Professional standards to be set for data science
Industry-wide professional standards are to be established for data science to ensure an ethical and well-governed approach so the public can have confidence in how their data is being used.
The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) will be leading on the work along with the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS), the Operational Research Society (ORS), the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the Royal Society and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), to collaboratively shape and develop the data science profession.
While the skills of data scientists are increasingly in demand, there is currently no professional framework for the field. The organisations involved aim to fill that gap by developing the necessary industry-wide standards. Starting with existing academic qualifications, the work will progress on to current professional standards. The group will work with universities to ensure that educational programmes deliver the right skills and knowledge for those looking to enter the profession.
Never has data and the role of data science been more critical; while many may be aware of how it affects some areas of our lives, such as credit scoring, the current COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the role it plays in the world’s health and wellbeing. It is therefore now more important than ever that those in the field of data science maintain the highest ethical and professional standards so the public can have confidence that their data is being used ethically, stored safely and analysed robustly.
This follows recommendations in the Royal Society’s 2019 report on ‘Dynamics of data science skills’, that data science should be developed as a profession and that ‘in the longer term, professional bodies such as the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) and the Royal Statistical Society (RSS), should work together with employers and universities to identify the skills needed for data scientists and develop accreditation to ensure students and professionals can be confident in the quality of new courses.’
Rebecca George OBE, President – BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, said:
“People are increasingly aware of data and how it is being used. As BCS President, I’m very encouraged by this collaboration to develop Data Science as a profession. Data is a key part of our daily lives and we must ensure those using it are working ethically and to the highest standards.”
Stian Westlake, Chief Executive of the Royal Statistical Society, said:
“You wouldn’t let a doctor perform heart surgery or an architect design your house without being confident they were working to the highest standards. We believe that people who deal with our data should follow equally high standards - and gain recognition for doing so.
“Today’s move is an important step to professionalising the field, and helping us harness data for the public good.”
Gavin Blackett, Executive Director of the OR Society, said:
“The OR Society is delighted to be involved in this initiative. Operational Research and many elements of data science are closely aligned. Data, where it’s come from, what it tells us and how it’s used in modelling, has always been a core part of ‘the OR process’, and we feel we have a lot to both contribute and learn as part of this important work to move data science professionalism forward to meet the needs of today’s world.”
Latest News from
Human review of AI decisions needs legal protection, says IT industry body13/10/2021 13:10:00
The right to human review of decisions made fully by computers should not be removed ‘while AI is still in its infancy’, the professional body for IT has warned.
Seven steps to reset IT management17/09/2021 14:20:00
IT management must go beyond technical expertise and focus on broader organisational leadership - according to industry experts who have developed seven digital principles for those working in business technology.
Copying China's gaming ban would harm UK children, warns BCS expert09/09/2021 14:10:00
China’s limit on computer game time risks harming children’s education and should not be introduced in the UK, according to Professor Andy Phippen, a BCS Fellow and online harms expert.
AI Breast Screening needs stronger evidence before it is safe for clinical use – says professional body for IT03/09/2021 14:10:00
Better quality research is needed before artificial intelligence can be trusted to diagnose breast cancer in the full range of UK patients, according to the professional body for the IT industry.
Government’s post-Brexit global data plans must promote ethics as well as trade31/08/2021 14:10:00
The Government’s post-Brexit global data plans to boost trade and healthcare are welcome but must also incentivise ethics and a focus on climate change, according to the professional body for IT.
Computing is the fastest growing STEM A level, says professional body for IT12/08/2021 11:20:00
Record numbers of young people have been awarded Computing A-level and are choosing to study computer science at degree level, analysis by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT reveals.
Computer Science fastest growing STEM A level, says professional body for IT11/08/2021 09:10:00
Record numbers of young people have been awarded Computer Science A-level and are choosing to study computer science at degree level, analysis by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT reveals.
Call for governments to back IT's 'powerful role' in tackling climate change10/08/2021 14:10:00
Tech can play a leading part in achieving net-zero – if there is the global political will and funding to do so, according to the professional body for IT.
Apple's CSAM plan could pave the way for tracking 'political memes and text messages'09/08/2021 14:10:00
Apple’s plans to find child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on US customers' devices ‘fundamentally break the promise of end-to-end encryption’, according to an expert at the professional body for IT.