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President’s Corner

Hello everyone! So by now you will probably have heard the news that IBS has a new President Elect, Geert Verbeke, Professor of Biostatistics at University of Leuven in Belgium. Geert has been an active IBS member for many years and will make an outstanding President. We are truly grateful to Lupe Gomez and Maria Grazia Valsecchi for agreeing to run for election this year. Our thanks to Past President John Hinde and his committee for putting together such an outstanding slate of candidates. Each one of the three candidates was truly impressive and it is no surprise that the results were close. I am very much looking forward to working closely with Geert over the next few years.

Time seems to be going fast now as we close out the IBC meetings in Barcelona. As the organizing President for these meetings, Elizabeth has been working super hard, coordinating with our Program Chair, Charmaine Dean, our Local Organizing Committee Co-Chairs, Lupe Gomez and Pere Puig, not to mention our IBS Business Office headed by Peter Doherty. There is so much effort that goes in to organizing a successful IBC, some of which has been ongoing now for several years. Indeed, there is already much work happening behind the scenes to prepare for our 2020 meetings in Seoul, Korea. Charmaine and her Program Committee have done an outstanding job selecting invited sessions, short courses and Statistics in Practice Showcases. Lupe, Pere and the LOC have worked tirelessly on the practical side, getting the venue organized and lining up an exciting set of options for our traditional mid-conference break. Options range from walking tours of Barcelona’s amazing Gaudi architecture to wine tasting to hiking on the Costa Brava. It will be hard to choose! We are grateful to the regions who contributed funds to support scholarships for some of our members from developing countries. Thanks to Dan Kajungu and the Awards Committee for their hard work in selecting the recipients of those scholarships. Check out all the details at

My first 5 months as IBS President have been busy ones and I am learning a lot. I am grateful on a daily basis for having Elizabeth Thompson on board as Outgoing President. She is a veritable fountain of knowledge, seems to have a photographic memory and an impressive ability to keep track of detail — the latter has NEVER been my strong point. But I am particularly excited about two initiatives that I have gotten underway with help of the IBC Communications Committee, chaired by KyungMann Kim. The first has to do with a major redesign of our IBS webpage. There are quite a few problems with our current one, not only in terms of content, but with the underlying technical architecture. It is time for us to move to a more modern and secure platform that allows for more interactive updating of content and graphics, and an overall more user-friendly look and feel. There are a few new features that we hope to have with the new site, including an interactive member forum along the lines of what the American Statistical Association hosts on their webpage (see Another advantage of undertaking a major system upgrade is that it opens up the possibility of developing an enhanced and streamlined interface whereby new members can join the society and existing members can renew their membership. The current system is quite old-fashioned and very labour intensive for both the regions and our central business office. Consequently, it is easy for errors to creep in and there are often lags in updating member information. In these days of modern information technology, it is a no-brainer for us to upgrade our processes with a modern web interface. It will make life easier for all of us, freeing up regional officers and central business office staff to focus on more strategic matters. We are currently in the throes of refining an RFP (Request for Proposals) that outlines our requirements for the new website. We will then be asking all the regional officers and committee chairs, as well as our Regional Council and Executive Board, to review and critique the RFP before sending it out to various companies and inviting their responses. Feel free to get in touch if you have specific thoughts you’d like to share. I will be most grateful for any and all suggestions.

The second major initiative that we have gotten underway in the past few months, again with the Communications Committee, relates to rolling out a new IBS Social Media presence. Although Social Media is still a relatively new and evolving phenomenon, it already plays a key role in helping modern businesses and organizations to connect and engage with their customers. For younger people who have grown up in the computer age, tools such as Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, blogs, etc are part of the fabric of their everyday lives. In order for our Society to stay relevant and to be visible with this younger audience, it is essential that we develop and maintain a vibrant and effective Social Media presence. The previous chair of the Communications Committee, Kathy Ruggiero from the Australasian Region, has agreed to lead the effort. Our first step, currently underway, is to create a network of Regional Social Media Liaisons, with representatives from all the various IBS Regions. Once the network is in place, Kathy will be working with them to generate and distribute exciting content that can be distributed via the various social media channels. While the plan will be fluid and evolve over time, we think our plan will help to expose some of the exciting work being done by IBS members all over the world.

If you are interested, you can find our Social Media strategy document on the Communications Committee page of the IBS website. Again, I welcome any and all ideas and suggestions. I’ll finish up by telling you about one small but exciting activity that has been launched by the Communications Committee, namely the IBS Photo Competition. A few of us have been talking about how it would be great to locate some more

photos from various IBC meetings, particularly some of the earlier ones. We suspect that many of us, ahem, older folks have some great photos stored away in albums or even boxes in the attic. We invite all our members to scan and email any relevant photos to our Social Media Coordinator Kathy ( All those who submit photos will be entered into a raffle and prizes will include book vouchers kindly donated by CRC Press. People who submit multiple photos will have their name entered multiple times, once per photo.

To get things started, I include here a picture I found of myself at the 1992 IBC meetings in Hamilton New Zealand.  I know I have other photos hidden away somewhere and will keep looking.  I’d love to get somephotos submitted in the next few weeks so we can make a fun slide show for the Barcelona meetings. Submitted photos will also be distributed via the various social media channels.

Louise Ryan

From the Editor

Dear Readers,

I enjoyed attending the IBC2018 conference very much and I was happy to meet many of you there. In this issue, we publish an article on the Initial Data Analysis (IDA) topic group (TG), a fourth in a series of papers on the STRengthening Analytical Thinking for Observational Studies (STRATOS) initiative. In this article Carsten Oliver Schmidt (University Medicine of Greifswald, Germany) et al give a general description of the TG, which is aimed to improve awareness of IDA as an important part of the research process and to provide guidance on conducting IDA in a systematic and reproducible manner.

In this issue we publish a solution to the mathematical riddle from the previous issue. We received only 1 correct answer out of 23 answers. The first and only one to answer correctly was Moshe Kelner (Research Unit, Cellcom Israel). I’ll appreciate if you could email me any interesting riddles you encounter to be published in a future issue.

I would like to thank the outgoing IBS President, Elizabeth Thompson, who has kindly agreed to interview the new President, Louise Ryan, for this issue.

We were very sad to hear that Doug Altman passed away on June 3. He lost his struggle against metastatic colon cancer. Doug Altman was awarded the BMJ Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the improvement of scientific and medical research literature. Professor Altman was one of the world’s leading experts in health research methodology, statistics and reporting, and spent his career working to improve transparency in the conduct and reporting of health research

Havi Murad

XXIX International Biometric Conference

Thank you to Spanish Region of the International Biometric Society, the International Program Committee and all volunteers for a successful conference. A full IBC2018 report will be provided in our 3rd Quarter issue of the Biometric Bulletin.

IBC2018 Schedule for Contributed Oral/Poster Presentations

Click below for a list of all Oral and Poster presentations that took place during the IBC2018.

Contributed Oral Presentation Schedule

Contributed Poster Presentation Schedule

Thank you to all those who presented during the conference. We hope to see you in 2020 in Seoul, Korea!

DC Travel Award Winners

Travel awards are provided through the generous contributions of the IBS Regions, International Biometric Society (IBS) and individuals. The award provides assistance to IBS members from a Developing Country (DC) to attend the International Biometric Conference (IBC) in Barcelona, Spain from 8 – 13 July 2018.

