Welcome to the massive of online course,

Managing Global Statistics: Composite Indicators for International Comparisons.

This is a joint project of the University of Geneva together with the HHTV

in collaboration with several international organizations like ANTET,

UNEC, UNEP, UNDP and IDC,

a joint Agency of the World Trade Organization and United Nations.

You will be guided through this course by basically three people.

Two of my colleagues,

Jaya Krishnakumar who is also an Econometrics professor of

the University of Geneva and spent

several years in the advisory board for the Human Development Indicator,

then Juan Rodriguez Poo.

He is a colleague also Econometrics professor at

the University of Cantabria and was formerly for several years

working as a director of

the Division of Statistical Office in Cantabria, northern part Spain.

And finally myself, Stefan Sperlich,

Econometrics and Statistics professor at the University of Geneva.

So, why setting up this MOOC about composite indicators?

During the last 25 to 30 years,

we have been experiencing

an almost exponential growth of the number of composite indicators.

Well, there are several explanations why this is happening.

Some people explain it as a data revolution,

some other people say that, in general,

you have today be vigorous presenting numbers in order to get heard.

Well, at the same time statistics in general in all domains of

research and also in practice is becoming more and more important but,

unfortunately, training and teaching of statistical methods and

a deeper understanding for the audience has not been improved so far.

Therefore, there's a huge public demand for a simple,

intuitive and for everybody comprehensible indicators on methods on numbers.

And composite indicators seem to provide this.

So, on one hand this is true,

on the other hand this also be a risk because simplification

certainly also can easily be misinterpreted and therefore misused.

This means there is a huge challenge today for

the statistics community for how can we control quality,

for how can we guarantee that people

know what they do and when they construct indicators,

when they disseminate them,

when they talk about them,

when they use and interpret them?

And the answer is certainly education.

And this is why we set up this MOOC.

Already in 2008, that is not that long time ago,

the OCD together with

the Joint Research Center of the European Commission

created the handbook for constructing composite indicators.

During the last following years,

the Joint Research Center developed several courses,

but mainly for special audiences and particular composite indicators.

In 2015, the UNECE organized a conference about the role of

national statistical organisations to

disseminate and control maybe the quality and how to do that.

Then in 2016, the European Union launched the so-called COIN,

a Competence Center for Composite Indicators.

And in parallel to this,

we tried to set up this MOOC in order to foster

education by this time for a broad audience all over the world.

What can we offer you?

Well, we hope we can offer you a deeper understanding of

composite indicators that is starting with the definition,

clarification of indicators, after that the demand and the use.

This is important in order to not create some flops.

That means you create a composite indicator that nobody needs and nobody is asking for.

And then to teach people how to construct and how

to design composite indicators in order to avoid fakes.

That means you construct a composite indicator,

you give them a catchy name and people interpret it along the name,

but it's actually not providing what it promises to do.

And then, certainly also,

the correct interpretation in order to avoid misuse,

and finally, a summary of poss and cons of composite indicators.

So, how can we accomplish this?

In the next module,

basically the module two,

we will talk about exactly the definition,

the classification and first introductions to some definitions,

for example what are the legalizations the European Union oligostats,

for example, has fixed for the quality of composite indicators?

Then, we'll also talk about the demand,

not by teaching like in a master class,

but by interviewing experts.

We'll talk about the need and demand today and also in the past for composite indicators.

And then, after that,

unfortunately you will have to suffer for one module where we torture

you a little bit with statistical basics with a framework.

Well, this seems to be only interesting for people who

want to construct composite indicators and I'm

not asking everybody to get deeply into these statistical formulas and methods.

So, you don't have to walk over the water.

It's enough to swim in it.

That means, you have to get

a certain intuition for what composite indicators can do and what they do,

and how they were constructed in order to correctly use them.

And after that, then,

the different international organizations we present

there either latest composite indicators

created or the flagship by step by

step showing you exactly the steps you learned in the modules before.

That means that what is the demand,

what is the need, what is the objective of the composite indicators?

And how did we select the data,

what are the sources of data,

how we deal with missings?

Then what is the design,

the theoretic framework of a composite indicator we are constructing?

And finally, a discussion with, hopefully, critical users.