Service Statement

by Jim Pitman, Departments of Statistics and Mathematics The University of California, Berkeley. October 7, 2009.
The most current version of this statement is available online with hyperlinks at

Beyond committee work within the Department of Statistics, my service to the academic community over the last four years has been largely devoted to efforts to  promote development of open access resources in the fields of probability and statistics. As a member of the Executive Committee of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) from 2005 to 2008,
 I guided  the IMS through implementation of a policy to promote open access to all of its professional journals, through systematic deposit of peer-reviewed final versions of all articles on  and to provide technical support to other organizations willing to do the same. For context and further details of this effort, see the text of my IMS Presidential address Open access to professional information  [.pdf]. During the same period, I worked on the launch of two new open access journals, Statistics Surveys,  and the Electronic Journal of Statistics, as well as the placement on Project Euclid of the complete Proceedings of the Berkeley Symposia on Mathematical Statistics and Probability  from 1945 and 1972.

Since rotating off the IMS Executive in 2008, I have continued work on two open access initiatives with the support of Springer. The first of these is a Series of Selected Works in Probability and Statistics. I organized an editorial committee consisting of Anirban DasGupta, Jon Wellner, Peter Hall, Michael Sorensen and myself to work with Springer on production of a series of selected works volumes to celebrate the work of distinguished authors in probability and statistics. The original works are to be reprinted by Springer for sale of  print volumes, along with comentaries by authors knowledgeable about the works,  while at the same time these volumes will be offered electronically with free access on SpringerLink. Dealing with permissions issues and workflow management for this project has been a challenge, but we expect nonetheless to see the first of these volumes appearing some time in 2010.

The second Springer project is an Open Access Encyclopedia of Probability and Statistics. This involved some adaptation of the Statistics Surveys Constitution which David Aldous and I created  to provide an administrative framework for an open access journal cum encyclopedia to be run cooperatively by a several scholarly societies. The aim of this project is to provide encyclopedia articles, comparable in style to Wikipedia, and with a similar content management system, but with a more traditional validation of content by a peer review system managed by editors appointed by scholarly societies. This Statistics Topics Index  provides a first attempt at an index suitable for navigating around such an encyclopedia.

I have a continuing interest in the technical management of scientific information in ways that encourage individuals and small organizations to maintain high quality knowledge repositories which are openly accessible. I have pursued this interest as a member of the Management Committee of the Current Index of Statistics, as a member of the arXiv/stat Advisory Committee, and from 2005-2008 as a member of the Project Euclid Advisory Board. An ongoing effort in this direction is my development of the BibServer system for management of bibliographic data, which provides displays such as this Berkeley Math. Faculty Profile. While the outer face of this system has remained largely unchanged for some years, I have been working with a database and web developer to greatly improve the capability of this system.  This effort is now part of  the NSF sponsored  Bibliographic Knowledge Network Project.