It is very unusual for a newspaper article to cite an academic paper, unless it is in Nature, Science or the Lancet. Mostly, what we write is too technical and assumes too much background knowledge for it to be accessible to anyone but specialists. So …

## Use fake data and real data

When developing new statistical methods, it is very useful to test them on both fake data (i.e., simulations) and real data.

Testing on fake data is useful because then you know the “true” answer and can check the procedure under ideal cond…

## Should you make your working papers public?

There seems to be two points of view on this with different practices in different disciplines.

Some researchers do not make their work public until after it has been accepted for publication in a journal. Until that time, drafts of papers are only ci…

## Update on a StackExchange site for statistical analysis

About six weeks ago, I proposed that there should be a Stack Exchange site for questions on data analysis, statistics, data mining, machine learning, etc. I can finally report that there has been substantial progress on this.

The formal proposal is now…

## Google scholar alerts

A couple of weeks ago, Google scholar added a facility to provide email alerts on new articles associated with specific search queries. First do the search, then click the envelope at top left of screen. For example, here is a search on “exponent…

## Online mathematical resources

DLMF For nearly 50 years, a standard reference in mathematical work has been Abramowitz and Stegun’s (1964) Handbook of Mathematical Functions with Formulas, Graphs, and Mathematical Tables. It has provided a marvellous collection of results and …

## Scheduling meetings

I don’t go to many meetings as I find they are largely a waste of time. In fact, I have the following poster on my office wall to remind everyone who walks in not to ask me to attend a meeting!

But I’m now a chief investigator of an NHMRC g…

## A StackExchange site for statistical analysis?

Regular readers of this site will know I’m a fan of using Stack Overflow for questions about LaTeX, R and other areas of programming. Now the people who produce Stack Overflow are planning on setting up several new sites for asking questions abou…

## Making a poster in beamer

This week, I made my first poster. Although I’ve been an academic for more than 20 years, I’ve never had to make a poster before. Some of my coauthors have made posters about our joint research, and two of them have even won prizes (althoug…

## My standard LaTeX preamble

When I was a PhD student, I found I needed a lot of LaTeX functionality that did not then exist. So I wrote my own package which has served me well for about 20 years. It is called HyTeX.sty (the name being a shameless take-off of LaTeX from Leslie Lam…

## Using the command line in Windows

Jeromy Anglim is a local blogger who covers a lot of the same territory as this blog. His latest post on running command line programs in Windows is particularly helpful.

## Learning R by video

For those people who prefer to be shown how to do something rather than read the instructions, there are some videos on using R available online. Here are the ones I know about. Please add links to other similar resources in the comments.

R tour for b…

## Top four LaTeX mistakes

There is a nice post today by John Cook on the top four LaTeX mistakes. I see these all the time in draft papers by my students and co-authors.

## What to do when the PhD is finished?

So you’re wondering what to do once your PhD is finally completed? First, take a holiday. Completing a PhD is an intense and draining exercise, and you should take some time to refresh.

Then you need to decide what career path you prefer. In stat…

## Why referee?

There are several reasons why researchers should be willing to provide referee reports.

You learn a lot. If the paper is in your area, then writing a referee report forces you to read it very carefully and engage closely with the research of other peo…

## Writing a referee report

As an editor, I like to see referee reports comprising three sections:

A general summary of the paper and the contribution it makes. You need to highlight here what is new and interesting about the paper, as well as give a summary in a few sentences.

…

## Using DOIs

Almost all papers these days have a DOI and it is worth knowing how to use them.

At the top or bottom of the first page of a paper, you will see something like this:

doi:10.1016/j.csda.2006.07.028 This is a unique and permanent identifier for the pape…

## Replications and reproducible research

Reproducible research One of the best ways to get started with research in a new area is to try to replicate some existing research. In doing so, you will usually gain a much better understanding of the topic, and you will often discover some problems …

## Learning by video

There are some nice online videos available on various aspects of statistics and mathematics that might be helpful to students trying to learn about new areas.

A search on YouTube will lead to a few fairly basic videos.

Statistics playlists Mathematic…

## Controlling figure and table placement in LaTeX

It can be frustrating trying to get your figures and tables to appear where you want them in a LaTeX document. Sometimes, they just seem to float off onto another page of their own accord. Here is a collection of tools and ideas that help you get contr…