Statistics

Statistics is the application of mathematical concepts to understanding and analysing large collections of data. A central tenet of statistics is to describe the variations in a data set or population using probability distributions. This analysis aids understanding of what underlies these variations and enables predictions of future changes.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • Comments and Opinion |

    Reproducibility and replicability are fundamental requirements of scientific studies. Disagreements over universal definitions for these terms have affected the interpretation of large-scale replication attempts. We provide a visual tool for representing definitions and use it to re-examine these attempts.

    • Prasad Patil
    • , Roger D. Peng
    •  & Jeffrey T. Leek
  • Comments and Opinion | | open

    In research studies, the need for additional samples to obtain sufficient statistical power has often to be balanced with the experimental costs. One approach to this end is to sequentially collect data until you have sufficient measurements, e.g., when the p-value drops below 0.05. I outline that this approach is common, yet that unadjusted sequential sampling leads to severe statistical issues, such as an inflated rate of false positive findings. As a consequence, the results of such studies are untrustworthy. I identify the statistical methods that can be implemented in order to account for sequential sampling.

    • Casper Albers
  • Comments and Opinion |

    This Comment describes some of the common pitfalls encountered in deriving and validating predictive statistical models from high-dimensional data. It offers a fresh perspective on some key statistical issues, providing some guidelines to avoid pitfalls, and to help unfamiliar readers better assess the reliability and significance of their results.

    • Andrew E. Teschendorff
    Nature Materials 18, 422-427
  • Comments and Opinion |

    As with most data analysis methods, the Bayesian method must be handled with care. We show that its application to determine stellar evolution parameters within globular clusters can lead to paradoxical results if used without the necessary precautions. This is a cautionary tale on the use of statistical tools for big data analysis.

    • Francesca D’Antona
    • , Vittoria Caloi
    •  & Marco Tailo
    Nature Astronomy 2, 270-272
  • Comments and Opinion |

    In response to recommendations to redefine statistical significance to P ≤ 0.005, we propose that researchers should transparently report and justify all choices they make when designing a study, including the alpha level.

    • Daniel Lakens
    • , Federico G. Adolfi
    • , Casper J. Albers
    • , Farid Anvari
    • , Matthew A. J. Apps
    • , Shlomo E. Argamon
    • , Thom Baguley
    • , Raymond B. Becker
    • , Stephen D. Benning
    • , Daniel E. Bradford
    • , Erin M. Buchanan
    • , Aaron R. Caldwell
    • , Ben Van Calster
    • , Rickard Carlsson
    • , Sau-Chin Chen
    • , Bryan Chung
    • , Lincoln J. Colling
    • , Gary S. Collins
    • , Zander Crook
    • , Emily S. Cross
    • , Sameera Daniels
    • , Henrik Danielsson
    • , Lisa DeBruine
    • , Daniel J. Dunleavy
    • , Brian D. Earp
    • , Michele I. Feist
    • , Jason D. Ferrell
    • , James G. Field
    • , Nicholas W. Fox
    • , Amanda Friesen
    • , Caio Gomes
    • , Monica Gonzalez-Marquez
    • , James A. Grange
    • , Andrew P. Grieve
    • , Robert Guggenberger
    • , James Grist
    • , Anne-Laura van Harmelen
    • , Fred Hasselman
    • , Kevin D. Hochard
    • , Mark R. Hoffarth
    • , Nicholas P. Holmes
    • , Michael Ingre
    • , Peder M. Isager
    • , Hanna K. Isotalus
    • , Christer Johansson
    • , Konrad Juszczyk
    • , David A. Kenny
    • , Ahmed A. Khalil
    • , Barbara Konat
    • , Junpeng Lao
    • , Erik Gahner Larsen
    • , Gerine M. A. Lodder
    • , Jiří Lukavský
    • , Christopher R. Madan
    • , David Manheim
    • , Stephen R. Martin
    • , Andrea E. Martin
    • , Deborah G. Mayo
    • , Randy J. McCarthy
    • , Kevin McConway
    • , Colin McFarland
    • , Amanda Q. X. Nio
    • , Gustav Nilsonne
    • , Cilene Lino de Oliveira
    • , Jean-Jacques Orban de Xivry
    • , Sam Parsons
    • , Gerit Pfuhl
    • , Kimberly A. Quinn
    • , John J. Sakon
    • , S. Adil Saribay
    • , Iris K. Schneider
    • , Manojkumar Selvaraju
    • , Zsuzsika Sjoerds
    • , Samuel G. Smith
    • , Tim Smits
    • , Jeffrey R. Spies
    • , Vishnu Sreekumar
    • , Crystal N. Steltenpohl
    • , Neil Stenhouse
    • , Wojciech Świątkowski
    • , Miguel A. Vadillo
    • , Marcel A. L. M. Van Assen
    • , Matt N. Williams
    • , Samantha E. Williams
    • , Donald R. Williams
    • , Tal Yarkoni
    • , Ignazio Ziano
    •  & Rolf A. Zwaan