A conference about–wait for it–the p value! But other things too.

In March 2016 the American Statistical Association (ASA) posted online a policy statement about the p value. You can see it here. This was remarkable–for one thing because it was the first time the ASA had made a public pronouncement about a particular statistical technique or concept.

The statement I like was made by Ron Wasserstein (the ASA president) while discussing the statement:

“In the post p<0.05 era, scientific argumentation is not based on whether a p value is small enough or not.  Attention is paid to effect sizes and confidence intervals.”

Of course, I read that as endorsement of the new statistics!

I’ve just had word from my colleague Michael Lew, of Melbourne University, about a conference that ASA is running in October, in Bethesda MD. The conference description starts by mentioning the ASA statement on the p value, but then describes the aim as discussing numerous aspects of how research and statistical inference should be conducted in the 21st century. Open Science issues figure prominently.

So it’s not really a conference about the p value, I’m relieved to say. It looks wonderful. I won’t be there, but perhaps you might consider it? ASA makes clear that the target audience is lots of different kinds of folks, not just statisticians.

I should mention that Michael, who is mentioned in ITNS, was a member of the expert working group tasked by the ASA to develop the statement about the p value. It took many months, numerous drafts, and some robust discussions–which included some very prominent statisticians. It was fascinating to watch. Best was that the final statement was well expressed, not too long, and fairly strong in its critique of the p value and, especially, how it is typically used.

Here’s to “the post p<0.05 era”!


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