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6 October 2022

Dear {Contact_First_Name},

A new month has started and we find ourselves closer to the end of the year, but also closer to the 2023 Australian Statistical Conference (ASC) and Australian Conference on Teaching Statistics (OZCOTS), now only fourteen months away!

No conference would be complete without a vibrant social program, because – let’s face it - much of the fun at a conference comes from networking with like-minded people. While some of that can occur while sitting in a session and listening to fascinating talks, most connections are made outside the plenary room, during chats over coffee with a biscuit or at the end of a long conference day with a glass of wine.

To ensure that you have the best social experience during the conference, Jodi Phillips (SSA’s Event Coordinator) and I headed to Wollongong this week, courtesy of “Destination Wollongong” to check out venue options for the welcome reception, the official conference dinner, the Early Career and Student Statistician dinner, and for events that our sections may want to offer. At this stage, the preliminary program also includes an afternoon of excursions, and we will check out the possibilities for these as well.

We only started our tour this morning, so at this stage there is not much to report, but I promise that we will endeavour to taste as much food as possible to make sure you will be presented with the best of what Wollongong has to offer and the conference budget may allow! I may share photographs of the highlights here next week, just to whet your appetite.

Make sure you check the conference website regularly to keep up to date with the line-up of speakers and key-dates.

Hopefully see you in Wollongong in 2023 – if not before!

Marie-Louise Rankin
Executive Officer

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Please note that the SSA Office is closed on Thursday, 6 October.

SSA 60th anniversary slide

SSA NSW Branch: September Event

In September, the NSW Branch hosted Dr Tom Honeyman to talk about “Recognizing the value of research software”. Tom works for ARDC (Australian Research Data Commons), and, for his work, he meets researchers all over Australia and see different points of view of the same research questions. A bit what we are trying to do in our Branch! 

The goal of ARDC is to provide Australia researchers with competitive advantage through data. As part of its goal, ARDC has developed a “Research Software Agenda” which has its own mantra: See, Shape, Sustain. In particular, ARDC recognises software as a first-class output of research. 

Tom, together with most people in the audience, recognised that software is usually seen as a second-class output, much less important to researchers when trying to progress in their careers. On the other hand, the importance of software is becoming more and more central, where good codes are useful to our own research and the research of many people even from different fields. The importance can be read in the fact that over 400 people contributed to the National Agenda for Research Software put together by ARDC. 

But what does it mean to make software available? Many of us use repositories like GitHub, but they are not stable records. Submitting codes to the CRAN (if you are an R user) or other package managers usually means that the code it more studied and ready for users (not always!), but this does not mean that it will be a stable record either. One important thing is that it is possible to get a DOI for your software! 

And this leads us to another problem. How to make your software citable? Howison and Bullard (2016) looked at the ways papers are citing software and (unsurprisingly) the most common way to do it is “no mention”. So, first of all, remember to cite the software you use in your work, with a proper reference and with the authors’ names.

The discussion was a great moment of exchange and even longer than usual. It touched some philosophical points, and it even became heated sometimes! A central point was: researchers should know that if they write good code, other people will use it, and it will be cited; on the other hand, if they do not make code available, or if it is not properly tested and documented, less people will use their methods and cite it. But we all know that, in practice, too many scientific articles are not related to any publicly available code or software. 

We need a big shift in practice, which is happening, if still slowly. And we thank Tom for sharing his experience and ARDC recommendations with us! 

Clara Grazian
President, SSA NSW Branch

To get in touch with ARDC and see their programs, click here

Big data for social policy: report launch and panel discussion recording

This panel discussion and report launch explores the use of big data and related technologies to social policy in both Australian and international contexts, unpacking some of the successes and failures (think Robodebt), as well as the ethical considerations and other challenges that are increasingly becoming apparent.

Watch the Panel Discussion here

October issue of "Significance" out now!

Women in statistics and data science are celebrated throughout the October issue of Significance, guest edited by Altea Lorenzo-Arribas and Sandra Alba. From pioneers of the past to modern-day heroines breaking down barriers in the 21st century, find out more about some of the discipline’s key figures, and explore new statistical ideas about how to build a fairer society.

October issue highlights:

The female of the species: Baboon mothers and a courageous career move

Lucy Cooke celebrates the “fiercely analytical mind” of Jeanne Altmann, whose statistical work in the 1960s rescued animal mothers from evolutionary obscurity

A place where women thrived: UK Social Survey Official Statistics

Women had a strong presence in the workforce of UK Social Survey Official Statistics from its inception. Joy Dobbs was part of a cohort of women recruited in the 1970s and 1980s as government survey statistics expanded. This cohort joined and enhanced an environment and culture that nurtured and developed female talent, including two women who became National Statistician

