May 25, 2015
Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science | Volume 2 | SCI-NEWS 1
New ASA membership plans permit members to reject null hypotheses at alpha values > 0.05
ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today, the American Statistical Association (ASA) announced several new membership plans that will allow researchers, among other benefits, the option to reject null hypotheses at alpha values greater than the standard level of 0.05. “We’re constantly hearing from researchers that the standard 5% risk of rejecting a correct null hypothesis is too limiting,” said Ron Wasserstein, ASA’s executive director. “The scientists of 2015 want to gamble a bit more, to live their lives on the edge. They see the 0.05 level as antiquated and tiresome, and this has led to a negative perception of statistics and of the ASA. We think these plans will offer them more flexibility and improve how people feel about statistical methods.”
The ASA has outlined three different membership plans:
• Silver ($9/month): allows researchers to 1) properly reject a null hypothesis at an alpha value of 0.07 or lower, 2) violate one assumption of parametric statistics, and 3) draw sweeping conclusions on a dataset with a sample size of 50 or greater.
• Gold ($19/month): allows researchers to 1) properly reject a null hypothesis at an alpha value of 0.10 or lower (0.20 for behavioral psychologists), 2) violate two assumptions of parametric statistics, and 3) draw sweeping conclusions based on a dataset with a sample size of 20 or greater.
• Platinum ($24/month): includes benefits at the Gold level and allows researchers to use one statistic per year without them knowing how it actually works.
Wasserstein also said that future changes are in the works, including an upgrade allowing researchers to conduct all their statistics using Microsoft Excel, and a non-parametric plan, which will allow members to use non-parametric statistics without shame. “YOLO,” added Wasserstein.
Researchers welcomed the news. “Finally, I don’t have to resort to removing ‘suspicious’ outliers, re-running laboratory tests, or aggressively transforming datasets to make my science acceptable to the broader community,” said Debra Wilkins, a postdoctoral research scientist. “Once I make sure my grant will cover the Platinum plan, I’m going to re-submit that last chapter from my thesis.”