The Role of the Statistician in Biomedical Research: Scientist, Shoe Clerk, or Hired Gun
Segreti, A. C. (2007, August). The Role of the Statistician in Biomedical Research: Scientist, Shoe Clerk, or Hired Gun. Presented at ASA JSM 2007, Salt Lake City, UT.
JAMA recently stated that it would no longer accept industry-sponsored trials in which the data analysis was performed solely by the sponsor's statisticians, instead requiring that the analysis be performed by or independently validated by an academic statistician. Although this policy has created some concern in the statistical community, the reaction has been modest. I suggest that this policy has important implications for the role of the statistician in biomedical research and deserves more attention that it has received so far. Irwin Bross wrote a 1974 article on the role of the statistician. He suggested that statisticians in biomedical research had to decide if they were willing to take on the full responsibility of a scientist. This question continues to be relevant today but the statistician must also deal with the scrutiny of critics like JAMA.