Discussion meeting on statistical aspects of the Covid‐19 pandemic: Call for proposals

The Covid‐19 pandemic has had a major impact on very many people round the world, and generated some large changes in lifestyle and working practices over a short period. Many developments have been made in the provision of statistical information to give the raw data to track the progress of the pandemic, and also to measure its effects on societies and economies around the world. 

The Royal Statistical Society is interested in the use of this data in a statistically rigorous way to help understand the progress of the pandemic and its effects. It therefore plans to hold a Discussion Meeting on 'Statistical aspects of the Covid‐19 pandemic' in September 2021 and is now inviting proposals for papers to be included in the programme for the meeting. The analysis of the statistical evidence surrounding Covid‐19 is important in many ways, including helping us to understand what has happened, learning lessons for the future, and documenting the changes in behaviour brought about by the disease and the various measures to control its spread. This could include analysis of the epidemiology of the pandemic, but could also include papers on the effectiveness of policies for restricting the spread of the disease, compliance, and the impacts of these on social infrastructure – the labour market, social networks, the move on‐line, as long as they present rigorous analysis of the statistical evidence. The scope of this call is deliberately wide, but in all cases we are looking for contributions with excellent scholarship in the tradition of RSS Discussion Papers.

Discussion Meetings (formerly known as Ordinary Meetings) consist of one or more papers that are presented orally and subsequently published in one of the series of the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society (JRSS) together with all contributions to the discussion at the meeting itself, or submitted in writing shortly afterwards. All submitted papers are refereed, both for their scientific quality and their potential to generate discussion. Papers that meet the first criterion but not the second may, with the agreement of the authors, be referred to the editors of the Journal with a view to direct publication. 

We anticipate that this will be a multi‐paper discussion meeting, for which individual papers will likely be substantially shorter than is typical for a single‐paper meeting. For this reason, we are adopting a staged approach to the review process, as follows.

  1. Abstract submission. Authors are invited to send a single‐page outline of their proposed paper to Judith Shorten, Journals Administrator (journal[at]rss.org.uk) by Monday 20 July 2020.
  2. Full paper submission. The Society’s Discussion Meetings Committee will consider all abstracts received by 20 July 2020 and will invite full paper submissions from a selection of these. Invited authors will be asked to submit their papers by Monday 30 November 2020.
  3. Refereeing. All papers received by 30 November 2020 will be refereed using the Society’s standard criteria for discussion meeting papers (scientific quality and discussability).
  4. Final versions will be ready for pre‐printing by mid‐2021.
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