Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Mathematics

Visiting Professor







Huxley BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Why are official/national/federal statistics collected and published in virtually every country around the world? (See the list of national statistical offices at

Are these statistics solely or primarily for government use? Or do they live up to the fundamental principles for official statistics agreed at the United Nations? These commit governments to make data about “the economic, demographic, social and environmental situation” available, not only to government but also to “the economy and the public … To this end, official statistics that meet the test of practical utility are to be compiled and made available on an impartial basis by official statistical agencies to honour citizens’ entitlement to public information”. (

My research and writing explores these and related questions, such as how we define and deliver public good from statistics. I am especially interested in how we measure the overall wellbeing of a country, and its sustainable development, not just its economic growth. And, of course, how do we use such wider measures to help deliver the goals we set?

In addition to my publications in the following section, do try the following resources:

> Public statistics - a briefing paper prepared for an RSS roundtable discussion, July 2022 Briefing paper on public statistics, July 2022. See also a short report on the discussion here

> My talk to the RSS Official Statistics Section (April 2021, posted on YouTube May 2021):

> I was pleased to be invited to talk about the role of statistics in helping to build back better for a Stats Stories podcast (published July 2021):

> I posted my reflections on UK official statistics in and after the Covid-19 pandemic on the Stats User Net website (Oct 2020, free registration required):

 > Here's a short piece about classifications and frameworks, prompted by thinking about the Dewey Decimal System: Encounters with Dewey

Herstmonceux conference contributions

show research

Here are two papers that I have delivered at conferences on Statistics, Science and Public Policy, at Herstmonceux Castle:

Paul Allin Herstmonceux paper 2018 - Beyond GDP

Paul Allin Herstmonceux 2019 paper - SDGs