Biostatistics and Epidemiology

Long-term Collaboration Plans (not covered by grant funding)

Biostatistics and Epidemiology Long-Term Collaboration Plans

We recommend a collaboration plan in which the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and the collaborating basic science or clinical (BS/C) department/division use their departmental/divisional operational funds or clinical revenues jointly to support time for a team of biostatisticians to be involved in developing research programs in BS/C departments.

What does this plan provide?

  • Data analysis for all existing projects
  • Study and experimental design for all projects
  • Assistance with all manuscripts
  • Priority work on grant proposals from this group
  • Assistance with journal clubs and paper review (from methodology perspective)
  • Assistance with research conferences (e.g., data analysis and pre-conference critiques of fellows' presentations)
  • Assistance with identification of research gaps to be able to initiate research
  • Teaching short courses in experimental design and analysis methodology catering to the particular disease system
  • K award mentoring

How does it work?

  • Internal Long-Term Collaborations:
    The collaborating department/division at WCMC reimburses the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology for a part of the percent effort plus fringes of the team of biostatisticians and epidemiologists dedicated to the learning of the subject matter and initiation of projects of their research interest. A mutually agreed upon budget is developed before the collaboration is begun, and the effectiveness of the collaboration is tracked and a possible increase or decrease of the budget is discussed yearly. Semiannual or annual invoices along with reports on work activities are sent for reimbursement.
  • External Long-Term Collaborations:
    The same plan as above is also available to our affiliate institutions/hospitals and outside research groups with overlapping research interests. This collaboration requires departmental approval. The cost for this service is $300/hr. An approximate budget is developed before the collaboration is started and adjustments are made based on semiannual activity reports.

How to take part in this plan:

Please email Dr. Gerber at lig2002@med.cornell.edu with an assessment of your needs. Please include how many faculty and staff members will need support and the type of projects (protocol development, manuscript writing, grant development, journal club, training/mentoring activities) you will need help with.


Policies for Manuscript Writing (Under this Plan)

Authorship

A frequently asked question is whether biostatistical consultants should be co-authors on scientific papers. We feel that decisions about authorship should be independent of consideration of funding sources. As recommended in published guidelines (Parker RA, Berman NG: Criteria for authorship for statisticians in medical papers. Statistics in Medicine 17: 2289-2299 (1998)), "The basis of financial support should be the time/effort spent on a project and the basis for authorship should be whether the statistician has made a scientific contribution to the project." Examples of scientific contributions are the following.

  1. The statistician has to develop new statistical methods to meet the project's needs, or she/he has to combine existing techniques in a novel way.
  2. The statistician has a major role in designing the study.
  3. The statistician writes part of the manuscript other than a standard paragraph or two describing which statistical methods were used.
  4. The statistician is asked to critique an initial draft and the statistician spends a considerable amount of time suggesting alternative wording and presentation of results.
  5. The statistician provides data analysis along with interpretation of results.

By JAMA's criteria for authorship for statistical experts involved in the analysis and interpretation of data used in a manuscript; a statistician is a co-author if (1) he/she took part in the drafting of the manuscript or (2) he/she was involved in a critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content.

Above all, it is important for the medical researcher and biostatistician(s) working on the project to agree on criteria for authorship early in their collaboration.

Manuscript Preparation

Whether or not the statistician is an author, it is important to allow sufficient time for the statistician to check statistical results and descriptions of statistical methods that appear in a manuscript. We frequently find inconsistencies between analyses we perform and basic descriptive statistics computed by the investigator. For example, the primary statistical comparison may emphasize differences in medians while the investigator quotes mean values elsewhere in the manuscript. When different analyses are carried out by different personnel, it is beneficial for the investigator and statistician to map out the entire analysis together in advance.

(Modeled after http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/twiki/bin/view/Main/ManuscriptPolicies)


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