During the 2013 JSM (Joint Statistics Meetings) Conference in Montreal, Revolution Analytics conducted a survey of attendees from August 5 to August 8. The 865 respondents gave their opinions on the privacy and ethics related to data collection, and on their familiarity with statistical software used for the analysis of such data.
Out of the 865 statisticians surveyed:
- A majority of the data scientists surveyed (overall — 88%; Life Sciences/Healthcare industry — 89%; Education — 87%) believe that consumers should worry about privacy issues with all of the data being collected on them.
- 80% agreed that there should be an ethical framework in place for collecting and using data.
- More than half of data scientist that agreed that ethics already play a big part in their research.
- Only 10% of respondents thought that there should not be an ethical framework with 1% stating that ethics should not play a part in data research.
- In the education industry 76% of data scientists said that there should be an ethical framework in place for data analytics – while 49% of that group declared that ethics already play a large part in their research.
- Similarly – in the life sciences/healthcare industry a majority (92%) agreed that having ethical framework was necessary with 64% of data scientists in the life sciences/healthcare industry said that ethics are already a part of their research.
The survey also polled respondents on their familiarity with popular statistical analysis software.
- 62% are very familiar or somewhat familiar with Open Source R and/or Revolution R. 10% are not familiar.
- 51% are very familiar or somewhat familiar with SAS. 12% are not familiar.
The detailed survey results are below. (Percentage calculations do not include nonresponses. All respondents completed the survey by accessing the local Wi-Fi network at the conference.)
In which country do you live?
USA: 717 80% Canada: 79 9% Others: 69 11%
Which of the following best describes your occupation?
Education 519 62% Non-Academic Research 178 21% Consultant 68 8% Corporate IT/Analytics 70 8%
Which of the following best describes your organization's industry?
Education 528 62% Government/Defense 61 7% Consulting Firm 41 5% Life Sciences/Healthcare 158 18% Technology/Software/Web 39 5% Others 29 3%
Should consumers worry about privacy issues related to the data that is being collected on them?
Yes 751 88% No 102 12%
Should there be an ethical framework in place for collecting and using data?
Yes—Ethics already plays a big part in my research 442 52% Yes—An industry standard on ethics needs to be implemented 238 28% No—Ethics of data should be examined on a case-by-case issue 78 9% No—Ethics should not play a part in data research 8 1% I don’t know 87 10%
How familiar are you with the following statistics products/languages: R/Revolution R
Not Familiar 83 10% Somewhat Familiar 214 26% Very Familiar 512 62% Don't Know 23 3%
How familiar are you with the following statistics products/languages: SAS
Not Familiar 100 12% Somewhat Familiar 284 35% Very Familiar 417 51% Don't Know 21 3%
Revolution Analytics press releases: Data Scientists Warn Consumers of Data Privacy Concerns