ASA Ethics Page: Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice

The following is the official ASA Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice, published by the American Statistical Association, 1989.

I both endorse and bind my practice on these policies.

WMB

Also refer to The World Association of Research Professionals' opinion

Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice
Statisticians have a public duty to maintain integrity in their
professional work, particularly in the application of statistical skills
to problems where private interests may inappropriately affect the
development or application of statistical knowledge.  For these reasons,
statisticians should

 *  present their findings and interpretations honestly and objectively

 *  avoid untrue, deceptive, or undocumented statements

 *  disclose any financial or other interests that may affect, or appear to
    affect, their professional statements


Recognizing that collecting data for a statistical inquiry may impose a
burden on respondents, that it may be viewed by some as an invasion of
privacy, and that it often involves legitimate confidentiality
considerations, statisticians should

 *  collect only the data needed for the purpose of their inquiry

 *  inform each potential respondent about the general nature and
    sponsorship of the inquiry and the intended use of the data

 *  establish their intentions, where pertinent, to protect the
    confidentiality of information collected from respondents, strive to
    ensure that these intentions realistically reflect their ability to do so,
    and clearly state pledges of confidentiality and their limitations to the
    respondents

 *  ensure that the means are adequate to protect confidentiality to the
    extent pledged or intended, that processing and use of data conform with
    the pledges made, that appropriate care is taken with directly identifying
    information (using such steps as destroying this type of information or
    removing it from the file when it is no longer needed for the inquiry),
    that appropriate techniques are applied to control statistical disclosure

 *  ensure that, whenever data are transferred to other persons or
    organizations, this transfer conforms with the established confidentiality
    pledges, and require written assurance from the recipients of the data
    that the measures employed to protect confidentiality will be at least
    equal to those originally pledged


Recognizing that statistical work must be visible and open to assessment
with respect to quality and appropriateness in order to advance knowledge,
and that such assessment may involve an explanation of the assumptions,
methodology, and data processing used, statisticians should

 *  delineate the boundaries of the inquiry as well as the boundaries of
    the statistical inferences which can be derived from it

 *  emphasize that statistical analysis may be an essential component of an
    inquiry and should be acknowledged in the same manner as other essential
    components

 *  be prepared to document data sources used in an inquiry; known
    inaccuracies in the data; and steps taken to correct or refine the data,
    statistical procedures applied to the data, and the assumptions required
    for their application

 *  make the data available for analysis by other responsible parties with
    appropriate safeguards for privacy concerns
 
 *  recognize that the selection of a statistical procedure may to some
    extent be a matter of judgment and that other statisticians may select
    alternative procedures

 *  direct any criticism of a statistical inquiry to the inquiry itself and
    not to the individuals conducting it


Recognizing that a client or employer may be unfamiliar with statistical
practice and be dependent upon the statistician for expert advice,
statisticians should

 *  make clear their qualifications to undertake that statistical inquiry
    at hand

 *  inform a client or employer of all factors that may affect or conflict
    with their impartiality

 *  accept no contingency fee arrangements
 
 *  fulfill all commitments in any inquiry undertaken

 *  apply statistical procedures without concern for a favorable outcome

 *  state clearly, accurately, and completely to a client the
    characteristics of alternate statistical procedures along with the
    recommended methodology and the usefulness and implications of all
    possible approaches

 *  disclose no private information about or belonging to any present or
    former client without the clients approval