Characteristics of recent biostatistical methods adopted by researchers publishing in general/internal medicine journals


  • This is a corrected version of the article originally posted on March 13, 2012.

Paul J. Nietert, Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, 135 Cannon Street, Suite 303, PO Box 250835, Charleston, SC 29425, U.S.A.




Novel statistical methods are constantly being developed within the context of biomedical research; however, the characteristics of biostatistics methods that have been adopted into the field of general/internal medicine (GIM) is unclear. This study highlights the statistical journal articles, the statistical journals, and the types of statistical methods that appear to be having the most direct impact on GIM research.


Descriptive techniques, including analyses of articles' keywords and controlled vocabulary terms, were used to characterize the articles published in statistics and probability journals that were subsequently referenced within GIM journal articles during a recent 10-year period (2000–2009).


From the 45 statistics and probability journals of interest, a total of 989 unique articles were identified as being cited by 2183 (out of a total of about 127 469) unique GIM journal articles. The most frequently cited statistical topics included general/other statistical methods, followed by randomized trials, epidemiologic methods, meta-analysis, generalized linear models, and computer simulation.


As statisticians continue to develop and refine techniques, the promotion and adoption of these methods should also be addressed so that their efforts spent in developing the methods are not done in vain. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.