The International Biometric Office (IBO) received 62 eligible submission for the IBC travel awards funds grant. Of those applications, 15 travel grants were awarded to eight Regular DC Professional members and seven Student DC members. Congratulations to the following:

Regular DC Members: Student DC Members:
Girma Taye Aweke Kazeem Osuolale
Nino Demetrashvili Jesca Batidzirai
Yasar Sertdemir Isabel de Sousa Amorim
Abhik Ghosh Maria Sarah Nabaggala
Izabela Oliveira Saheed Afolabi
Hasinur Rahaman Khan Maíra Fatoretto
Clarice Demétrio Cristian González Prieto
Zheng Chen

IBS Honors 2018 Awardees

Jim Todd Wins IBS Rob Kempton Award

For outstanding contributions to the development of biometry in the developing world, the International Biometric Society is pleased to recognize Jim Todd for his sustained contributions towards biostatistics training in Tanzania, East Africa and the Sub-Saharan African countries.

Nominated by the Tanzanian Region, and supported by the British and Irish Region, the Ugandan Region and the IBS Sub Saharan Network (SUSAN), Jim will receive his award during the upcoming International Biometric Conference at the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday 10 July. Photographs and a summary of the award winner will be published in the Biometric Bulletin following the IBC.

Congratulations to Jim Todd!

IBS Honorary Life Members Named for 2018

By a vote of the Representative Council, four longtime members have been named Honorary Life Members of the International Biometric Society. All 2018 Honorary Life Members will be recognized on Tuesday, 10 July at the IBS Awards Ceremony held during the International Biometric Conference (IBC) in Barcelona.

Honorees for 2018 include Marie Davidian (ENAR), Hans C. van Houwelingen (The Netherlands Region), Martin Schumacher (German Region), and Alan H. Welsh (Australasian Region).

Backgrounds and ceremony photographs of each of this year’s recipients will be published in the Biometric Bulletin following the IBC.

Congratulations to all!

Interview with IBS New President: Louise Ryan

Interview by Elizabeth Thompson (Outgoing President)

Elizabeth: Louise congratulations on your appointment as President of the International Biometrics Society. We can talk more about the IBS in a moment, but perhaps first we can discuss how you became interested in biostatistics. Your first degree is in statistics. What attracted you to this field and how did you end up in biostatistics?

Louise: As long as I can remember, I was always interested in numbers and maths was always my favourite subject at school (See photo #1). But growing up in country Australia and not having any tradition of higher education in my family, I had no idea what to do with it! A high school guidance counsellor suggested actuarial studies, which pleased my parents since they thought I might make lots of money! At university, I quickly discovered that I didn’t like finance, but I loved probability and statistics. I was fortunate to win a scholarship to pursue my PhD in Statistics at Harvard, but it was only during a postdoctoral fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (one of the Harvard teaching hospitals) that I knew biostatistics was my calling. I loved working as part of an interdisciplinary team and felt happy knowing I could use my statistical skills to help solve important real world problems.

Elizabeth: Your work has had a strong emphasis on statistics in environmental health. What motivated you to work in this area?

Louise: My postdoctoral training at Dana-Farber involved working as a clinical trials statistician (See photo #2). While I found this to be exciting and worthwhile, I definitely found drawn to the question of what causes cancer in the first place. My mentors Steve Lagakos and Tom Louis had just gotten a big grant to study statistical issues in the analysis of cancer bioassay, so I got involved. Over the years, my interests evolved, but the theme of understanding environmental impacts on human health has remained a major driver of my work ever since.

Elizabeth: Are there people or events that have been influential in your career? Louise: There have been so many wonderful people who have influenced me over the years it is hard to name them all! But a few who particularly come to mind are Steve Lagakos, Jim Ware, Marvin Zelen, Tom Louis, Nan Laird and Art Dempster. Steve and Marvin, both sadly deceased now, were both masters at inspiring and bringing out the best in young people. I miss them both. Elizabeth: What has been the most exciting development that you have worked on during your career?

Louise: I think one of the most satisfying experiences was being a member of a couple of different National Academy of Sciences committees that had been asked to tackle a thorny question in environmental risk assessment. One was focussed on adverse effects of prenatal methyl-mercury exposure while the other involved advising on “safe” levels of arsenic in drinking water. In both cases, I was the biostatistician among a group of top experts from fields such as epidemiology, chemistry, policy, law etc. We would spend hours in deep argument over various issues and at the beginning it seemed impossible that we would ever reach consensus. But each time, we gradually converged to a clear conclusion and were able to write a report that ended up influencing government policy making. I found it very stimulating and exciting. I also got quite a few good statistical research ideas which ended up being topics for various PhD students.

Elizabeth: What do you think the most important recent developments in the broader field have been? What do you think will be the most exciting and productive areas of research in the next few years?

Louise: Without doubt, emergence of fields such as machine learning, data science, artificial intelligence etc are having a major impact on our field. While in some ways our field is undergoing what the business school people like to call “disruptive innovation” and it can feel a bit threatening, I think it is also very exciting. So I think the most productive area to be in right now involves that interface between statistics and computer science.

Elizabeth: Over the years, you have been involved in teaching, consulting, and research. How have these motivated and influenced each other? Where do you get inspiration for your research projects and papers?

Louise: I must admit that classroom teaching has never been my forte, but I have always loved working one on one with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. I have always found my inspiration to arise from my real world collaborations and I have loved training my students and fellows in doing what I like to call “problem based research”.

Elizabeth: Do you think that our statistics postgraduates and young faculty starting out today have a harder time than we did? Are they under more pressure to publish and to obtain grants than when you were a student?

Louise: I must admit that I often look at the expectations on today’s young academics and wonder how I ever managed to survive! People are expected to do a lot and I think grant money is harder to come by these days. Academia seems to have become a lot more entrepreneurial as well, so there is a lot of pressure. But then I always tell my students that there is pressure in the business world these days as well. I just think that life in today’s resource-constrained, fast-paced modern world is pretty challenging in general! But the emerging generation all seem pretty switched on and up to the challenge!

Elizabeth: Do you have any advice for students considering a career in biostatistics, or more broadly in quantitative biological sciences?

Louise: Whatever you do in your life, you need to connect with your passion. Find a career path doing something you care about and the rest will follow fairly naturally.

Elizabeth: Let’s turn now to the International Biometric Society, when did you first become a member and why?

Louise: My first experience of the Society was when I attended the IBC meetings in Seattle in 1986. I was a young assistant professor then and at first just thought of the meeting as a good place for presenting my work. But to my pleasant surprise, I discovered that the IBS was a wonderful community of like-minded people from all over the world. While I haven’t managed to get to every IBC since then, I’ve been to a lot of them and have always felt them to be my favourite meetings.

Elizabeth: What do you see as the greatest challenges facing the Society today?

Louise: Well, there are a few! Like many other societies, we need to develop new ways to attract and retain members. This is particularly challenging for us because we are in fact a Federation of now 37 different regions. This is exciting, but makes for some complexity around how our society is organised. From a scientific perspective, we face the challenge of how to evolve and flourish in this modern age of data science. I think that the Society can do a lot to help our members, for example, offering short courses and training in various aspects of computer science. At their Spring 2017 meetings, for example, ENAR offered a short course called “Data Science for Statisticians”, given by Amelia McNamara from Smith College. I think things like that are great and we need more.

Elizabeth: What do you see as the Society’s strengths? What makes IBS special?

Louise: As I mentioned above, I’ve always cherished that as a member of IBS I am part of a global community of like-minded people. But I also love the strength and diversity of our regional structure. Our regions are all united under a common shared passion, but are quite unique and reflective of their particular context and culture. For many years while I lived in the US, ENAR was my region and I was very active with them. My ENAR colleagues were my statistical family. Now that I’ve moved back home, I am part of the Australasian Region. It is quite different from ENAR, but also a wonderful group of people.

Elizabeth: Finally, what would you would like to achieve during your IBS presidency, what will be your aims and objectives to benefit the Society and the biometrics community?

