April 2019 issue of Significance now published!

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  • Date: 11 April 2019

The April 2019 issue (16:2) of Significance has just been published.

Ten years ago, the US National Academy of Sciences published a report that was critical of the scientific foundations of many forms of forensic evidence. It called for “more and better research”. Ten years on, Significance is publishing a special collection of articles that reflect on the report's impact, the progress that has been made, and the challenges that remain for evaluating and interpreting evidence.

thumbnail image: April 2019 issue of Significance now published!

Included in this issue:

Brian Tarran explores whether this is the end of “statistical significance” as an editorial in The American Statistician and comment in Nature call on the research community to abandon the phrase.

Brian Tarran highlights the critical role played by statisticians in supporting the development of forensic science in The limits of forensic evidence.

Forensic practitioners have long relied on their expertise in judging evidence from a crime scene. But the reliance on expert judgement can be problematic as it is inherently subjective. Karen Kafadar explores this further.

The 2009 National Academy of Sciences report found pattern‐evidence disciplines to be rife with subjectivity. Machine learning in forensic applications examines how, in the decade since, machine learning methods have been developed to try to address that issue.

With DNA evidence, so‐called match probabilities are potentially misleading if they are used to answer questions that they are not designed to answer. Are we interested in who is the source of the detected DNA, or are we interested in whether a particular alleged activity occurred? Graham Jackson and Alex Biedermann explore this issue.

Dr Gillian Tully is responsible for setting quality standards for forensic science in the criminal justice system of England and Wales. In this interview she tells Brian Tarran about her role and her work with statisticians to set standards for the evaluative interpretation of evidence.

Are you an early-career statistician with a statistical story to tell? If so, we invite you to enter the 2019 Statistical Excellence Award for Early-Career Writing. The competition is jointly organised by Significance and the Young Statisticians Section of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) and forms part of the RSS Statistical Excellence Awards programme. For more information on previous winners and on how to apply please visit the Significance website.

Significance magazine has opened its archives for access by the public. The magazine's volumes 1-14 and issues 1-2 from 2018 are available to read, free of charge. Further, all magazine content will be made freely available one year after its initial publication. RSS and ASA members and subscribers will continue to enjoy exclusive access to the latest magazine content.

Significance is a bi-monthly magazine for anyone interested in statistics and the analysis and interpretation of data. Its aim is to communicate and demonstrate in an entertaining, thought provoking and non-technical way the practical use of statistics in all walks of life, and to show informatively and authoritatively how statistics benefit society. It is published on behalf of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association.

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