Statistics for editors

METM 06, Barcelona
27-28 October 2006

Friday 27, 16:00-19:00, Room 1


Do you think that editors should not be bothered by statistics in articles published in their journals? Who should do this? We invite you to participate in the workshop which will examine how much journal editors, author-editors and translators should know about data presentation in articles they work on. The workshop aims to show that all professionals involved in publishing scientific articles, regardless of the training and type of work on articles, should use their common sense when thinking about data presentation in a scientific article.

Purpose | Description | Structure | Who should attend? | Outcome skills | Pre-meeting information


Professor Ana Marušic, MD, PhD; Editor, Croatian Medical Journal, Zagreb, Croatia
Darko Hren, BS Psychology, Research Fellow, Zagreb University School of Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia

Ana Ivaniš, MD, Research Fellow, Zagreb University School of Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia

Professor Ana Marušic (about Ana)


To introduce editors, author-editors, and translators to basic standards of statistical reporting in medical journals. 


The course will be structured in three separate discussion sets, which will address concrete examples of common statistical reporting errors in scientific articles and what editors should ask from their authors in order to clarify the data.


1) Introduction to the course: should editors know statistics?

2) Discussion about common problems editors have with statistics in submitted manuscripts; formation of groups for practical work: how to recognize and correct statistical errors in manuscripts.

3) Practical examples: A series of 12 common mistakes in data presentation will introduce basic statistical terms and common sense approach to numbers and their presentation in a scientific manuscript. The examples will include reporting measurements with adequate precision, incorrect use of descriptive statistics, reporting only P values for results, confirming that data meet the assumptions of the statistical tests, proper use of tables and figures, interpreting statistical power, reporting results in a clinically useful format and confusing statistical significance and clinical importance.

4) Closing discussion about how much we can and should do for our journals, authors and readers by taking a common sense approach to statistics.


Who should attend
The workshop is open to all but it is primarily aimed at journal editors, author-editors, and translators.


Outcome skills
Participants will learn not to be afraid of numbers and data in scientific articles. They will not learn to perform statistical analysis but will learn how to critically assess data presentation and work with the authors on reporting statistics.


Pre-meeting information
There are many textbooks on statistics in medicine, but the participants are not required to read any of them in preparation for the course. The course will address basic, common-sense thinking about numbers in a scientific article. For further reading, participants may consult the excellent book by Lang TA and Secic M, How to Report Statistics in Medicine: Annotated Guidelines for Authors, Editors, and Reviewers, 2nd edition. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians, 2006.

About the facilator

Ana Marušic MD, PhD, is a Professor of Anatomy at the Zagreb University School of Medicine in Croatia, where she is also the co-Editor in Chief of the Croatian Medical Journal, together with her husband, Prof. Matko Marušic. The journal editors actively promote excellence in statistical presentation of data, as well as teaching statistical thinking in planning medical research. The editors, together with other creators of the course, have organized continuing medical courses on planning and writing research in medicine, which also include data presentation and analysis