Louise: One of the things I care about quite passionately is finding ways to engage our young people more effectively. In the old days, many of us joined the Society because we want to have the journal Biometrics on our office bookshelf. These days that has all changed since many of us have institutional electronic access. So we need to find new ways to attract and retain members. IBS offers heavy discounted membership rates for students, which is great, but we need to get our student members so excited about being part of IBS that they want to continue their membership after graduation. I would like to see IBS have a much strong social media profile and I would like to find ways for us to more effectively communicate about all the great work of our members. I am also working to establish a mentoring program that will benefit our younger members and encourage them to retain their IBS membership.

Elizabeth: Thank you Louise for your time, and for sharing your vision for the Society. I hope you enjoy your term of office as much as I enjoyed my time over the last two years.

Louise receiving a prize for mathematics as a student in 3rd grade

Louise receiving a prize for mathematics as a student in 3rd grade

Louise as a young statistician at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Louise as a young statistician at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.


September 2018 Issue Highlights

The September issue features a Discussion Paper in Biometric Methodology, “Quantifying publication bias in meta-analysis,” by Lifeng Lin and Haitao Chu, with discussions by Dan Jackson, Christopher H. Schmid, and Nancy Geller. Other papers in the Methodology section include “Statistical inference in a growth curve quantile regression model for longitudinal data,” by Hyunkeun Ryan Cho; “Sieve analysis using the number of infecting pathogens,” by Dean Follmann and Chiung-Yu Huang; “General single-index survival regression models for incident and prevalent covariate data and prevalent data without follow-up,” by Shih-Wei Chen and Chin-Tsang Chiang; “A scalable multi-resolution spatio-temporal model for brain activation in MRI data,” by Stefano Castruccio, Hernando Hombao, and Marc G. Genton; and “A statistical model for helices with applications,” by Kanti V. Mardia, Karthik Sriram, and Charlotte M. Deane.

The Biometric Practice section features papers spanning a diverse range of application areas, including

“New semiparametric method for predicting high-cost patients,” by Adam Maidman and Lan Wang; “An approximate joint model for multiple paired longitudinal outcomes and time-to-event data,” by Angelo F. Elmi; “Bayesian enhancement two-stage design for single-arm Phase II clinical trials with binary and time-to-event endpoints,” by Haolun Shi and Guosheng Yin; and “Detecting treatment differences in group sequential longitudinal studies with covariate adjustment,” by Neal O. Jeffries, James F. Troendle, and Nancy L. Geller.

Wiley’s Biometrics Page Has Updated Layout

Lists of papers to appear can be found at the Biometrics website. IBS members can access the journal by visiting, entering log-in information, selecting “Biometrics” by clicking on the Biometrics image or by selecting “Biometrics” from the drop-down menu at the “Publications” link at the top of the page. Then select “Click here to access electronic copies of Biometrics”. One will see a “Browse” tab. Current issues, all issues, or Early View papers (i.e., papers to appear in future issues) may be selected there.

Book Reviews Also Routed via Scholar

One Customarily, issues of Biometrics contain Book Reviews. Currently, Donna Ankerst is our Book Review Editor. Practically, Book Reviews are handled separate from all other submission types. However, in an effort to streamline administrative procedures, it has been proposed, and agreed upon by both the Editorial Advisory Committee and the Executive Board, to also route Book Reviews as a separate stream through Manuscript Central. This will make it easier to keep proper and uniform trails of all book reviews, and to ensure easy transition from one Book Review Editor to the other.

The Winners of the “2017 Best Paper in Biometrics by an IBS Member” Award Also Honored by the American Statistical Association

These Best Paper Awards for 2016 and 2017 were announced in the previous Biometric Bulletin. As a reminder:

  • For 2016: Fang, Z., Kim, I., and Schaumont, P (2016). Flexible variable selection for recovering sparsity in nonadditive nonparametric models. Biometrics 72, 1155-1163.
  • For 2017: Hou, P., Tebbs, J., Bilder, C.R., and McMahan, C.S. (2017). Hierarchical group testing for multiple infections. Biometrics 73, 656-665.

We are delighted to report that the paper by Hou et al was also awarded the ASA Outstanding Statistical Application Award.

Note that both our 2016 and 2017 winning papers will be formally recognized at the Award Ceremony at the IBC2018 in Barcelona, on July 10, 2018. If you are going to Barcelona, please attend the Biometrics Showcase Session!

Editorial Board News

The search committee to identify a successor for Co-Editor Stijn Vansteelandt, whose term will end 31 December 2018, has identified Mark Brewer (Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland, UK). Mark will serve from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2021. The search committee was composed of the Executive Editor (Geert Molenberghs, Belgian Region), Stijn Vansteelandt, Biometrics CE (Belgian Region), Malka Gorfine, Biometrics CE (EMR), Debashis Ghosh, Biometrics CE (WNAR), Hans-Peter Piepho, Editorial Advisory Committee Chair (German Region), Esa Läärä, EAC member (Nordic Baltic, former EAC chair) and Liliane Lopez Kleine, EAC member (Central America and Caribbean Region).

The panel of Associate Editors is composed of colleagues who each serve two-year terms. This means that every 1 July a number of them end their terms. The Co-Editors are currently inviting new Associate Editors to replace colleagues retiring and, in view of the large number of submissions received, also to expand the size of the panel. New Associate Editors are chosen to replace expertise lost by retiring Associate Editors, as well as to fill in gaps in expertise in certain areas, especially in emerging fields. Once the process is over, the new composition will be made public both on the journal’s web pages, as well as in the front matter of Biometrics.

Celebration in Honor of Marie Davidian

As we reported last time, on January 1, 2018, Marie Davidian concluded her service to Biometrics. In honor of her and to mark this occasion, a dinner took place in Atlanta, during the recent ENAR Spring Meeting, at the Restaurant “Ecco” in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The dinner was beautifully hosted by David Kim, our premier Wiley contact, and efficiently facilitated by our Editorial Manager Ann Hanhart. Wiley offered Marie a nice present: a globe with the IBS’s and journal’s logos engraved, as well as a commemorative statement.

Tom Louis, former IBS President as well as former Co-Editor, composed the following poem:

She makes it look so easy,
Never rattled (well, not often),
Never queasy.
Like a gymnast whose routine appears effortless,
An actor whose acting disappears into the character,
With grace, dignity and unbounded skill,

Biometrics co-editor, then executive editor;
Divvying up submissions, adjudicating issues,
Curating the Associate Editor corps,
Organizing best article assessments,
Negotiating with Wiley, and, yes, the IBS.
All for the good of our journal, our Society, our profession.

Leadership by example, sure;
But as much, leadership by the Bernoulli effect,
As we are all pulled along in her wake.
She is an aid to professional and personal navigation,
Stated without hesitation.

Marie, your IBS service is unparalleled and unbounded,
With benefits resounded.
Working with you has been a pleasure,
Your colleagueship and friendship a treasure.
We thank you for this and more.
And wish you the best that life has in store.

With thanks and affection,

Tom Louis

Retirement of Ann Hanhart

The other cornerstone of Biometrics, ever since she was hired as Editorial Manager by Ray Carroll, has been Ann Hanhart. She will retire at the end of August 2018, after two decades of service. This is both ever so well deserved and extremely challenging! Ann’s service has been unparalleled and, it is fair to say, the journal would not be what it is without her dedication and impeccable service, alongside Ray Carroll in the early years, then Marie Davidian and Xihong Lin, each serving a term as Coordinating Editor. And then finally Ann teamed up with Marie during the twelve years of Marie’s Executive Editorship. It goes without saying that Ann will be honored for everything she did for the journal. The Editorial Advisory Committee and the Executive Board have agreed to replace Ann by an Editorial Manager based in the location of the Executive Editor, i.e., in Belgium.

Steve Buckland, Editor in Chief

Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics (JABES) Editor Report

The new Twitter account @JabesEditor is helping to raise the profile of papers published in JABES. If you want to receive tweets about papers, or other issues related to JABES, please follow us.

