Published by the Foundation for Open Access Statistics Editors-in-chief: Bettina Grün, Torsten Hothorn, Rebecca Killick, Edzer Pebesma, Achim Zeileis    ISSN 1548-7660; CODEN JSSOBK
Authors: Byron C. Wallace, Issa J. Dahabreh, Thomas A. Trikalinos, Joseph Lau, Paul Trow, Christopher H. Schmid
Title: Closing the Gap between Methodologists and End-Users: R as a Computational Back-End
Abstract: The R environment provides a natural platform for developing new statistical methods due to the mathematical expressiveness of the language, the large number of existing libraries, and the active developer community. One drawback to R, however, is the learning curve; programming is a deterrent to non-technical users, who typically prefer graphical user interfaces (GUIs) to command line environments. Thus, while statisticians develop new methods in R, practitioners are often behind in terms of the statistical techniques they use as they rely on GUI applications. Meta-analysis is an instructive example; cutting-edge meta-analysis methods are often ignored by the overwhelming majority of practitioners, in part because they have no easy way of applying them. This paper proposes a strategy to close the gap between the statistical state-of-the-science and what is applied in practice. We present open-source meta-analysis software that uses R as the underlying statistical engine, and Python for the GUI. We present a framework that allows methodologists to implement new methods in R that are then automatically integrated into the GUI for use by end-users, so long as the programmer conforms to our interface. Such an approach allows an intuitive interface for non-technical users while leveraging the latest advanced statistical methods implemented by methodologists.

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Paper: Closing the Gap between Methodologists and End-Users: R as a Computational Back-End     Download PDF (Downloads: 5874)
Supplements: OpenMeta-Analyst source files and documentation Download (Downloads: 882; 36MB) Replication materials and instructions Download (Downloads: 740; 11KB)

DOI: 10.18637/jss.v049.i05

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Paper: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
Code: GNU General Public License (at least one of version 2 or version 3) or a GPL-compatible license.