Bayesian networks versus gender bias

Gender-sensitive statistics can highlight gender gaps, but current measurement tools have serious limitations. Here, Fulvia Mecatti, Paola Vicard, Flaminia Musella and Lorenzo Giammei explore how Bayesian networks could help improve the measurement, monitoring and prediction of gender equality

Gender equity in digital health: AI as a doubleedged sword

Alyssa Columbus describes flaws in statistical methods used by digital health platforms, how these shortcomings could contribute to gender health disparities, and what can be done to minimise inequities

“They are not alone”: Mentoring women graduate students

Women and other historically marginalised groups can feel out of place on advanced degree programmes – mentoring can help. Here, Emily Griffith and Julia Sharp – both winners of the Outstanding Mentor Award from the ASA’s Statistical Consulting section – show how

Bot out of hell: Interview with Francesca Lawson

Last International Women’s Day, the Twitter Gender Pay Gap Bot mined government data to sensationally unmask hypocritical employers. Its co-creator Francesca Lawson tells Altea Lorenzo-Arribas and Sandra Alba how it happened, and why data is nothing without visibility

“We are still not done”: Interview with Tomi Mori

Japanese biostatistician Motomi “Tomi” Mori is chair of the organising committee of the inaugural International Day of Women in Statistics and Data Science on 11 October 2022, and served as the President of the Caucus for Women in Statistics last year. She speaks candidly to Altea Lorenzo-Arribas about her work and the challenges she has faced

Profile: Violet Cane

She ditched her PhD to help defeat the Nazis, and is remembered as a kind teacher and funny friend. Here, Rob Gandy, Altea Lorenzo-Arribas and Richard Startup celebrate the life and work of pioneering British statistician Professor Violet Cane

Significance is online at www.significancemagazine.comAs part of their membership with the Statistical Society of Australia, members have access to Significance through the Wiley Online Library. Click here to find out how to access the magazine. 
Print issues will be mailed to subscribers soon.

SSA Events

DIY R Package Workshop

12 Oct 2022, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM (AEDT), held online

The NSW branch is pleased to offer a DIY R Package workshop.

Do you have a few custom functions on heavy rotation? Perhaps you have a piece of code that you regularly share with colleagues? Maybe you’ve developed a new statistical model and want to share it with the world? Why not put it all in an R package?! This interactive workshop will equip you with the basic skills to create an R package of your own! We will walk through the package building process and apply the same workflow to your own function. We will learn about testing and continuous integration and implement them using Github Actions.

For more information and to register click here

SSA & NZSA ECSSNs joint event: From PhD to post-doc: navigating life as an early-career researcher

13 Oct 2022, 1:00 PM (AEDT), online

The SSA & NZSA Early Career and Student Statistician Networks invite you to the webinar presented by Dr Rheanna Mainzer.

In this talk, Rheanna will share her experience navigating the transition from PhD student to bio-statistician. She will shed light on the day-to-day activities of a post-doc (both within a university and at a research institute) and describe some of the lessons she has learned along the way.

Find out more

SSA Vic Branch Belz Lecture

20 Oct 2022, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM (AEDT)

University House at the Woodward, Level 10, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton

The SSA Vic Branch are delighted to have Dr Dina Neiger, Chief Statistician at Social Research Centre, present this year's Belz Lecture. The lecture will be delivered online and in-person and will be followed by the annual

SSA Vic Branch Belz Dinner

20 Oct 2022, 7:45 PM – 10:00 PM (AEDT) (same venue)

The Vic Branch warmly invites members and guests to the Belz Dinner, held at University House at the Woodward from 7:45PM.

Join us for the three-course dinner and beautiful views.

To register for the lecture, please click here.

To register for the dinner, please click here.

Estimands, Estimators and Estimates: Aligning target of estimation, method of estimation, and sensitivity analysis

20 Oct 2022, 9:00 AM – 21 Oct 2022, 5:00 PM (AEDT), Macquarie University Sydney City Campus

SSA and the Australian Pharmaceutical Biostatistics  Group (APBG) are pleased to present the event.  This course will focus on estimands and related statistical methodologies that are commonly used in clinical trials. We will share our experiences and try to provide some guidance on their use in clinical trial practice. The target audience includes statisticians working in industry (pharmaceutical companies), academia (universities, medical centers, or research hospitals), or government (AIHW/TGA), and also graduate students who are interested in clinical trial methods. The difficulty level of the course is intermediate, at a second-year graduate course

The learning objectives are three-fold: (1) to understand the fundamentals of the estimand framework and be able to apply it in clinical trials; (2) to identify an appropriate primary analysis method that targets the estimand of interest, fully aligned with the ICH E9(R1) Addendum; and (3) to implement appropriate main and sensitivity analyses.