The March issue included the following papers: “A Test of Positive Association for Detecting Heterogeneity in Capture for Capture–Recapture Data” by Anita Jeyam, Rachel S. McCrea, Thomas Bregnballe, Morten Frederiksen and Roger Pradel; “Models for Jointly Estimating Abundances of Two Unmarked Site-Associated Species Subject to Imperfect Detection” by Rafael A. Moral, John Hinde, Clarice G. B. Demétrio, Carolina Reigada and Wesley A. C. Godoy; “Emulation Engines: Choice and Quantification of Uncertainty for Complex Hydrological Models” by Daniel W. Gladish, Daniel E. Pagendam, Luk J. M. Peeters, Petra M. Kuhnert and Jai Vaze; “A New Probability Model for Hydrologic Events: Properties and Applications” by Tassaddaq Hussain, Hassan S. Bakouch and Zafar Iqbal; “An Evaluation of Error Variance Bias in Spatial Designs” by Emlyn R. Williams and Hans-Peter Piepho; “Interaction: Fisher’s Optimal Scores Revisited” by John C. Gower, Sugnet Gardner-Lubbe and Niel J. Le Roux; “A Score Test for Testing a Marginalized Zero-Inflated Poisson Regression Model Against a Marginalized Zero-Inflated Negative Binomial Regression Model” by Gul Inan, John Preisser and Kalyan Das; “Semiparametric Kernel-Based Regression for Evaluating Interaction Between Pathway Effect and Covariate” by Zaili Fang, Inyoung Kim and Jeesun Jung; and “A Bayesian Generalized Linear Model for Crimean–Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Incidents” by Duchwan Ryu, Devrim Bilgili, Önder Ergönül, Faming Liang and Nader Ebrahimi. There is also a review of the second edition of Mark Gardener’s book, “Statistics for Ecologists Using R and Excel”, written by Emily Silverman.

If you have a suggestion for a special issue, I would be pleased to hear from you. We are also keen to publish papers that summarize the state of methodological development in subject areas for which technological advances are generating a demand for new statistical approaches. If such papers also speculate on likely future developments, so much the better. If you feel that you could offer such a paper, or can suggest a topic together with possible authors, please let me know.

For more information on upcoming issues, the editorial board, and the aim and scope of the journal, please visit our website We also accept submissions of books to review in the upcoming issues of JABES; to submit a book for review, please see the above website (click on “Editorial Board”) or contact Ken Newman (

Steve Buckland, Editor in Chief

STRengthening Analytical Thinking for Observational Studies (STRATOS):

Introducing the Initial Data Analysis Topic Group (TG3)

Carsten Oliver Schmidt1, Werner Vach2, Saskia le Cessie3, Marianne Huebner4 on behalf of TG3.

1Institute for Community Medicine, SHIP-KEF, University Medicine of Greifswald, Germany; Email:

2Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland; Email:

3Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Department of Medical Statistics and Bioinformatics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands; Email:

4Department of Statistics and Probability, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA; Email:

In the previous issues of the Biometric Bulletin, the STRATOS initiative was introduced and the Topic Groups on Missing Data (TG1), and Measurement Error (TG4) described their activities. In this issue, we report on activities of the Topic Group on Initial Data Analysis (TG3). Whereas missing data and measurement error are topics well discussed in literature, this is less so for initial data analysis (IDA) despite IDA being part of the everyday work of many statisticians.

Some aspects of IDA such as data cleaning or specific techniques for exploratory data analysis are discussed in publications. There are numerous online reports or blog posts discussing certain aspects of IDA, sometimes reflecting personal experience or experience in a specific field. However, since the classic paper by Chatfield [1] few systematic activities aimed to further develop IDA and its reporting. Usually, there is only minimal inclusion of elements of IDA in research papers. This absence of a framework and inadequate coverage of IDA was the starting point for Topic Group 3. It became quickly apparent, that initial data analysis is also a challenging part of the research process.

The aim of Topic Group 3 is to improve awareness of IDA as an important part of the research process and to provide guidance on conducting IDA in a systematic and reproducible manner.

The members of this topic group are Marianne Huebner, USA, Saskia le Cessie, Netherlands, Werner Vach, Switzerland (joint chair persons), Dianne Cook, Australia, Heike Hoffman, USA, Lara Lusa, Slovenia, Carsten Oliver Schmidt, Germany, all of whom have experience working with observational studies requiring IDA.

The first task for TG3 was to develop a conceptual framework that emphasizes and clarifies the role of IDA in the research process. This framework was recently published [4]. The main aim of IDA is seen in providing reliable knowledge about the data to enable responsible statistical analyses and interpretation. IDA consists of all steps performed on the data of a study between the end of the data collection/entry and start of those statistical analyses that address research questions. So far, we focused on primary-data collections, where data are obtained to address a predefined set of research questions, with an elaborated analysis plan. However, IDA is often performed in more complex studies raising additional issues such as an implementation of IDA processes during ongoing data collections to detect data issues while they are potentially remediable.

Our framework distinguished six IDA steps: First, the Metadata setup summarizes background information to properly conduct all following IDA steps. Beyond technical metadata such as labels or plausibility limits, this covers conceptual metadata which combines information from the study protocol, secondary information sources and information about the actual study conduct. Second, Data cleaning is performed to identify and correct technical data errors. Many errors may not be directly observed and a proper metadata setup is crucial to progress correctly and efficiently in this step. Third, Data screening examines data properties to inform decisions about the realizability of the intended analyses. In contrast to the data cleaning step, the focus is on data properties, not technical errors. However, data screening may reveal structural errors that occurred during the data collection process. Fourth, Initial data reporting documents all insights obtained from the previous steps to the research body. Fifth comes Refining and updating the analysis plan where adaptations of the analysis plan may be made to account for findings from the previous IDA steps. Finally, reporting IDA in research papers is necessary to ensure transparency regarding key findings and actions in the IDA steps that impacted the analysis or interpretation of results. This reporting step is based on the initial data reporting but clearly focused on the specific paper and what has been done, whereas the former provides a general overview of IDA findings and suggestions on ways to handle potential conflicts with the analysis plan.

Figure 1 (below) illustrates the relationships among the IDA steps and external components. IDA steps may not necessarily take place in a linear manner and feedback loops may occur. Examples for each step are discussed in [4]. Note that conduct and handling of IDA steps 3 and 5 provide direct links to activities in the other STRATOS TGs.

There are risks associated with IDA, namely when analyses touch upon research questions of interest. These may influence the final analyses and conclusions in a non-transparent manner, and may increase the risk of false positive results [5]. Key principles for IDA are therefore to avoid touching the research question, and to provide full documentation of the process.

IDA requires an organizational framework, the proper assignment of responsibilities, identification of resources, as is the case for established work like data collection, statistical analysis, or writing. There is a need to agree on concepts and techniques in order to facilitate IDA and its reporting, including options for an automatization of IDA processes and recommendations for reporting IDA.

We aim to provide worked examples guiding through the steps of initial data analyses with selected datasets, reporting guidance for initial data analyses in manuscripts, and to examine datasets that may need more specialized strategies. We hope to stimulate discussions about statistical methods for IDA [3], software to facilitate IDA processes in complex studies [6], or modern graphical techniques [2], new methods addressing extensions of the IDA framework, and are looking forward to interactions with other researchers interested in these topics.

Conceptual links exist to all other STRATOS Topic Groups, particularly to groups dealing with data deficiencies like TG1 (Missing Data), TG4 (Measurement error and misclassification), and TG2 (Selection of variables and functional forms in multivariable analysis), or TG9 when addressing large administrative data sets.


[1] C. Chatfield, The Initial Examination of Data, J R Stat Soc Ser Gen 148 (1985), 214-253.

[2] D. Cook and D.F. Swayne, Interactive and Dynamic Graphics for Data Analysis., Springer, New York, 2007.

[3] T. Dasu and T. Johnson, Exploratory Data Mining and Data Cleaning, Wiley-Interscience, New York, 2003.

