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Visualisation and Presentation in Statistics

Wednesday 19th May 2011, at the Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

Statistics interfaces with the wider world in several ways and the perception among statisticians is that the presentation of statistical thought and statistical analysis is often wanting. Problems include insufficient information, distorted (sometimes deliberate) interpretations, misunderstood computer output and biases introduced by poor sampling frames. Major areas where misrepresentation is widely acknowledged include the results of medical research, experimental designs, statistics based on reports in the media, government statistics, and graphical/visual presentation in much of the applied (non-statistical) research literature (e.g. market research). Other major areas include the social and behavioural sciences, and genomics.
In this context, presentation is viewed as not being solely related to visual presentation but concerned with all aspects of how results of research are presented to the public. It is time to debate concerns.
Furthermore, public confidence in official statistics is very low in the United Kingdom - a 2007 survey found it was the lowest in the European Union. Why is this - it does not reflect the quality of the data - and to what extent are perceptions of government interference the cause? How can the situation be improved?

This forms the basis of Visualisation and Presentation in Statistics, the 24th rather-more-frequent-than-annual Open University statistics conference, which is of interest to both statisticians and users of statistics.

The conference will include 9 invited talks along with an introduction by John C. Gower. We also invite submissions for poster presentations on relevant topics. If you wish to submit a poster for presentation, please complete the relevant section of the registration form. The cost of the conference is £45. This includes registration, lunch and refreshments.

The conference will start at 10.35 a.m. and end at 5.30 p.m. It will take place in the Berrill Lecture Theatre on the main Open University campus at Walton Hall, Milton Keynes.

We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Open University.

Organising committee (in alphabetical order): Sarah Frain, John C. Gower, Sara Griffin, Steffen Unkel.

Invited speakers (in alphabetical order)
  • John Aldrich (Division of Economics, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton):
    Graphs before graphics--some history

  • Rosemary A. Bailey (School of Mathematical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London):
    Bad statistics

  • Martin Bland (Department of Health Sciences, University of York):
    Reporting clinical trials with confidence

  • Michael Blastland (Freelance writer and broadcaster):
    Statistics: a game for two players

  • Tony Hirst (Communication and Systems Department, The Open University):
    Visualisations for the rest of us - How to create rich interactive visualisations without any of the pain

  • Jill Leyland (Vice President, Royal Statistical Society):
    The lack of confidence in UK official statistics - are communication problems responsible? - And what can be done?

  • Kevin J. McConway (Department of Mathematics and Statistics, The Open University):
    Statistics in the media: publicity, entertainment and wallpaper

  • David Spiegelhalter (Statistical Laboratory, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge and MRC Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge):
    Visualising risk and uncertainty: the power of movement

  • Michel van de Velden (Econometric Institute, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands):
    Perceptual maps: the good, the bad and the ugly