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Doug Altman, Professor of Statistics in Medicine at NDORMS and Director of the Centre for Statistics in Medicine (CSM), has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Utrecht.

An advocate for transparency in scientific research, Professor Altman is one of the most influential and cited researchers in the biomedical sciences. His work and achievements have a wide reach across the medical sciences and reflect his dedication to increasing the methodological rigour of medical research and the transparency of medical research publications.

Speaking of his award, Professor Altman said: “Medical research is done to increase knowledge about how to treat or prevent disease. Use of inappropriate methods, selective publication of results, and failure to report exactly what was done and what the findings were, all devalue the evidence which clinicians use to help determine the best treatments for all of us.” He added: “All medical researchers have a responsibility to the participants in that research, to those who fund it, and to society at large to conduct research to a high standard and to publish the findings in a complete and transparent form. In essence my work, and those of my research group in Oxford and many of my collaborators, has all been aimed at trying to help researchers meet those goals. This award indicates that I have had some success; I am deeply honoured to receive an honorary degree from the prestigious University of Utrecht.”

According to the University of Utrecht, Professor Altman’s work on transparency is consistent with recent social movements in which science is critically considered and questioned, and emphasis is placed on the social responsibility of researchers and research institutes.

Professor Andrew Carr, Head of NDORMS said: “Doug Altman’s contributions to medical science are quite simply outstanding. Throughout his career he has promoted the transparent and high quality reporting of evidence and through this approach has improved the care of patients. This award is a wonderful recognition of his work.”

Professor Altman’s contributions to medicine, in particular cancer research, and medical statistics have been immense and in 1997 he received the Bradford Hill Medal by the Royal Statistical Society.

Having a long-standing interest in the reporting of medical research, he is an executive member of several groups that have published reporting guidelines, including CONSORT for randomised trials, PRISMA for systematic reviews, STROBE for epidemiological studies, and REMARK for tumour marker prognostic studies. He is co-founder of the EQUATOR Network, which provides essential resources for writing and publishing health research.

In addition to his work on transparency in research, Professor Altman is also known worldwide for the ‘Bland-Altman plot’, a very widely cited method to compare two methods of clinical measurements. 

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