[4] M. Huebner, S. le Cessie, C.O. Schmidt, and W. Vach, A Con temporary Conceptual Framework for Initial Data Analysis, Observational Studies 4 (2018), 171-192.

[5] J.T. Leek and R.D. Peng, Statistics: P values are just the tip of the iceberg, Nature 520 (2015), 612.

[6] C.O. Schmidt, C. Krabbe, J. Schossow, M. Albers, D. Radke, and J. Henke, Square(2) – A Web Application for Data Monitoring in Epidemiological and Clinical Studies, Studies in Health Tech nology and Informatics 235 (2017), 549-553.

Solution to the Mathematical Riddle of Vol 35 1st Issue

The solution to the last issue’s mathematical riddle was: 46. Note that in the last row the women do not hold a bag.

Only Moshe Kelner (Research Unit, Cellcom Israel) solved it correctly.

Region News

Australasian Region (AR)

IBS-AR Travel Awards

Timothy Bilton, IBS-AR travel award recipient

Timothy Bilton, IBS-AR travel award recipient

The Australasian Region offer travel awards to assist outstanding students and/or early career members to attend international meetings of the society. Timothy Bilton, a PhD student at the University of Otago, was awarded a travel grant to attend the XXIXth International Biometric Conference in Barcelona. Timothy’s doctoral research is focused on developing statistical models and methods for analysing genetic data generated using high-throughput sequencing technology. This sequencing technology provides a cost and time efficient genotyping method but generates data with various types of errors present that lead to biased estimates of genetic quantities. Typically, the errors are removed by heavily filtering the data using ad hoc approaches, whereas Timothy’s research is focused on modelling the data and associated errors using a probabilistic approach. Timothy’s conference presentation will describe a hidden Markov model based approach for modelling errors in the construction of genetic linkage maps.

IBS-AR Student Scholarships

To help attract enthusiastic and talented students to career paths in biometrics, the Australasian Region offers scholarships for suitably qualified students who intend to undertake a fourth or honours year of study, or a coursework Masters, in statistics, mathematical statistics, biostatistics, bioinformatics or biometrics. We are delighted to announce the winners of this year’s highly contested award: Michael Dymock (honours student at the University of Western Australia) and Denzel Florez (honours student at the University of Sydney). Congratulations!

Michael Dymock, IBS-AR Student Scholarship recipient.

Michael Dymock, IBS-AR Student Scholarship recipient.

Denzel Florez, IBS-AR Student Scholarship recipient

Denzel Florez, IBS-AR Student Scholarship recipient








East Asian Network (EAR)

16th & 17th FEBRUARY 2018


Organized by




Supported by


The East Asia Regional Conference of International Biometric Society was conducted on 16th and 17th February 2018 at JIPMER, Pondicherry, India with a Preconference workshop on 15th February 2018. This conference was jointly Organized by the Department of Medical Biometrics & Informatics (Biostatistics) and International Biometric Society-Indian Region

Pre-conference workshop on “Statistical Methods for Clinical Research” was organized on 15th of February (Thursday) as part of the East Asia Regional Conference of International Biometric Society. The objective of conducting the preconference workshop was to enlighten different Statistical Methods for Clinical Research in students, research scholars and young faculty members.

A total of 72 delegates were attended the preconference workshop. This one day preconference workshop was conducted from 9 AM to 5.30 PM in 10 different scientific sessions.

Interactive session in the Preconference workshop

Interactive session in the Preconference workshop

The session was started with a brief Introduction about the Workshop followed by Conceptualizing Clinical Research; Observational Study Designs; Interventional Designs in Clinical Research; Data and Data Types; Summary Measures and Epidemiological Measure;, Statistical Precision and Confidence interval; Concepts of Tests of Statistical Significance; Sample size computation; Different tests of Statistical Significance; Brief Introduction on Advanced Statistics.

Participants of the Preconference workshop

Participants of the Preconference workshop

The sessions were handled by 8 well experienced and eminent faculty members. The Preconference workshop was concluded with a brief discussion on different topics covered in different sessions and concluding remarks by the President of IBS (IR).

The East Asia Regional Conference of International Biometric Society-2018 was started with an Inaugural function. Dr.N.Sreekumaran Nair, the Organising Chairman and the General Secretary of the IBS-IR gave the welcome address and Dr. P.Venkatesan, the President of IBS-IR gave the Presidential address.

Welcome address in the Inaugural function by the General Secretary IBS (IR) and the organising Chairman - Dr. N. Sreekumaran Nair

Welcome address in the Inaugural function by the General Secretary IBS (IR) and the organising Chairman - Dr. N. Sreekumaran Nair

The conference was inaugurated by the Chief Guest Dr.Subhash Chandra Parija, the Director of JIPMER in the Presence of Dr.B.Vishnu Bhat, Dean (Research); Dr.R.P.Swaminathan, Dean (Academics) and Dr.Ashok Shankar Badhe, Medical Superintendent of JIPMER, Pondicherry. K.T.Harichandrakumar has delivered the Vote of Thanks.

Presidential Address in the Inaugural function by the President of IBS (IR) - Dr. P. Venkatesan

Presidential Address in the Inaugural function by the President of IBS (IR) - Dr. P. Venkatesan

In the Inaugural function Prof.V.G.Kaliyapermal former Professor & Head, Department of Biostatistics, NIMHANS, Bangalore was honored with IBS Life Time Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions to the subject and also his contribution to the International Biometric Society.

Inauguration of the East Asia IBS Conference by Dr. S.C. Parija, Director, JIPMER, Pondicherry

Inauguration of the East Asia IBS Conference by Dr. S.C. Parija, Director, JIPMER, Pondicherry

In his absentia, Dr. K.Thennarasu, Professor & Head, Department of Biostatistics, NIMHANS, Bangalore received the award on behalf of Dr.V.G. Kaliaperumal from the Chief Guest of the function and President of IBS-IR.

Release of the Souvenir of East Asia IBS conference

Release of the Souvenir of East Asia IBS conference

In the Inaugural function, the President of IBS-IR was also distributed Prof. Girijakant Shukla Young Biometrician award to Ravi Girikematha Shankar and IBS young Biometrician Award to Dr.P.V.Prathyusha. The souvenir of the conference was also released in the inaugural function.

The scientific session was started with Prof.P.V.Sukhatme Endowment lecture on Statistical Principles for Clinical Trials. In the absentia of Dr.V.G.Kaliyaperumal, the lecture was read out by Dr.P.Venkatesan, the President of IBS-IR. The conference had 10 scientific sessions and aposter session. Each scientific session consists of Lead/invited talk and contributory presentations. The scientific sessions include Design and Analysis of Clinical Trials, Bayesian Analysis, Stochastic Modeling, Spatial Analysis, Survival Analysis, Longitudinal data analysis, Time Series Analysis, Systematic Review and Meta Analysis of Count data, Cluster Analysis, Survey Data and Advanced Regression methods. A total of 70 papers were presented, including the posters, in the two days conference. Best 4 posters of those presented by young biostatisticians were selected and those presenters were given the Best Poster presentation award.

Poster Presentation Session of the East Asia IBS conference

Poster Presentation Session of the East Asia IBS conference

A total of 144 delegates attended the conference, where about 50% of them were Postgraduate Students and Research Scholars.

Therefore, a separate session on Young Biometrician Meet with the theme: Facing the Future Together, was organized. Through this meeting, the young Biometricians got a chance to interact with each other and to present their area of interest and research.

This meeting also discussed the current issues and challenges in Biometrics/Biostatistics in particular to young Biometrician’s. It was helpful in forming a strong young Biometricians group in the country.

