DIGICOM – Users at the forefront

The project for Digital communication, User analytics and Innovative products (DIGICOM) is one of the eight projects from the ESS Vision 2020 portfolio. It aims to modernise communication and dissemination of European statistics. This will be achieved by exploring and developing innovative dissemination products and services based on experiences within the ESS and concrete needs of European statistics users.

A significant outcome of the project are the collaborative networks that NSI staff at expert level established as they work together and as they reach out to each other to exchange practices. These newly established collaborative networks will be the basis for capacity building within the ESS.

A total of 18 national statistics institutions (NSIs) are involved in the implementation of the DIGICOM project.

DIGICOM consists of four Work Packages (WPs) that will run in parallel 2016-2019:

  • User analysis
  • Innovative and shareable products and tools
  • Open data dissemination
  • Communication and promotion

Interested in how far we have gotten? Check this presentation or our project progress reports here.

Work Package 1 - User Analysis

Twelve NSIs are represented in the first Work Package, User Analysis (WP1). The actions of WP1, i.e. user profiling, an ESS social network and user surveys, will create precise profiles of European statistics users and allow the ESS to keep up with their needs.

The user profiling exercise will consist in analysing information on users of European statistics, identifying commonalities in the needs of different user types and grouping them accordingly. The established user groups will be used to recruit for user research (e.g. surveys, focus groups, usability testing) and to produce targeted content.

As part of WP1, the ESS Facebook page, "European Statistics", has been set up in November 2016 to reach out to users from the general public, presenting simple explanations of statistical concepts and visual presentations of basic figures. A social network for advanced statistics users will be launched in 2017, enabling the creation of virtual communities where users can have focused discussions with producers of statistics. While addressing different audiences and interactions, both social networks are used to promote the ESS and European statistics.

The insights from WP1 will lay the foundation for action in the other three WPs of the project.

Work Package 2 - Innovative and shareable products and tools

The team members of Work Package on Innovative and shareable products and tools (WP2) come from 14 NSIs. The focus in WP2 is on developing content that is easily shareable and customisable. The products that will be developed within this package over the next 3 years include a digital ESS flagship publication serving as input for an associated conference in 2017. The ESS flagship publication will focus on the topic “Women and Men in the EU” and will contain various visualisations, animations and interactive tools. This work package also aims to further improve the visual dissemination of European statistics by promoting the exchange of best practices, supporting regular training of ESS experts, developing common guidelines and sharing of visualisation tools.

Work Package 3 - Open Data Dissemination

The ultimate objective of Work Package 3 (WP3), in which 12 NSIs are represented, is to facilitate automated access to European aggregate data for heavy users or re‑disseminators and to improve access to micro‑data. The first activities of WP3 concern stocktaking and inventories to find out the state of play regarding (linked) open data and data consumption (APIs as well as search and extraction tools). The outcome of this stocktaking will then be used in subsequent activities (defining European re-use policies, facilitation and harmonisation of APIs, defining an Open data strategy for the European Statistical System, and publication of official statistics in LOD portals).

Work Package 4 - Communication and promotion

A total of 12 ESS NSIs are active in Work Package 4 (WP4), which aims at elaborating and implementing a communication and promotion strategy, whereby the value of official European statistics is underlined. This is done in combination with outreach activities (e.g. hackathons) to raise the visibility of European statistics, and the development of a strategy on statistical literacy. WP4 also includes a policy and framework for the dissemination of experimental statistics (meaning non‑standard statistics), such as  statistics based on new data sources, model-based statistical analyses, assumptions and innovative supplements to more traditional statistics of sufficient quality to be used for analytical purposes.