International Day for Women in Statistics and Data Science (IDWSDS)

11 Oct 2022

The IDWSDS will promote and celebrate women in statistics and data science all around the globe with a conference. The aims are to:

  • Showcase women and their contributions to the field
  • Connect women statisticians and data scientists around the world
  • Encourage collaborations among statistical societies around the world
  • Impact statistics and data science to become more inclusive and diverse
  • Bridge statistics and data science 
For more information click here

Introduction to Linear Regression (Basic Statistics Stream)-25 Oct 2022, 2:00 PM AEST, online and

Designing Data Visualization To Make a Real Impact On Your Audience (Data Visualization Stream)-24 Nov 2022, 2:00 PM AEST, online

Dr Mark Griffin, presents a free monthly webinar series introducing various methods used in Business Analytics (where these webinars are categorized into the themes of Analytics Strategy, Survey Design, Basic Statistics, Advanced Statistics, Data Mining, and Data Visualization). This webinar series is targeted at a broad audience who seek a better understanding of Business Analytics, and is open both to SSA members and non-members. These webinars are being jointly organized by the Statistical Society of Australia (Section for Business Analytics), the International Institute of Business Analysis (Special Interest Group for Business Analytics), and Insight Research Services Associated.

To register click here

Canberra Branch Workshop:Time series analysis and forecasting using R

9 Nov 2022, 9:00 AM (AEDT) – 10 Nov 2022, 5:00 PM (AEDT)

Room 5.02, Marie Reay Teaching Building, The Australian National University

The SSA Canberra Branch warmly invites you to an in-person workshop on Time series analysis and forecasting using R, taught by Professor Rob J Hyndman (Monash University) and Associate Professor Bahman Rostami-Tabar (Cardiff University, UK).  It is becoming increasingly common for organizations to collect huge amounts of data over time, and existing time series analysis tools are not always suitable to handle the scale, frequency and structure of the data collected. In this workshop, we will look at some packages and methods that have been developed to handle the analysis of large collections of time series.

For more information and to register click here.

SSA and NZSA ECSS Miniconference 2022

15 -17 Nov 2022, online + In-person (Perth)

We are pleased to be holding a National “Miniconference” jointly hosted by the Early Career and Student Statisticians Network (ECSSN) of the SSA, the Student and Early Career Statisticians Network (SECS) of the New Zealand Statistical Association (NZSA), and the WA Branch. This event is a “hybrid” event that includes two days of online-only presentations followed by one day of in-person presentations in WA. The latter shall also be streamed online.

Find out more

Save the date: ASC and OZCOTS 2023

10-15 December 2023, University of Wollongong, NSW

Find out more

Other Events

IASE webinars

The International Association for Statistical Education (IASE) presents its October webinar.  Lucia Zapata-Cardona, Universidad de Antioquia and Travis Weiland, University of Houston, are presenting, and we welcome you all to join us.  We also ask you to share this invitation with high school statistics teachers and other statistics education networks in your country. We welcome IASE and non-IASE members to the session. 

Details about the webinar are below and on our webinar page.

Critical Theory in Statistics Education

 7 October 2022, 5am AEDT (6 October 2022; 18:00 UTC)

Webinar duration: 90 minutes

Presenters: Lucia Zapata-Cardona, Colombia and Travis Weiland, USA

We are hoping to have this in dual languages – Spanish and English

Register here.

We are in an information age where data is constantly being collected and analyzed under the guise of benefiting all. This would seem to be a time for statistics and data science education to flourish. However, many of the algorithms and processes have baked into them the same biases as those who created them. Critical theory provides a lens to interrogate systemic issues of injustice and address crises in society. Given our current state of democracies in crisis across the globe we plan to discuss ways that statistics and data science educators can and have incorporated ideas from critical theory into their work in statistics and data science education. We provide some background into critical theory and how it has been taken up in mathematics education work and then discuss how these ideas could and have been used in the context of statistics and data science education work. Our goal is also to foster dialogue over these ideas so significant time will be devoted to discussion and questions.

AI & Data4Good 2022

Wednesday 12 October to Friday 14 October

Time: 9:00PM-110:45PM AEDT via Teams Live

Unlocking the power of data and AI in the public sector 

Effective and innovative use of data powered the public sector’s covid response and evidenced the power of data for the public good. 

This year’s conference will focus on the continuing, rapid, evolution in the sector’s use of valuable information assets and development of the skills and tools needed to unlock innovation and create a bedrock for AI – whilst we build public trust in our ability to prevent misuse of peoples’ data. 

Find out more

ADSN Inaugural Conference

21-22 November 2022, Brisbane

The Australian Data Science Network is pleased to announce its inaugural conference. The QUT Centre for Data Science will be the host organisation for the first conference to be held at QUT in Brisbane over two days on Monday and Tuesday, 21-22 November. Registration is opening soon. Stay tuned for more details!

AMSI BioInfoSummer 2022

21-24 November, The University of Melbourne

Join other students, ECRs and professionals in Melbourne (or online) to explore the latest research and developments in bioinformatics at this four-day conference. Travel grants are available to assist interstate students attend in Melbourne.

Click here for more information and to register:

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