biblatex for statisticians

I am now using bibla­tex for all my bib­li­o­graphic work as it seems to have devel­oped enough to be sta­ble and reli­able. The big advan­tage of bibla­tex is that it is easy to for­mat the bib­li­og­ra­phy to con­form to spe­cific jour­nal or pub­lisher styles. It is also pos­si­ble to have struc­tured bib­li­ogra­phies (e.g., divided into sec­tions: books, papers, R pack­ages, etc.) Con­tinue reading →

Managing research ideas

I received this email today:

Dear Pro­fes­sor Hyn­d­man,
I was won­der­ing if you could maybe give me some advice on how to orga­nize your research process. I am able to search the lit­er­a­ture on a cer­tain topic and iden­tify where there is a ques­tion to work with. My main dif­fi­cult is to orga­nize my paper anno­ta­tions in order to help me to guide my research process, i.e, how to man­age the infor­ma­tion gath­ered in those papers to com­pose and struc­ture a doc­u­ment which can rep­re­sent the research devel­oped so far.
I have been look­ing at dif­fer­ent tools such scrivener, Qiqqa, papers2, etc but I am not sure if one of these tools would be the right way to go. To be hon­est I am not even sure a tool would do what I am look­ing for, not just orga­nize ref­er­ences and anno­tate pdfs but to get more con­trol of my research process.
I appre­ci­ate if I could get your thoughts on this subject.

Con­tinue reading →

Put your pre-​​prints online

I have argued pre­vi­ously that research papers should be posted online at the same time as they are sub­mit­ted to a jour­nal. Some­times peo­ple claim that jour­nals don’t allow it, which is non­sense. Almost every jour­nal allows it, and many also allow the pub­lished ver­sion of a paper to appear on your per­sonal website.

Today I dis­cov­ered a new tool (thanks to the IMU newslet­ter) which makes it easy to check a journal’s pol­icy on this. Check out SHERPA/​RoMEO.

It’s a very use­ful tool, but who­ever thought SHERPA/​RoMEO was a good name needs therapy.

My new forecasting textbook

After years of say­ing that I was going to write a book to replace Makri­dakis, Wheel­wright and Hyn­d­man (1998), I’m finally ready to make an announcement!

My new book is Fore­cast­ing: prin­ci­ples and prac­tice, co-​​authored with George Athana­sopou­los. It is avail­able online and free-​​of-​​charge. We have writ­ten about 23 of the book so far (all of which is already avail­able online), and we plan to fin­ish it by the end of 2012. We hope to make a print ver­sion of the book avail­able on Ama­zon in early 2013.

This text­book is intended to pro­vide a com­pre­hen­sive intro­duc­tion to fore­cast­ing meth­ods and present enough infor­ma­tion about each method for read­ers to use them sen­si­bly. We don’t attempt to give a thor­ough dis­cus­sion of the the­o­ret­i­cal details behind each method, although the ref­er­ences at the end of each chap­ter will fill in many of those details. We use R through­out the book and we intend stu­dents to learn how to fore­cast with R.

The book has it’s own R pack­age: fpp. This con­tains all the data sets used in the book, and also loads a few other pack­ages that are nec­es­sary to com­plete the examples.

The book is dif­fer­ent from other fore­cast­ing text­books in sev­eral ways.

  • It is free and online, mak­ing it acces­si­ble to a wide audience.
  • It is based around the fore­cast pack­age for R.
  • It is con­tin­u­ously updated. You don’t have to wait until the next edi­tion for errors to be removed or new meth­ods to be dis­cussed. We will update the book frequently.
  • There are dozens of real data exam­ples taken from our own con­sult­ing prac­tice. We have worked with hun­dreds of busi­nesses and orga­ni­za­tions help­ing them with fore­cast­ing issues, and this expe­ri­ence has con­tributed directly to many of the exam­ples given here, as well as guid­ing our gen­eral phi­los­o­phy of forecasting.
  • We empha­sise graph­i­cal meth­ods more than most fore­cast­ers. We use graphs to explore the data, analyse the valid­ity of the mod­els fit­ted and present the fore­cast­ing results.


Table design

Almost every research paper and the­sis in sta­tis­tics con­tains at least some tables, yet stu­dents are rarely taught how to make good tables. While the prin­ci­ples of good graph­ics are slowly becom­ing part of a sta­tis­ti­cal edu­ca­tion (although not an econo­met­rics edu­ca­tion!), the prin­ci­ples of good tables are often ignored. Per­haps peo­ple think they are obvi­ous, although the results I see in papers and the­ses sug­gest oth­er­wise. Con­tinue reading →

Authorship ethics

With the con­stant pres­sure on aca­d­e­mics to pub­lish research papers, there is a temp­ta­tion for research groups to include “coau­thors” who have not really made any con­tri­bu­tion to the man­u­script. This seems more preva­lent in some fields (e.g., the health sci­ences) than others.

Occa­sion­ally, I am asked to add an author to a paper that has already been accepted for pub­li­ca­tion in the Inter­na­tional Jour­nal of Fore­cast­ing. I am very reluc­tant to do this as it is hard to imag­ine how some­one could be left off a paper while it goes through sev­eral revi­sions, only to be remem­bered after the paper is accepted. It looks like a last ditch attempt to get some­one a pub­li­ca­tion rather than a gen­uine research contribution.

Most uni­ver­si­ties now have an author­ship pol­icy. The author­ship pol­icy at Monash Uni­ver­sity includes the fol­low­ing statements.

Attri­bu­tion of authorship

… in all cases author­ship must be based on mak­ing a sub­stan­tial intel­lec­tual con­tri­bu­tion to the work described and tak­ing sole or joint respon­si­bil­ity for that con­tri­bu­tion or, where appro­pri­ate, the work as a whole. Accord­ingly, author­ship must be based upon a sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tion and respon­si­bil­ity for at least one, and usu­ally more than one, of the fol­low­ing activities:

  • Con­cep­tion and design of the project;
  • Analy­sis and inter­pre­ta­tion of research data;
  • Draft­ing sig­nif­i­cant parts of the work or crit­i­cally revis­ing it so as to con­tribute to the interpretation.

Unac­cept­able inclu­sions of authorship

The fol­low­ing activ­i­ties do not by them­selves con­sti­tute a claim to author­ship with­out sub­stan­tial intel­lec­tual con­tri­bu­tion to the work:

  • Being head of depart­ment, hold­ing other posi­tions of author­ity, or per­sonal friend­ship with the authors;
  • Pro­vid­ing a rou­tine tech­ni­cal contribution;
  • Pro­vid­ing rou­tine assis­tance in some aspects of the project;
  • Acqui­si­tion of funding;
  • Gen­eral super­vi­sion of the research team;
  • Pro­vid­ing data that has already been pub­lished or mate­ri­als obtained from third par­ties (includ­ing the rou­tine col­la­tion and pro­vi­sion of research source material).

Acknowl­edge­ment of contributors

All those who have oth­er­wise con­tributed to the research (see author­ship attri­bu­tion cri­te­ria above), such as research assis­tants, tech­ni­cal writ­ers, and research degree stu­dents have the right to be prop­erly acknowledged.

I think all researchers need to be care­ful to abide by rules such as these, not only because it is the right and eth­i­cal thing to do, but also because the notion of research author­ship will be greatly deval­ued if we don’t.