People often ask me to define the function of a statistical review within the overall manuscript peer review process. Specifically, they are most curious about the contribution of the statistician in determining the publication fate of scientific reports. What follows is not an archetypal model congruent with some universal editorial philosophy, but rather my personal conviction as a long-term statistical reviewer for JAMA about the processes involved in statistical review, as well as the rationale underscoring decisions to accept or reject submitted papers.
In a JAMA editorial entitled "A Pillar of Medicine," it was pointed out that "the biostatistician is not a worrisome censor, but a valuable ally," and that "biostatistics, far from being an unrelated mathematical science, is a discipline essential to modern medicine—a pillar in its edifice."1 Along the same lines, we can think of a scientific study as an edifice of hypotheses built on the foundation