Call for Papers

TAS Special Issue: Statistical Inference in the 21st Century: A World Beyond P<0.05

The ASA Symposium on Statistical Inference was held October 11–13, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda with more than 400 people in attendance. Energized by two days of inspiring presentations and ample opportunities for discussion, the work and conversation continue with a special issue of The American Statistician (TAS).

The TAS editorial team is pleased to invite papers for a special issue focused on topics related to statistical inference, as explained in the following paragraphs.

The inspiration for the special issue is the ASA’s Symposium on Statistical Inference, which followed up on the ASA’s Statement on P-Values and Statistical Significance. The statement called for moving statistical analysis and evidence-based decision-making beyond “bright line rules” toward a “post p < 0.05 era.”

Although the problems identified in the statement have been known for decades, previous expressions of concern and calls for action have not fostered broad improvements in practice. The expectation is that the symposium and this special issue of TAS will lead to a major rethinking of statistical inference, aiming to initiate a process that ultimately moves statistical science—and science itself—into a new age.

The special issue will be published online only and remain open access permanently, making it readily accessible to a broad research community and users of statistics.

Submission Information

Submitted papers should be nontechnical, emphasizing “Do’s” and avoiding lengthy discussions of “Don’ts,” which are already addressed effectively in the ASA statement and supplemental materials. Each submission should include an abstract of no more than 300 words that would be understandable by a lay reader. Each submission should be conceptual, intuitive, and broadly accessible—readable by nonstatisticians and audiences from different substantive areas of application. If there are essential technical details, these should be provided in a brief appendix or as supplementary material, mainly by reference to other publications. Most technical details should be omitted. Authors of technical papers will be directed to submit such papers elsewhere, although if otherwise appropriate, they will be encouraged to prepare and submit for this special issue more accessible versions of their papers that emphasize fundamental ideas and the underlying intuition.

This special issue will be co-edited by Nicole Lazar of the University of Georgia, Allen Schirm of Mathematica Policy Research (retired), and Ron Wasserstein of the American Statistical Association, with substantial assistance from an editorial team consisting of Frank Bretz of Novartis, Brad Carlin of the University of Minnesota, George Cobb of Mt. Holyoke College (emeritus), Doug Hubbard of Hubbard Decision Research, Ray Hubbard of Drake University (emeritus), Xihong Lin of Harvard University, Regina Nuzzo of Gallaudet University, Jane Pendergast of Duke University, Annie Qu of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Sherri Rose of Harvard University, and Steve Ziliak of Roosevelt University.

Included will be a mix of invited papers and papers submitted in response to this call. There is no maximum length for articles. Indeed, many articles may be relatively short compared to standard journal articles. Generally, papers in the special issue will fall into one or more of the following categories:

Conducting Research in the 21st Century

  • Differences between scientific inference and formal statistical inference
  • Designing research for effective inference (and avoiding common inferential mistakes)
  • Measuring and expressing uncertainty
  • Role of judgment and expert opinion
  • Lessons learned from efforts at reform of statistical inference, including de-emphasis or banishment of statistical significance testing
  • Best uses of p-values
  • Alternatives to p-values, including Bayesian and other methods

Using Research in the 21st Century

  • Understanding decision-makers’ needs for statistical evidence
  • Making evidence available and accessible via, for example, collaborations and clearinghouses
  • Making decisions under uncertainty

Sponsoring, Disseminating, and Replicating Research in the 21st Century

  • Incentives for better research in research funding and job performance reviews
  • Improving peer review and editorial decision-making, including the structure of the scientific paper in the post-p < 0.05 era
  • Strategies for improving reproducibility and replicability

Statistical Education and Training in the 21st Century

  • Introductory undergraduate (or high school) statistics courses
  • Researcher training and continuing education
  • Materials for decision-makers, journalists, and other such audiences
  • Software and tools that make best practices easily accessible

Prescriptions for a Post-P < 0.05 Era

Manuscripts should be submitted via the TAS website using the online portal system. Authors should indicate in their cover letter that the paper is being submitted for the Special Issue on Statistical Inference (select the “Statistical Inference in the 21st Century” manuscript type).

Anyone may submit a manuscript. Authors do not have to have been a presenter or an attendee at the Symposium on Statistical Inference.

All submissions are due by February 15, 2018. Submitted papers will follow standard TAS external review procedures. The special issue will be available online by late July 2018.

Inquiries and questions can be directed to Nicole Lazar, Allen Schirm, or Ron Wasserstein.

More Information About Submitting to TAS

TAS Style Guide

We look forward to receiving your submission. Thank you.

Key Dates

  • June 15, 2017
    Early Registration and Housing Opens
  • September 12, 2017
    Early Registration and Housing Deadline
  • September 13, 2017
    Regular Registration Open (increased fees apply)
  • October 11, 2017 – October 13, 2017
    SSI in Bethesda, MD