Re: [S] "Sums of squares", the taxonomy issue again.

John Maindonald (
Thu, 30 Apr 1998 10:24:37 +1000 (EST)

There've been some good points made in this debate. Bill
Venables did a useful service by getting it started. So is
the consensus that it is the perception that the FDA requires
Type IV sums of squares (I wrongly called them Type III
sometiem back) that propels package developers to include

We're perhaps off topic, but let us, with Saint Augustine I
think, sin boldly. There's an initiative that the statistical
community could take that could have a huge impact, and
probably also cause an uproar. Individuals would take it upon
themselves, or agree, to go through the last year's copies of
one or other journal, looking at the presentation of
statistical results. Attention would focus only on obvious,
gross errors. I can name a few journals where such an
exercise would yield a rich harvest. The results of these
efforts would be written up and published.

Of late I've started a collection of `exhibits', for use in
such teaching as the course on research protocol design that
I'm running next week. Why is this stuff so important to
statisticians, and incidentally to package designers? It
highlights a serious failure in the way that practicioners are
taking up using the tools that are available. It highlights
failures in the messages that many students in applied areas
take from their statistics courses. It highlights the extent
to which some areas have developed their own methodological
side-stream, which has lost contact with developments in the
statistical mainstream

It is a reasonable advertising claim for S-PLUS that,
notwithstanding some embarassing deficiencies in delivery
which ought to be remedied quickly, it is pretty much
unrivalled for the access that it gives to modern approaches
to data analysis. Certainly SAS is not in the same league!

John Maindonald email :
Statistical Consulting Unit, phone : (6249)3998
c/o CMA, SMS, fax : (6249)5549
Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200
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