Office for Statistics Regulation’s Areas of Research Interest

26 October 2023
Last updated:
21 February 2024

1. Introduction

1.1 The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR)

This publication sets out research and evidence priorities for the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR). OSR is the independent regulatory arm of the UK Statistics Authority, a body established by the Statistics and Registration Service Act (2007).  In this role, we set standards through the Code of Practice for Statistics (the Code), and accredit statistics we assess to comply with the Code. We also report on concerns about the quality, good practice and comprehensiveness of official statistics, both for individual statistics and from a systemic perspective, and we investigate issues related to the production and use of statistics raised with us.

Underpinning all our work is our vision that statistics should serve the public good. To achieve this goal, statistics should be produced in a trustworthy way, be of high quality, and provide value to the public. While our statutory role is primarily focussed on producers of official statistics, we also work with others to encourage the voluntary application of the Code beyond the world of official statistics production.

1.2 The purpose of sharing our Areas of Research Interest

OSR’s varied work brings us into contact with statistics producers, but also researchers across both industry and academia. We want to continue to strengthen and expand these relationships with the research community, to help us build on the evidence we have collected to date to better understand and promote statistics that serve the public good. This will allow us to develop our regulatory practices, and strengthen the support we provide to the wider statistical system.

This statement of our Areas of Research Interest (ARI) is your invitation to collaborate with us on our aims, helping us build and maximise partnerships through which we will further our evidence base. This statement will also highlight to the statistical and research communities where OSR looks to expand our efforts in understanding the statistical system and promote knowledge-sharing in these areas.

1.3 Our areas of research interest

Our ARIs are structured in line with our vision, where we state that to ensure statistics serve the public good our mission is to focus our work on three areas:

  1. Produced: We uphold the trustworthiness, quality and value of statistics and data used as evidence.
  2. Used: We protect the role of statistics in public debate.
  3. Valued: We develop a better understanding of the public good of statistics.

Working across our organisation, we have identified specific questions OSR seeks to answer in each of these areas. Research in these areas will further develop OSR’s capabilities to deliver on our vision of statistics that serve the public good.

1.4 Why collaborate with OSR?

We are interested in hearing about existing evidence on any of the questions set out in this ARI statement. However, we recognise in some situations there will be a need to collect new information. Where this is the case, we invite researchers to collaborate with us in addressing these information needs.

For researchers who wish to collaborate with us, we can potentially offer:

  • Partnerships on real-life problems, and therefore an opportunity to have real, tangible impact.
  • Direct contact with subject matter experts who can provide detailed information about OSR’s work and interests through conversations, directing you to useful resources or even secondments.
  • Advice and guidance to researchers and students pursuing projects related to our areas of research interest.
  • Access to senior leaders within our organisation who can promote your work and speak at your events.
  • Access to our network of experts, who have guided and peer-reviewed our research.
  • Opportunities to sit on our research advisory panels and gain experience in steering government research projects.
  • Support when applying for academic grants and funding, drawing on organisational history with these applications.
  • Invitations to workshops, seminars and discussions of interest to you, and opportunities to present at these about your work.
  • Increased credibility through links to OSR’s brand – such as through letters of support and positive publicity on our social media channels.
  • Full credit for your contribution to any project we collaborate on.
  • Co-funding for mutually beneficial projects.
  • Access to anonymised case studies, such as where concerns have been raised with us.

1.5 When we collaborate

Collaboration requires the right partner for it to be beneficial, and for OSR as a regulator, key to any collaboration is maintaining our integrity, including our ability to remain independent and true to our vision. Therefore, we have considered who may be eligible to benefit from our offer and have developed collaboration principles that guide us:

  • Inclusion over exclusion: Despite not collaborating with teams or individuals that directly produce official statistics (to maintain OSR’s independence), no whole organisation is automatically out of bounds for collaborating with just because they produce statistics; we will try to be inclusive and make the effort to facilitate partnerships with many partners.
  • Open over closed: We want to build new partnerships, so remain open to new and novel collaborations rather than returning to the same partners as default.
  • Aligned over identical: We do not need our collaborators to work in the same field as us (statistics or regulation), but it is important to us that our collaborators have values that align with ours.

These principles relate to collaboration on research, events and activities involved in delivering against the areas set out in our ARI, rather than procurement of specific projects. For procurement will always adhere to government guidelines rather than selecting contractors based on these criteria.

1.6 How to collaborate with OSR

To improve our understanding of the areas set out in this ARI statement, we are interested in:

  • Speaking to experts on these topics to develop our perspective;
  • Learning about existing evidence that contributes to our knowledge base; and
  • Collaborating with others to develop new research.

If you wish to explore ways to collaborate with us, or if you would like to discuss any aspects of this ARI statement please contact us at

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