic Forum
Geneva, April 18, 2013
A two days seminar was given by Michaela Saisana and Andrea Saltelli to the World Economic Forum in Geneva, on April 18-19, 2013. Participants included researchers working on four WEF indices: Human Capital Index, Global Competitiveness Index, National Resilience Index, and Global Gender Gap Index. It has also been established that JRC will audit the Human Capital Index in early June and the National Resilience Index at a later stage.
03/2013 Keynote Speech on Quality Tests for Higher Education Rankings
Valencia, March 07, 2013
A seminar (3h) was given by Michaela Saisana to the International Conference on Higher Education Rankings organized by Universidad Politecnica de Valencia in Spain, on March 07-09, 2013. A JRC collaboration was established with Jan Sadlak, president of the International Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence (IREG) to work on the Shanghai university ranking.
03/2013 JRC discusses the Human Development Index (HDI) at the Second Conference on Measuring Human Progress
New York, March 04, 2013
Michaela Saisana of the Econometrics and Applied Statistics Unit of the European Commission was selected as discussant of the Human Development Index at the Second International Conference on Measuring Human Development (4-5/03/2013, New York) before an audience including Nobel prize winners Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen. JRC was selected for its leadership in the field of composite indicators methodology. A JRC paper on the topic is being published these days on the prestigious Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. The Human Development Report Office organized this meeting to consider how best to improve these indices: how these indices can be made conceptually stronger, more statistically robust and easier to use by policy makers, stakeholders and the media. The feedback received from the JRC and other participant organizations (including OECD, Berkeley University, World Bank, Yale University) will be used in the revision of the HDI 2014.
02/2013 High-level Roundtable on "Scientific Support to Internal Market", Brussels
Brussels, February 21, 2013
At the request of Commissioner Barnier and with the support from Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn, the Joint Research Centre has organized a high-level roundtable on "Scientific support to Internal Market" on 21 February 2013 in Brussels. This initiative was structured according to three key areas with the greatest growth potential: a more integrated Single Market for services; the better protection and development of intellectual property; the digital economy. This roundtable among high-level scientists, leading consumer NGOs, business representatives, social partners and policy makers has been an opportunity to reflect on the potential role for science and identify priorities where scientific expertise and research should be targeted to help policy makers to find new ways of growth from the single market.
01/2013 Ratings and rankings: Voodoo or Science?
According to many – including some of the authors of the Stiglitz report – composite indicators have serious shortcomings. Still these measures are pervasive in the public discourse and represent perhaps the best known face of statistics in the eyes of the general public and media. A new JRC paper to appear in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society – Series A, delves into the potential fallacies of rankings and ratings built as arithmetic averages. The analysis is applied to six composite indicators, including the Human Development Index and two popular league tables of university performance.