What we define as Experimental Statistics

Experimental statistics represent innovation in statistical production. In particular, experimental statistics are newly developed or innovative official statistics undergoing evaluation. They are developed and published to involve users and stakeholders in the assessment of their suitability and quality at an early stage. The goal is their successful development so as to be produced according to the standards of the European Statistics Code of Practice.

The European Statistics Code of Practice put a lot of emphasis on innovation and improvement in ensuring the standing public value of official statistics.

The experimental statistics label provides a clear statement of the nature of the statistics being under development, with a potentially wider degree of uncertainty in the resulting estimates as the methods and processes are established and verified.

Testing of the experimental statistics allows their producers to gain a good understanding of their quality, including their accuracy and reliability as well as their value. Users have a central role in this process – without their involvement, producers will have an incomplete understanding of the suitability of the statistics.

In general, the motivation and criteria for characterizing statistics as experimental pertain to:

  • new statistics having a considerably immediate value to users; users are aware of the statistics’ quality and limitations and can make qualified use of them before operational testing has been completed
  • statistics that remain subject to testing of quality, volatility and ability to meet user needs
  • statistics compiled with new methods that are being tested and are still subject to amendments or further evaluation
  • statistics with only partial coverage (e.g., subgroups or regions) at this stage of development.