Amrhein 2019 Nature

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Amrhein V, Greenland S, McShane B (2019) Scientists rise up against statistical significance. Nature 567:305-7.

» PMID: 30894741 Open Access

Amrhein V, Greenland S, McShane B (2019) Nature

Abstract: The misuse of statistical significance has done much harm to the scientific community and those who rely on scientific advice. P values, intervals and other statistical measures all have their place, but it’s time for statistical significance to go.


Bioblast editor: Gnaiger E

Selected quotes

  • It is ludicrous to conclude that the statistically non-significant results showed “no association”, when the interval estimate included serious risk increases; it is equally absurd to claim these results were in contrast with the earlier results showing an identical observed effect.
  • .. call for the entire concept of statistical significance to be abandoned.
  • we are calling for a stop to the use of P values in the conventional, dichotomous way — to decide whether a result refutes or supports a scientific hypothesis5.
  • An analysis of 791 articles across 5 journals found that around half mistakenly assume non-significance means no effect.
  • The same problems are likely to arise under any proposed statistical alternative that involves dichotomization, whether frequentist, Bayesian or otherwise.
  • Inferences should be scientific, and that goes far beyond the merely statistical.
  • What will retiring statistical significance look like? We hope that methods sections and data tabulation will be more detailed and nuanced. Authors will emphasize their estimates and the uncertainty in them — for example, by explicitly discussing the lower and upper limits of their intervals. They will not rely on significance tests. When P values are reported, they will be given with sensible precision (for example, P = 0.021 or P = 0.13) — without adornments such as stars or letters to denote statistical significance and not as binary inequalities (P  < 0.05 or P > 0.05). Decisions to interpret or to publish results will not be based on statistical thresholds. People will spend less time with statistical software, and more time thinking.

Cited by

Gnaiger E (2021) Bioenergetic cluster analysis – mitochondrial respiratory control in human fibroblasts. MitoFit Preprints 2021.8.


Gnaiger E (2021) Bioenergetic cluster analysis – mitochondrial respiratory control in human fibroblasts. MitoFit Preprints 2021.8. - »Bioblast link«


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