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Ethics for Statisticians

Ethics for Statisticians

Data science has a tremendous capacity to improve our society and the world. It also comes with an inherent potential for abuse. It is therefore critical to ensure that this data is obtained and utilized according to standard ethical guidelines. We stand by the Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice, prepared by the Committee on Professional Ethics of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and approved by the ASA Board of Directors in 2022. Please review the full guidelines, available on ASA website and as a PDF.

Purpose of ethical guidelines

The ethical guidelines aim to promote accountability by informing those who rely on any aspects of statistical practice of the standards they should expect. Society benefits from informed judgments supported by ethical statistical practice. All statistical practitioners are expected to follow these guidelines and encourage others to do the same.

In some situations, guideline principles may require balancing competing interests. If an unexpected ethical challenge arises, the ethical practitioner seeks guidance, not exceptions, in the guidelines. To justify unethical behaviors, or to exploit gaps in the guidelines, is unprofessional and inconsistent with these guidelines.