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Doug Altman

Professor of Statistics in Medicine and Founding Director of the UK EQUATOR Centre

  • Co-Director of OCTRU

Medical statistician with over 40 years’ experience

Doug Altman (1948-2018) passed away on Sunday 3 June 2018.

Doug led the Medical Statistics Group of Cancer Research UK (previously Imperial Cancer Research Fund) from 1988. The group moved from London to Oxford in 1995, where he founded the Centre for Statistics in Medicine. In 2006 he founded the EQUATOR Network, which seeks to improve the quality of scientific publications by promoting transparent and accurate reporting of health research.

Doug's varied research interests included the use and abuse of statistics in medical research, studies of prognosis, regression modelling, systematic reviews and meta-analysis, randomised trials, and studies of medical measurement. He collaborated in methodological research projects aimed at improving the way research is done and was deeply involved in efforts to improve the quality of reporting of medical research studies. He also contributed his statistical expertise to clinical trials and other clinical research studies.

Reporting guidelines were a key part of Doug's focus on improving the quality of research reporting. He was a member of executive groups developing reporting guidelines for many study types, such as CONSORT for randomised controlled trials, STROBE for observational research, PRISMA for systematic reviews, ARRIVE for animal preclinical research, SPIRIT for clinical trial protocols, REMARK for tumour studies, and TRIPOD for multivariable prediction models.

Doug published over 750 peer-reviewed articles, many in medical journals to clarify statistical ideas for medical researchers. He was senior statistics editor at the BMJ, founding co-editor-in-chief of Trials and on the editorial boards of several other journals.

Selected Awards

1997: Bradford Hill Medal of the Royal Statistical Society for his contributions to medical statistics

2007: Council of Science Editors Award for Meritorious Achievement

2015: BMJ’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Key publications

Recent publications

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