Redefine Statistical Significance

When statistician Ronald Fisher introduced the P-value in the 1920s, he did not mean it to be a definitive test. He intended it simply as an informal way to judge whether the obtained results are ‘worthy of a second look’ and Fisher understood that the ‘threshold’ of 0.05 for defining statistical significance was rather arbitrary.
Since then, the lack of reproducibility of scientific studies has caused growing concerns over the credibility of claims of new discoveries based on “statistically significant” findings. . A much larger pool of scientists are now asking a much larger number of questions, possibly with much lower prior odds of success.
In this article, 72 renowned statisticians therefore propose to change the default P-value threshold for statistical significance for claims of new discoveries from 0.05 to 0.005. According to the authors and for research communities that continue to rely on null hypothesis significance testing, reducing the P-value threshold to 0.005 is an actionable step that will immediately improve reproducibility.
Importantly, however, the authors also emphasize that their proposal is about standards of evidence, not standards for policy action nor standards for publication. Results that do not reach the threshold for statistical significance (whatever it is) can still be important and merit publication in scientific journals if important research questions are addressed with rigorous methods. LINK

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *