Data in public communications

Battistini Lecture · 1 December 2020 · Institute of Advanced Studies · University of Bologna

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Giuseppe Sollazzo, Parli-N-Grams,
Maurizio Napolitano, Mappa di Trento 1915 – da un libro di Cesare Battisti,
Cesare Battisti, Il Trentino, Giovanni Zippel Editore, 1898. Available on WikiSource:
Cesare Battisti, Source: Wikipedia,,_Milano,_1915_(portrait).jpg
Illustration from Cesare Battisti, Il Trentino, 1915,,_cenni_geografici,_storici,_economici,_1915
Labmod, Trento nel 1915,
Maurizio Napolitano, Fondazione Bruno Kessler,
Il passaggio all’Italia, Sistema catastale tavolare, Wikipedia,'Italia
Source: Wikipedia 1942, and 2020,
Di chi è la Marmolada?, Il Post,
Open Street Map, Forum, Edit War over Jerusalem,
Open Street Map, Data Working Group, Disputes,
Mikel Maron, Open Street Map, Forum, Edit War over Jerusalem,
W.E.B du Bois, African American Photographs Assembled for the 1900 Paris Exposition, Library of Congress,
W.E.B. Du Bois in 1918, Source: Wikipedia,
From W.E.B du Bois, African American Photographs Assembled for the 1900 Paris Exposition, Library of Congress,
William O’Hare, Differential Undercounts in the U.S. Census,
John Snow’s map, Source: Wikipedia,
Census-taking in the ancient world, Office for National Statistics,
David Spiegelhalter, The Art of Statistics – Learning with Data, Penguin, 2020,
BBC News, UK unemployment falls to 1.44 million,
ONS, UK labour market: January 2018,
ONS, A guide to labour market statistics,
House of Commons Library, “Understanding statistics on employment, unemployment and earnings” Research Briefing, Published Tuesday, 17 December, 2019,
How the Government Measures Unemployment, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization (U-1 through U-6), Labor force characteristics, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Andreas Becker, Debunking the myth of low German unemployment, Deutsche Welle, 2018,
Viktor Steiner, The labor market for older workers in Germany, Der Arbeitsmarkt für ältere Arbeitnehmer in Deutschland, Journal for Labour Market Research 50, 1–14, Springer Open,
Office for National Statistics, UK House Price Index: March 2020,
Office for National Statistics, Average household income, UK: financial year ending 2019,
This is not entirely accurate as multiple factors are at stake during an Ofsted inspection. The result of an Ofsted evaluation is that a good school will be broadly above average, but it’s not a case – nor was a case – of a straight calculation. Once again, this is an example in itself of misuse of data and mathematical definitions.
House of Commons, Oral Evidence taken before the Education Committee, The Responsibilities of the Secretary of State for Education, Tuesday 31 January 2012,
For example, John Crace, The Guardian, “Diane Abbott has several numbers on police costs – sadly they are all wrong”,
There are some excellent exceptions, such as the fact-checking efforts started by a number of media outlets, like the BBC Reality Check service,
Eleanor Busby, The Independent, Schools minister Nick Gibb refuses to answer maths question on TV as he launches times tables tests,
NatCen, Public Public Confidence in Official Statistics 2018,
Valentina Romei, Financial Times, Italian election shines harsh light on economic divide,
Giuseppe Sollazzo, 8 March 2018, Le vere mappe delle elezioni italiane,
Map-territory relation, Wikipedia,
How The Washington Post Estimates Outstanding Votes for the 2020 Presidential Election, Washington Post Engineering, October 2020,
Today In Focus, Guardian Podcast, US election 2020: can we trust the polls?,
Helena Robertson, Ashley Kirk and Frank Hulley-Jones, The Guardian, Build your own US election result: plot a Biden or Trump win,
Biden vs Trump: live results 2020, Financial Times,
Ben Walker, New Statesman, US 2020 presidential election forecast model: will Donald Trump or Joe Biden win?
Wissen Sie noch, wo die Mauer Berlin teilte?, Berliner Morgenpost,
Ost-West? Nord-Süd? Oder ganz anders?,
Levontin, P., Walton, J.L., Kleineberg, J., Barons, M., French, S., Aufegger, L., McBride, M., Smith, J.Q., Barons, E., and Houssineau, J., Visualising Uncertainty: A Short Introduction (London, UK: AU4DM, 2020),
Isaia Invernizzi, Come leggere i dati sulle terapie intensive,
Alessia Candito, Il trucco con cui la Calabria è passata da 26 a 10 ricoveri in terapia intensiva, La Repubblica, 5 November 2020,
Public Health England has changed its definition of deaths: here’s what it means,
Tim Harford, How to make the world add up,
Jon Sharman, Tragedy of stillbirths in Europe underestimated due to statistical guidelines, study suggests, The Independent,
Lucy Smith et al., Quantifying the burden of stillbirths before 28 weeks of completed gestational age in high-income countries: a population-based study of 19 European countries, The Lancet,
Alan Karthikesalingam et al., Elective Open Suprarenal Aneurysm Repair in England from 2000 to 2010 an Observational Study of Hospital Episode Statistics, PLOS One, 2013,
Nicholas Cecil, London's coronavirus figures 'skewed by university students in other cities' amid fears capital is 'two weeks behind the North West', Evening Standard, 9 October 2020,
John Burn-Murdoch, Twitter,
John Burn-Murdoch, Financial Times,
John Burn-Murdoch, Twitter,
Control of Patient Information,, NHS Board Updates, July 2014,
Open Data Definition,
Cameron in 'people power' pledge, BBC News,
McKinsey Global Institute, Open data: Unlocking innovation and performance with liquid information, October 2013,
Environment Secretary unveils vision for open data to transform food and farming, Gov.Uk News Story,
Owen Boswarva, OpenDefra: 8,000+ open datasets released in one year,
Clare Moriarty, Redefining success, FDA,
Terence Eden, Open Data - but not *too* open,
David J Nutt, Estimating Drug Harms: A Risky Business?, January 2009,