January 29, 2019 – Data Analysis
Anchor lead: A new job niche employs statisticians to check data in scientific research, Elizabeth Tracey reports
Have you heard of metascience? This is the study of science itself, and these days, the field is focused on looking closely at the statistics in research and validating them independently, a role that seems necessary in the wake of highly visible cases of scientific fraud. Paul Rothman, dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, says that’s what the scientific method is all about.
Rothman: The great thing about science is we question data all the time. And in the end result there are some experiments that are not going to be correct when reanalyzed and tested by others and that’s the scientific method. It’s given us some really important and powerful data over the past centuries and will continue to and you have to understand that sometimes results are going to be wrong and you have to requestion them and redo them again and again and have multiple people testing them in multiple populations to get the true result. :28
Rothman notes there’s also a role for such folks at the beginning of a study, to insure that the right data is gathered to answer the questions the study has posed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.