Humanities Indicators
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Data Quality Standards

The Humanities Indicators (HI) strive to utilize data that met the highest standards of social scientific rigor, and thus rely heavily on the products of the U.S. Federal statistical system, which is known internationally for data quality. Where such data are not available the HI looks to well-regarded private sources for unbiased estimates.

To be included in the HI data must be national in scope and allow for trend analysis. The emphasis on the national picture is rooted the HI’s mission to monitor the health of the U.S. humanities enterprise. The preference for trend data is born of the nature of social indicators, which are quantitative measures designed to capture change over time in social or natural conditions.

Due to these three data requirements—unbiasedness, national scope, and multi-year span—there are key aspects of the humanities enterprise for which the HI is unable to produce indicators. The illumination of these lacuna in our national database on the humanities has always been a key goal of the HI with the hope that it will prompt discussion among humanities stakeholders as to how such gaps might be filled.

For data that do not meet one of more of the standards above but that the HI staff feel provide valuable insight there is the Academy Data Forum. The Forum is designed to promote conversation and further research around topics for which there are currently only data with either temporal or methodological limitations.