Proofreading is an indispensable procedure to ensure that your paper is devoid of errors and is of high quality. Since errors during statistical and data analyses make it difficult to reproduce research, some journals have decided to focus more on proofreading statistical analysis. This exhaustive scrutiny is a way of giving statistical analysis the importance it deserves in the academic and scientific publishing field.
Focus on Quality
Despite the fact that professional scientists and researchers are supposed to know how to analyze data, it is important to consider the possibility of mistakes occurring at every stage of the research, including data analysis. However, high-quality information is expected in academic papers. Academic publications target highly learned professionals. The presence of small (or big) statistical errors do not benefit a journal’s or paper’s status at all.
In an effort to maintain reputation and avoid problems, some journals decide to include an extra round of proofreading for data analysis.
Designing this New Proofreading Round
Once a publishing group has decided to provide additional scrutiny, it is important to think about the best ways to locate, eliminate, and prevent statistical errors.
Here are some ideas, based on the strategies journals and research groups apply:
Peer review: A round of peer proofreading to focus only on statistics is a good solution to avoid errors before publishing. Peer review is actually a common procedure to check the papers’ content, so another round of review focusing on data seems like a reasonable idea.
Add statistics experts to the editorial board: Even though most researchers are statistically literate, counting on experts can avoid many unforeseen problems. Indeed, many of the statistical errors that can be committed are definitely not “simple” or “basic.” Experts can play an important role to detect them.
Create a statistic support group: A Statistics Board of Reviewing Editors (SBoRE) was created by the magazine Science in collaboration with the American Statistical Association. The experts that belong to this group make the final review, after the papers have already been checked by editors.
Better guidelines? The presence of experts can also help to design a model to help researchers to prevent and detect common errors, optimizing their tasks. The combination of better guidelines for researchers when focusing on statistical analysis and professional proofreading can be the best solution to avoid mistakes.
This additional scrutiny implies that the process to guarantee accuracy and reliability in academic papers has moved a step forward. Moreover, it presents a way of not discarding months or years of research and demonstrates commitment when looking for high-quality knowledge dissemination.