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A Panorama of Statistics by Peter Petocz, Eric Sowey

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4 Statistical inquiry on the web

As a discipline serving other disciplines, statistics has been ubiquitous in print for half a century, and its applications can be found reported in almost every field of human endeavour. Since 2000, statistics also appears widely across the web, in both closed‐access and open‐access documents.

It is relevant here to distinguish these two classes of web documents. The former (located behind some form of pay‐wall) are mostly documents produced by commercial organisations (book and journal publishers, software designers, and consultancies of every kind). However, items that have traditionally been closed‐access are increasingly being made partially available in open‐access form. This is partly due to the encouragement of major online retailers and search engine companies, who propose that tempting readers with free access to a strictly limited number of document pages can elicit increased commercial sales in the long run. There is also a vigorous grass‐roots movement worldwide, pressing for the transformation of closed‐access scholarly journals to open‐access. Now that there are several models for publishers to recoup, in other ways, the income they would forgo by abandoning access charging, that transformation is gaining pace.

In what follows, we shall write only about the open‐access web.

It is quite impossible to give an overview of all the material on, or related to, statistics – in all its senses: the discipline, the techniques, and ...

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