Statistics in Medicine

The end of the beginning: a commentary on ‘Evaluation Metrics for Biostatistical and Epidemiological Collaborations’

Journal Article

The paper ‘Evaluation Metrics for Biostatistical and Epidemiological Collaborations’ of Rubio et al. represents an important initial advance in the evaluation of biostatistics, epidemiology, and research design (BERD). The authors present a sensible three‐domain model (collaboration with investigators, application of BERD‐related methods, and discovery of new BERD methodologies), rightly acknowledge the importance of team science, and break new ground in illustrating that the Clinical Translational Science Awards can function as a kind of national laboratory for the development and exploration of measures and metrics. Building upon these gains, there are several future considerations worthy of subsequent serious attention: strengthening the connection between BERD evaluation and both the science of team science and the field of evaluation; facing the challenges of operationalization of the conceptual domains; augmenting the work of Rubio et al. with standard evaluative models; and anticipating the need for multiplistic mixed methods and experimental and quasi‐experimental complements to the proposed BERD metrics. Several common pitfalls will also be important to avoid, including the tendency to conflate the meaning of ‘metrics’ and ‘measures’ and the potential for a premature rush to adopt national ‘standards’ before adequately pilot testing the initial set of methods they have worked so diligently to develop. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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