Principles of dissemination of official statistics
The dissemination of statistics means that the statistics are made available to the public.
Official statistics are public information produced in accordance with the Official Statistics Act and following the principles of the European Statistics Code of Practice.
- are produced for the benefit of the society;
- are equally accessible to everyone;
- are produced within the framework of the statistical programme or as non-programme statistical activities;
- comply with internationally approved quality indicators.
The dissemination of official statistics is governed by the following principles.
- The dissemination dates of official statistics are announced in the release calendar. All users are guaranteed equal access to official statistics and no user category (incl. Eurostat, governmental authorities or the mass media) has access to official statistics before other users.
- The dissemination of official statistics is impartial – no political comments or comments by governmental authorities are added.
- Official statistics are first published in the statistical database. In case a related news release is also scheduled, it is published simultaneously with the first release of the data in the statistical database.
- Statistics Estonia’s news releases, news items, blog posts, publications, comments and other materials are based on the data publicly available in the statistical database. This guarantees that users find identical data in all channels.
- Official statistics are always published with metadata and unambiguous explanations in order to avoid misinterpretation and misuse.
- Statistics Estonia issues a comment on any misinterpretation and misuse of official statistics.
- Official statistics are always published in Estonian and additionally in English and in Russian if possible.
- All the materials released by Statistics Estonia meet the quality requirements for official statistics.
Quality requirements for statistical output
Official statistics have to comply with internationally approved quality requirements observed by every producer of official statistics in every country and international organisation.
The production of statistics is related to clearly established requirements arising from the objectives – the statistics meet users’ needs. Statistics Estonia regularly collects feedback from users and takes their needs into account in the preparation of the statistical programme.
The quality indicators for statistics are published on the website, in quality reports and in methodological reports. All users are simultaneously notified of revisions and the publication of their results.
The statistics are published in accordance with best practice, that is, no later than within the period following the reporting period: annual statistics are published in the following year, quarterly statistics are published in the following quarter, and monthly statistics are published in the following month.
All releases are announced in advance. Statistics Estonia’s release calendar complies with the IMF Special Data Dissemination Standard. The release calendar for the following year is published on Statistics Estonia’s website no later than on 1 October of the preceding year. Changes in release dates are announced at least three months in advance.
The statistics are disseminated using contemporary information and communication technology and hard copy, if necessary. The main channels for dissemination are Statistics Estonia’s website, the statistical database and web applications. Customer support is available for users.
The statistics are comparable over a reasonable period of time. In case of changes in methodology, the time series are recalculated using the new methodology, if possible. The length of comparable time series is specified in the ESMS metadata of the relevant statistical activity.
Metadata, methodology reports, explanations and links to international guidelines are available on the website. Statistics are produced on the basis of common standards, regardless of the specific statistical activity or data source.
Publication of statistics
The release dates of official statistics are announced in the release calendar. On 1 October each year, the release dates of the statistical database, news releases and main indicators for the following calendar year are announced in the release calendar. Official statistics are made available on the website from 8:00 a.m. on the date specified in the release calendar.
The release calendar does not include the release dates of extraordinary news releases, blog posts, news items and any comments by Statistics Estonia that do not concern the first release of official statistics. In case of these releases, the most favourable release time is chosen depending on the contents of the release.
The publication and dissemination of statistical information is a centralised process at Statistics Estonia, coordinated by the Marketing and Dissemination Department.
Revisions are adjustments of statistical data which may be planned or unplanned. Planned revisions are either regular (i.e. routine revisions) or irregular (i.e. major revisions). Unplanned revisions are made to correct errors.
Regular revisions are related to the statistics production process. Already published data are revised upon the receipt of additional data, meaning that preliminary estimates are replaced with final values derived from the data submitted by respondents. This is customary in certain subject areas where preliminary data are published to ensure timeliness.
Irregular revisions are related to methodological improvements, for example, when definitions and classifications are changed, the base year is changed, new data sources are introduced, etc. Irregular revisions have to be scheduled so that several changes are published at once, i.e. irregular revisions should be as rare as possible.
Announcement of revisions
Users have to be simultaneously notified of planned revisions and the publication of the results. According to the IMF Special Data Dissemination Standard, users have to be notified of the release date of revised data three months in advance. In case of major revisions, users also have to be notified of the extent of revisions, i.e. how much the revised values have changed.
In case of regular revisions, the release dates of both preliminary and final data are included in the release calendar. Information about the release of revised data is also added in the relevant news releases. In case of irregular revisions, the release date of revised data is announced in the release calendar three months in advance. Also, information about the conduct of revisions and the release date of the results is provided at the end of relevant news releases at least three months before the publication of revised data.
In case of major revisions (e.g. GDP), a written notice is sent to relevant users at least three months prior to the release of revised data. On the release date of revised data, a detailed overview is published on the website (incl. the reasons and impact of the revision) and user briefings are organised, if necessary.
Publication of preliminary and final data
Preliminary data are published only in those subject areas where it is necessary to ensure the timeliness of statistics. Preliminary data are always followed by final data.
In the release calendar, separate dates are shown for the publication of preliminary data and final data in the statistical database. When the data are preliminary, the release is marked as “preliminary data” in the calendar. When the published data are final, there is no note in the calendar.
When preliminary data are published, a footnote is added to the table (e.g. “The data for 2019 are preliminary”). When the final data are published, the note about preliminary data is removed.
Notification of corrections
Errors in releases (excl. misprints) are classified as follows:
- minor errors – errors that will probably not mislead the general public in the interpretation of the statistical data, because the error is either logically identifiable or statistically irrelevant (i.e. within the limits of statistical error);
- major errors – errors entailing a realistic possibility that the general public will interpret the statistical data incorrectly.
Any errors discovered are corrected as soon as possible.
Correction of news releases
If an error is found in a news release published on the website, Statistics Estonia will publish a notification about the date of correction of the news release (such as, “The news release was corrected on dd.mm.yyyy. Please consider the text/data marked in red as correct.”, for example). The notification of correction is published if the correction is made within two weeks from the original release date. If the error found in a news release is significant and could case misinterpretation by the general public, the notification of correction is published regardless of when the news release was originally published.
Corrections in the statistical database
If any corrections are made in the statistical database, a note including the date of revision is added under the relevant table. Corrections of minor errors are published during the routine updates of the statistical database at 8:00 a.m. Corrections of any major errors are published as soon as possible.
Corrections in electronic publications
In case of electronic publications, the corrected items are marked with a red asterisk, and a note about the correction (“Corrected on dd.mm.yyyy”) is added to the relevant page as well as to the information page of the publication.
Reference to the data source
Statistics Estonia’s open data can be shared under Creative Common (CC) licence BY-SA 4.0. For more information, see https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en.
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