The conference was concluded with a valedictory message presided by Dr.N.Sreekuamaran Nair, Organizing Chairman and the General Secretary of the IBS-IR. K.T.Harichandrakumar, Organizing Secretary had delivered the welcome address and Dr.P.Venkatesan, President of IBS-IR was the chief guest. Many attendees gave their feedback and expressed their fantastic experience and highly commented on the successful conference.

Valedictory function of the East Asia IBS conference

Valedictory function of the East Asia IBS conference

The awards for the four Best Poster Presentations were conferred by Dr.P.Venkatesan, President of IBS-IR.

Address by K.T. Harichandrakumar, Organising Secretary

Address by K.T. Harichandrakumar, Organising Secretary

On behalf of the organizing committee, Dr.N.Sreekumaran Nair, Organising Chairman and the General Secretary of IBS-IR acknowledged and conveyed sincere thanks for the financial support provided by the International Biometric Society (IBS) and Indian Council of Medical research (ICMR).

All the foreigner postgraduate students and Interns were given full travel grants and all the Students, Interns and Research scholars were fully supported for their accommodation.

Members of the Organising Committee of the East Asia IBS Conference

Members of the Organising Committee of the East Asia IBS Conference

The grant received from the IBS was utilized for providing the Travel Grant to the 18 students and interns and partially for supporting , accommodation, providing assistance for the registration fee and partially for the conference materials. The expenditure statement for the money received from IBS is as follows.

Dr. Binu. V.S, Ph.D

Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR)

EMR 2018 Conference

On the dates December 17-20, 2018, the EMR will be running a statistical doubleheader: the Jerusalem Joint Statistical Event 2018. The event includes a one-day symposium in honor of the 70th birthday of Professor Yoav Benjamini of Tel Aviv University, followed by the 10th Conference of the EMR. Yoav Benjamini is one of the founding fathers of the false discovery rate (FDR) approach to multiple comparisons, which has emerged as a key tool in modern science. The symposium in his honor includes a strong lineup of invited speakers. The 10th EMR Conference, like the previous highly successful EMR conferences, also includes a strong lineup of invited speakers and will include a broad variety of topics in statistics and biostatistics. As with previous EMR conferences, Frontier Science Hellas is sponsoring a special lecture in memory of Professor Marvin Zelen. The Zelen lecture at the upcoming conference will be delivered by Louise Ryan. In addition, again with in previous EMR conferences, Frontier Science Hellas is sponsoring three student awards in memory of Professor Steve Lagakos, which will include up to 1000 euros towards the expenses of attending the conference. The deadline for applying for the student awards and for submitting abstracts for contributed oral or poster presentations is August 31, 2018. For more information, visit the conference website at

Havi Murad & Michal Talitman (Tel-Aviv University) - best poster prize winner

Havi Murad & Michal Talitman (Tel-Aviv University) - best poster prize winner

Prof Donald Rubin

Prof Donald Rubin

Israeli statistical Association (ISA) 2018 Annual Conference

The Israeli Statistical Association (ISA) 2018 annual conference took place on May 31st in the Weizmann Institute conference center. More than 250 people attended the conference, the largest ever with a significant increase in participation compared to previous years. About 60 students attended the conference. The focus of this year was on data sciences. Prof. Donald Rubin from Harvard gave the keynote devoted to casual inference. Invited sessions covered applied and theoretical data sciences, deep learning, casual inference, biostatistics and formal statistics. About 20 posters were presented during the poster sessions covering topics like “Estimating the intervention effect and measurement error in calibration studies” and “Forenstic footwear analysis – the location of randomly acquired characteristics (RAC’s)” . The conference received very positive feedback with regard to the interesting program, the location and logistics. The program committee members were Prof. Saharon Rosset (chair), Prof. Boaz Nadler, Dr. Ittay Dattner, Dr. Yuval Benjamini, Dr. Havi Murad (chair of the Poster committee), Dr. Shlomi Lifshits and Ms. Luisa Burck.

Anat Sakov, ISA president

Dincer Goksuluk

Eastern North American Region (ENAR)


Be sure to check the ENAR Webinar website for updates regarding the upcoming WebENAR series, as well as for links to past WebENAR: planned to be held on April 3, 2018 in Paris (at the CNAM).

2018 ENAR, Atlanta, GA, USA

The 2017 ENAR Spring Meeting was held March 25 to 28, 2018 in Atlanta, GA. ENAR extends congratulations to John Van Ryzin Award winner Emily Hector of the University of Michigan and all recipients of the Distinguished Student Paper Award.

2018 JSM 28 July-2 August, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The 2018 Joint Statistical Meetings will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, from 28 July–2 August. The theme of the 2017 meeting is “Lead with Statistics.” ENAR has been instrumental in helping to put together an outstanding program, including sponsoring many sessions. These sessions include invited presentations about semiparametric methods with complex data, Bayesian nonparametrics for causal inference, novel methods for electronic health records and biobank data, integrative approaches for complex phenotype and sequence data, innovative designs and methods for clinical trials in neuroscience, single cell sequencing and cancer genomics, optimizing medical decision making, metabolomics data analytics, novel methods for imaging and microbiome studies, sensitivity analyses for unmeasured confounding, change point detection and segmentation, and statistical methods for remote sensing data. This year’s program also features several ENAR-sponsored SPEED contributed oral and poster sessions covering topics such as genomics and genetics, longitudinal and correlated data, biomarkers, and Bayesian methods. ENAR has further co-sponsored many topic-contributed and contributed sessions, as well as special presentations, including: introductory overview lectures (computer age statistical inference, network data, data science, and quantile regression), the ASA President’s Invited Address, the Deming Lecture (“Improving the Quality and Value of Statistical Information: Fourteen Questions on Management”, delivered by John L. Eltinge, US Census Bureau), the ASA Presidential Address (delivered by ASA President Lisa LaVange of the University of North Carolina), and the Fisher Lecture (“The Future: Stratified Micro-Randomized Trials with Applications in Mobile Health”, delivered by Susan Murphy of Harvard University). Roundtable discussions and continuing education courses will cover a wide array of topics and provide additional opportunities for networking and professional development. ENAR received many proposals for invited and topic-contributed sessions and thanks everyone who put forth an idea. ENAR extends a huge thank you to Brian Reich of NC State University for serving on the Program Committee for the 2018 JSM. For more details about the upcoming JSM meetings, please see:

2019 ENAR Spring Meeting, 24-27 March, Philadelphia, PA, USA

The 2019 ENAR Spring Meeting will take place in Philadelphia, PA at the Marriott Philadelphia. The Program Committee is soliciting suggestions for invited paper sessions. Please suggest ideas and potential speakers and/or develop a formal proposal. Proposals on topics that have broad potential scientific impact are particularly encouraged. Invited sessions are 105 minutes long, and different formats are encouraged, such as sessions with four speakers, three speakers plus a discussant, or a panel discussion. The invited session proposals will be selected by the Program Committee, which includes the Program Chair, Associate Chair, 15 ASA representatives of ASA sections, and two ENAR at-large members. One participant may be a speaker/ panelist in at most one invited or contributed session. The deadline for submission is 15 June 2018. Formal invited session proposals can be submitted online through ENAR’s website. To informally suggest ideas, topics or names of potential speakers, contact Pamela Shaw ( Program Chair or Michael Fay (, Associate Chair.

2019 JSM 27 July-1 August, Denver, Colorado, USA

The 2019 Joint Statistical Meetings will be held in Denver, Colorado, USA, and ENAR is fortunate to have Michael Rosenblum of Johns Hopkins University be our representative to the Program Committee. If you have ideas for the meeting, feel free to contact Michael:

2020 ENAR Spring Meeting, 22-25 March, Nashville, TN, USA

Stay tuned for information about the 2020 ENAR Spring Meeting in Nashville, TN!

Recipients of the 2018 ENAR Distinguished Student Paper Award. ENAR Spring Meeting, Atlanta, GA.

