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Cracks in the thin blue line

When people screw up or cheat in their research, what do their collaborators say? The simplest case is when coauthors admit their error, as Cexun Jeffrey Cai and I did when it turned out that we’d miscoded a key variable in an analysis, invalidating the empirical claims of our award-winning paper. On the other extreme, […]

Trump +1 in Florida; or, a quick comment on that “5 groups analyze the same poll” exercise

Nate Cohn at the New York Times arranged a comparative study on a recent Florida pre-election poll. He sent the raw data to four groups (Charles Franklin; Patrick Ruffini; Margie Omero, Robert Green, Adam Rosenblatt; and Sam Corbett-Davies, David Rothschild, and me) and asked each of us to analyze the data how we’d like to […]

Andrew Gelman is not the plagiarism police because there is no such thing as the plagiarism police.

The title of this post is a line that Thomas Basbøll wrote a couple years ago. Before I go on, let me say that the fact that I have not investigated this case in detail is not meant to imply that it’s not important or that it’s not worth investigating. It’s just not something that […]

Multicollinearity causing risk and uncertainty

Alexia Gaudeul writes: Maybe you will find this interesting / amusing / frightening, but the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty recently published a paper with a rather obvious multicollinearity problem. The issue does not come up that often in the published literature, so I thought you might find it interesting for your blog. The paper […]

Why is the scientific replication crisis centered on psychology?

The replication crisis is a big deal. But it’s a problem in lots of scientific fields. Why is so much of the discussion about psychology research? Why not economics, which is more controversial and gets more space in the news media? Or medicine, which has higher stakes and a regular flow of well-publicized scandals? Here […]

“Crimes Against Data”: My talk at Ohio State University this Thurs; “Solving Statistics Problems Using Stan”: My talk at the University of Michigan this Fri

Crimes Against Data Statistics has been described as the science of uncertainty. But, paradoxically, statistical methods are often used to create a sense of certainty where none should exist. The social sciences have been rocked in recent years by highly publicized claims, published in top journals, that were reported as “statistically significant” but are implausible […]

What has happened down here is the winds have changed

Someone sent me this article by psychology professor Susan Fiske, scheduled to appear in the APS Observer, a magazine of the Association for Psychological Science. The article made me a little bit sad, and I was inclined to just keep my response short and sweet, but then it seemed worth the trouble to give some […]

“Methodological terrorism”

Methodological terrorism is when you publish a paper in a peer-reviewed journal, its claim is supported by a statistically significant t statistic of 5.03, and someone looks at your numbers, figures out that the correct value is 1.8, and then posts that correction on social media. Terrorism is when somebody blows shit up and tries […]

Acupuncture paradox update

The acupuncture paradox, as we discussed earlier, is: The scientific consensus appears to be that, to the extent that acupuncture makes people feel better, it is through relaxing the patient, also the acupuncturist might help in other ways, encouraging the patient to focus on his or her lifestyle. But whenever I discuss the topic with […]

Hey, PPNAS . . . this one is the fish that got away.

Uri Simonsohn just turned down the chance to publish a paper that could’ve been published in a top journal (a couple years ago I’d’ve said Psychological Science but recently they’ve somewhat cleaned up their act, so let’s say PPNAS which seems to be still going strong) followed by features in NPR, major newspapers, BoingBoing, and […]

Pro Publica Surgeon Scorecard Update

Adan Becerra writes: In light of your previous discussions on the ProPublica surgeon scorecard, I was hoping to hear your thoughts about this article recently published in Annals of Surgery titled, “Evaluation of the ProPublica Surgeon Scorecard ‘Adjusted Complication Rate’ Measure Specifications.”​ The article is by K. Ban, M. Cohen, C. Ko, M. Friedberg, J. […]


I’ve spent a lot of time mocking Mark Hauser on this blog, and I still find it annoying that, according to the accounts I’ve seen, he behaved unethically toward his graduate students and lab assistants, he never apologized for manipulating data, and, perhaps most unconscionably, he wasted the lives of who knows how many monkeys […]

An auto-mechanic-style sign for data sharing

Yesterday’s story reminds me of that sign you used to see at the car repair shop: Maybe we need something similar for data access rules: DATA RATES PER HOUR If you want to write a press release for us $ 50.00 If you want to write a new paper using our data $ 90.00 If […]

Sharing data: Here’s how you do it, and here’s how you don’t

I received the following email today: Professor Gelman, My name is **, I am a senior at the University of ** studying **, and recently came across your paper, “What is the Probability That Your Vote Will Make a Difference?” in my Public Choice class. I am wondering if you are able to send me […]

“Evaluating Online Nonprobability Surveys”

Courtney Kennedy, Andrew Mercer, Scott Keeter, Nick Hatley, Kyley McGeeney and Alejandra Gimenez wrote this very reasonable report for Pew Research. Someone should send a copy to Michael W. Link or whoever’s running the buggy-whip show nowadays.

Let’s play Twister, let’s play Risk

Alex Terenin, Dan Simpson, and David Draper write: Some months ago we shared with you an arxiv draft of our paper, Asynchronous Distributed Gibbs Sampling.​ Through comments we’ve received, for which we’re highly grateful, we came to understand that (a) our convergence proof was wrong, and (b) we actually have two algorithms, one exact and […]

No guarantee

From a public relations article by Karen Weintraub: An anti-aging startup hopes to elude the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and death at the same time. The company, Elysium Health, says it will be turning chemicals that lengthen the lives of mice and worms in the laboratory into over-the-counter vitamin pills that people can take […]

Solving Statistics Problems Using Stan (my talk at the NYC chapter of the American Statistical Association)

Here’s the announcement: Solving Statistics Problems Using Stan Stan is a free and open-source probabilistic programming language and Bayesian inference engine. In this talk, we demonstrate the use of Stan for some small fun problems and then discuss some open problems in Stan and in Bayesian computation and Bayesian inference more generally. It’s next Tues, […]

Bayesian Statistics Then and Now

I happened to recently reread this article of mine from 2010, and I absolutely love it. I don’t think it’s been read by many people—it was published as one of three discussions of an article by Brad Efron in Statistical Science—so I wanted to share it with you again here. This is the article where […]

Stan wins again!

See here.