2 May 2018

AGU Speaks Out Against Dismantling of Puerto Rican Statistics Agency

Posted by Chris McEntee

Earlier this week, AGU signed onto a letter to Puerto Rico’s governor and leaders of its House and Senate. The letter voices concern over Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s efforts, and now an approved plan by the Puerto Rican legislature, to overhaul the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics (PRIS), an independent government statistics agency. The plan would bring PRIS under the Department of Economic Development and Commerce and outsource the agencies work to private companies.

The letter, which is coordinated by the American Statistical Association (ASA) and has been signed by more than 30 science organizations, notes that these actions by Puerto Rico’s leaders undermine scientific integrity and evidence-based policymaking. Specifically, the ASA letter calls out the impact and importance of government statistics and how critical it is that they “be produced through rigorous scientific processes and analyses performed by experts that can function free of outside influence.”

Transparent and independent statistical data are critical to inform sound decision-making. In the wake of the death and destruction caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, PRIS has been shut out of a task force examining hurricane-related deaths.

AGU has spoken out and will continue to speak out against efforts that contradict our principles of free and open communication of scientific data and information. Data can impact all areas of society and we must ensure decisionmakers and the public have unimpeded access to open, objective data.