Recipients of the 2018 ENAR Distinguished Student Paper Award. ENAR Spring Meeting, Atlanta, GA.

Alisa Stephens-Shields

German Region (DR)

Annual Meeting

The German Region’s annual meeting was held at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt (Main) Medical Department 25th to 28th of March. Local Organizer Eva Herrmann counted 366 participants, 2 tutorials, 130 talks and 24 posters under general topic „Biometry: Living Diversity“. The link to the abstract book is: Keynote talks and invited lectures were given by renowned scientists from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, and the USA. Special sessions comprised not only classical biometrical topics as, e.g., “Bayesian Approaches”, “Nonparametrical Methods” and “Survival Analysis” as well as specific current topics as “Adaptive Designs”, “Meta Analysis” and “Machine Learning” but also emerging topics as “Estimands and Missing Values in Clinical Trials”, “Health Technology Assessment” and “Rare Diseases”. Besides these, also educational topics and biometric applications were discussed.

(IBS-DR): Award winners (from left to right) David Rügamer, Sarah Friedrich (front), Matthias Meller (back), Julian Fecker, and Leonie Litzka with DR president Andreas Faldum.

(IBS-DR): Award winners (from left to right) David Rügamer, Sarah Friedrich (front), Matthias Meller (back), Julian Fecker, and Leonie Litzka with DR president Andreas Faldum.

In the opening keynote “Dynamic prediction: A challenge for biostatisticians, but highly needed by patients, people and physicians“, Martin Schumacher reviewed methods to estimate conditional survival functions. In the closing keynote Martin Posch addressed “Multiplicity, Interim Analyses and Adaptations: Blurring the boundaries between confirmation and exploration?”

Laureates of the Gustav-Adolph-Lienert Award are Sarah Friedrich, Ulm, for the article “Nonparametric estimation of pregnancy outcome probabilities“ in Annals of Applied Statistics and David Rügamer, München, for the article “Boosting factor-specific functional historical models for the detection of synchronization in bioelectrical signals“ in Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Laureates of the Bernd-Streitberg Award are Leonie Litzka, München, for the bachelor thesis “Resampling-basierte Variablenselektion: Wahl der Subsampling-Ratio“, Julian Fecker, Freiburg, for the master thesis “Correcting for the healthy candidate bias by using multistate models“, and Matthias Meller, Ulm, for the master thesis ,Joint modelling of overall survival and progression free survival”.

New vice-president of the region and president for the two years after that is Werner Brannath (Bremen).

Reinhard Vonthein

A tribute to Erich L. Lehmann

During the second half of the 20th century, Professor Erich Leo Lehmann was one of the most influential and most important statisticians. During childhood and adolescence he lived in Frankfurt on the Main in Germany. Together with his parents Erich left Germany, where his jewish family had lived for many generations, when the Nazis came into power in 1933.

After years in Zurich (Switzerland) and Cambridge (England) Erich moved to Berkeley in 1940. In Berkeley he obtained his doctorate and was professor in the Statistics department created in 1955.

In March 2018 the annual conference of the German Region of the IBS was held in Frankfurt. At this conference. we organized a session in honor of Erich Lehmann’s work. Markus Neuhäuser and Ludwig A. Hothorn gave a talk about his life and work. Ludwig Hothorn could also tell about face-to-face meetings with Erich. The following talks focused on main topics of Erich’s work. Stefan Wellek talked about statistical hypothesis tests and the relevance of Erich’s work in the context of ASA’s statement on p-value. Werner Brannath gave a talk about hypothesis tests and error rates in clinical trials. The last talk focussed on nonparametrics: Edgar Brunner spoke about Hodges-Lehmann estimates.

As a further tribute to Erich Lehmann the German Region of the IBS, together with the German Consortium in Statistics (DAG Stat), and in agreement with Erich’s widow, Juliet Shaffer, proposed to name a street in Frankfurt after Erich Lehmann. The mayor approved our proposal and it is now on the local authorities to select a suitable street.

(IBS-DR): Speakers of the session in honor of Erich Lehmann (left to right): Werner Brannath (Bremen), Stefan Wellek (Mannheim), Ludwig Hothorn (Hannover), Markus Neuhäuser (Remagen), Edgar Brunner (Göttingen)

(IBS-DR): Speakers of the session in honor of Erich Lehmann (left to right): Werner Brannath (Bremen), Stefan Wellek (Mannheim), Ludwig Hothorn (Hannover), Markus Neuhäuser (Remagen), Edgar Brunner (Göttingen)

Markus Neuhäuser

Japanese Region (JR)

The 2018 Annual Meeting of the Biometric Society of Japan

The 2018 Annual Meeting of the Biometric Society of Japan (BSJ) was held on 29-30 March, 2018, at the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan. An invited session was organized on statistical consultation. In Japan, most universities and hospitals usually employ none or at most a few biostatisticians. Thus, it is a very important issue how efficiently statistical consultation work is handled with limited resources of biostatisticians. In the invited session, experience in statistical consultation was shared through four presentations by statisticians involved in statistical consulting work in a university or a national medical center.

Prof. Hirohisa Kishino (University of Tokyo), the winner of the BSJ Award for Outstanding Scientific Contribution, delivered his presentation on his life-work research in the field of statistical modelling in evolutional biology. Sixteen oral and eight poster presentations were made. A tutorial session on adaptive design was jointly organized with the Japanese Society of Applied Statistics, in which issues in adaptive design was discussed not only in medical researches but also in marketing researches.

The BSJ is pleased to announce that the society conferred the BSJ Honorary Award on Prof. Manabu Iwasaki (Yokohama City University) for his long-term contributions to the society. The society also conferred the Young Biostatistician Award on Dr. Sho Komukai (Osaka University) and Dr. Masaaki Doi (Toray Industries, Inc.) for their recent publications on cancer registry data analysis and Bayesian methodology, respectively.

The 2018 Japanese Joint Statistical Meeting

The BSJ is one of the six sponsoring organizations of the meeting and the 2018 Japanese Joint Statistical Meeting will be held on 9-13 September at Chuo University in Tokyo, Japan. The society is organizing two invited sessions, in one of which the two winners of the Young Biostatistician Award conferred by the society will make a presentation on their research.

Satoshi Hattor

The Netherlands Region (BMS-ANed)

Region news from the BMS-ANed, the Netherlands

Meeting on “Climate change”, future meeting on “Celebrating Biostatistics”

At the time of this writing, the IBS Section of the Netherlands is busy planning her next meeting “Celebrating Biostatistics”, due on Friday 1 June at the Erasmus MC, Rotterdam. At that meeting we will have four excellent speakers, with topics ranging from big data to studies on rare events or small areas. In the next Bulletin we will report on this meeting and make known who will be awarded the 2018 Hans van Houwelingen award.

In the meantime we attended the very interesting two-day VVSOR annual meeting on Climate Change, see the photo.

The VVSOR is a Dutch Society voor Statistics and Operations Research, with approximately 800 members with an interest in statistics or operations research. The VVSOR consists of several sections, and BMS-ANed is one of these. So, in short, the BMS-ANed section is associated to two scientific professional organisations:

  • As the Biometrical Section, we are linked to VVSOR
  • As the Dutch region, we are linked to the International Biometric Society.

The other VVSOR sections are Data Science, Economics, Mathematical Statistics, Operations Research, Social Sciences, and the Young Statisticians.

Joanna in ‘t Hout

Spanish Region (REsp)

The 3rd Student Conference of the Spanish Region of the International Biometric Society (RESP) was successfully held in Bilbao in January of 2018. The Basque Center for Applied Mathematics (BCAM) hosted this event with more than 50 participants.

The conference brought together a total of 36 contributed presentations divided up into six oral sessions and one poster session, two more oral sessions than the previous edition of this conference celebrated in Barcelona in September of 2016.

The Scientific program also included an introductory course on penalized regression with R (given by Dr. Dae-Jin Lee from BCAM), and a round table in which different concerns of young statisticians were discussed by Dr. Xavier Barber i Vallés (Universitas Miguel Hernández), Dr. Inmaculada Arostegui Madariaga (Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea-BCAM), and Dr. M. Xosé Rodríguez-Álvarez (BCAM-Ikerbasque).
The participating students were engaged in a mentoring activity between graduate students and young statisticians of the Spanish Region Society. This mentoring program is devoted to stimulate young professional researchers, to motivate rich learning and development for both mentees and mentors in the earlier years of their career, and to increase students’ engagement in the Society. A conference dinner was also organized as part of the social program.

The Organizing Committee, completely composed by students of the Spanish Region, together with the support of the RESP, the BCAM and the Applied Statistic Service of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona are to be congratulated on the success of the conference.

For more information, visit the Student Conference website and the photo gallery.

Anabel Forte

Western North American Region (WNAR)

2018 WNAR/IMS meeting

The 2018 WNAR/IMS meeting will be in Edmonton, Canada from 24-27 June at the University of Alberta. The campus is located on the southern bank of the North Saskatchewan River. As one of the largest cities in Canada, Edmonton is a cultural center, with many arts and culture events anchored in the downtown Arts District, accessible from campus by the city light rail system. Both the Edmonton Jazz Festival and Freewill Shakespeare Festival are scheduled to occur in the city during the WNAR conference dates. Most of the city has accessible bike and walking trail connections. In addition, Edmonton is a 4 hour drive from Banff National Park, Canada’s oldest National Park and Alberta’s most visited tourist destination. Visitors to Banff in the summer can enjoy hiking, camping, canoeing, cycling, fishing, golfing, kayaking, skateboarding, swimming, walking trails, and relaxing at the hot springs. The local organizers are Bei Jiang and Linglong Kong. Registration information and other details about the meeting available on the WNAR web page

2018 WNAR Student Paper Competition

WNAR sponsors students who enter the student paper competition. All WNAR-region entrants receive their registration fees and banquet dinner ticket for free. Monetary prizes will be awarded to the best papers in written and oral competitions. Information on the 2018 WNAR Student Paper Competition, registration information, and program details for the meeting will be posted as they become available: We look forward to seeing you there.

Megan Othus


Statistics Association Presidents Establish the Elizabeth L. Scott and F.N. David Lectureships

[April 26, 2018] Today the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Sciences (COPSS) announced the establishment of two lectureships named after women: The Elizabeth L. Scott Lecture, and the F.N. David Lecture. The lectures will be given in alternate years at the annual Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) beginning in 2019.

This will be the first time the JSM will have lectures named after women. The JSM has been held annually since 1840. It is the largest gathering of statisticians in North American, and one of the largest in the world. Each year there are over 6,000 participants from over 50 countries.

The Elizabeth L. Scott Lecture and the F.N. David Lecture will be included in the COPSS portfolio, which already includes the prestigious Fisher Lecture. According to Nick Horton, Chair of COPSS, “One of the main tasks for COPSS involves granting awards that highlight the work of notable statisticians. I’m proud that starting in 2019, at least one of the lectures at the JSM will be named after a woman. This is long overdue.”

The Caucus for Women in Statistics (CWS) spearheaded the effort to establish the lectureships. Horton reported that the COPSS Executive Committee voted unanimously to approve the CWS proposal. CWS partnered with the ASA LGBT Concerns Committee, ASA Committee on Women, SSC Committee on Women, ISI Committee on Women, and IBS/ENAR/WNAR.

The idea that too few women receive national recognitions for their research and scholarship is not new. The National Science Foundation in 2010 established an AWARDS project “to investigate and improve the process of granting awards and prizes for scholarly achievement” in disciplines like statistics. This project led to many association reforms.

Establishing a new named lecture slot at the JSM for the Scott Lecture and David Lecture is another significant step forward in advancing the statistics profession. It adds a face to the profession’s ongoing and growing commitment to diversity and inclusion. 2018 CWS President Shili Lin remarked: “I’m so excited and grateful that the long overdue recognitions for women in statistics in the form of two named lectures are finally here, and here to stay!”

The new lectures will be given by the winners of the COPSS awards named after outstanding women statisticians: Elizabeth L. Scott (1917-1988) and F. N. David (1909-1993). The two awards are given in alternate years. Both awards have high profiles and are highly sought within the statistics profession.

The first lecture will be the F.N. David Lecture. It will be given at the 2019 JSM in Denver Colorado, July 2- August 1. ASA Committee on Women Chairperson Kimberly Sellers remarked: “Already looking forward to JSM 2019!”

[CWS is a voluntary association that fosters opportunities for the education, employment and advancement of women in statistics. It also promotes the increased participation of women in professional meetings and on governing boards and committees of statistical societies. CWS stimulates professional and social contact among its members and encourages members to discuss issues concerning women in the profession of statistics.]

COPSS Founding Society Members include the past-presidents, presidents, and president-elects of five statistical societies: The American Statistical Association (ASA), Eastern North American Region of the International Biometric Society (IBS/ENAR), Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS), Statistical Society of Canada (SSC), and Western North American Region of the International Biometric Society (IBS/WNAR).]


If you would like more information about this topic, please call Shili Lin, the 2018 CWS president, at (614) 292-7404 or email

Amanda L. Golbeck

IBS Photo Competition

The Communications Committee has launched an exciting activity, namely the IBS Photo Competition. A few of us have been talking about how it would be great to locate some more photos from various IBC meetings, particularly some of the earlier ones. We suspect that many of us, ahem, older folks have some great photos stored away in albums or even boxes in the attic. We invite all our members to scan and email any relevant photos to our Social Media Coordinator Kathy Ruggiero. All those who submit photos will be entered into a raffle and prizes will include book vouchers kindly donated by CRC Press. People who submit multiple photos will have their name entered multiple times, once per photo. To get things started, I include here a picture I found of myself at the 1992 IBC meetings in Hamilton New Zealand. I know I have other photos hidden away somewhere and will keep looking. I’d love to get some photos submitted in the next few weeks so we can make a fun slide show for the Barcelona meetings. Submitted photos will also be distributed via the various social media channels.

IBS Journal ClubIBS Journal Club Logo

The Education Committee of the International Biometric Society (IBS) is excited to announce its next Journal Club discussion, centered on the following paper recently published in Biometrics:
An empirically adjusted approach to reproductive number estimation for stochastic compartmental models: A case study of two Ebola outbreaks, by Grant D. Brown, Jacob J. Oleson and Aaron T. Porter.

The Journal Club is open to all IBS members free of charge. The primary purpose of the Journal Club, apart from presenti 10.7188 in ng worthy papers in a more public setting, is to widen the scope for understanding these papers and to provide a new networking opportunity for IBS members through a regular internet forum.

The Journal Club will be held on August 16, 2018 at 15:00 GMT. For additional information click here.

To register contact

The Journal Club takes place on a bi-monthly basis.
Be sure to save the 2018 dates:
August 16, 2018
October 11, 2018
December 13, 2018

All sessions are recorded and are available on the IBS website here. To access the recordings you must login to your IBS account.

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July 28 – August 2
Joint Statistical Modeling
Vancouver, BC, Canada

26 – 30 August
Annual Conference of ISCB and Biennial ASC
Melbourne, Australia

9-13 September
The 2018 Japanese Joint Statistical Meeting
Chuo University, Tokyo, Japan

21-24 September
Summer school “Monte-Carlo simulations in methods research and study planning”
Ostseebad Zinnowitz, Usedom, Germany

24-28 September
Summer School on Advanced Bayesian Methods – part II
Leuven, Belgium

3-7 December
Australasian Applied Statistics Conference
Rotorua, New Zealand

17-20 December
EMR-IBS conference
Jerusalem, Israel