Doug Altman

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Doug Altman
Douglas G Altman statistician.jpg
Professor Douglas Altman
Born (1948-07-12) 12 July 1948 (age 66)
Residence United Kingdom
Nationality British
Fields Statistician
Institutions Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Cancer Research UK, University of Oxford
Alma mater University of Bath
Known for Medical statistics
Notable awards Royal Statistical Society's Bradford Hill Medal[1] (1997)

Douglas Altman FMedSci (born 1948) is a British statistician best known for his work on improving the reliability of medical research and for highly-cited papers on statistical methodology. He is professor of statistics in medicine at the University of Oxford, and founder and Director of Centre for Statistics in Medicine and Cancer Research UK Medical Statistics Group.[2]

Early professional years[edit]

Doug Altman graduated in statistics from the University of Bath. His first job was in the Department of Community Medicine at St Thomas's Hospital Medical School. He then spent 11 years working for the Medical Research Council's Clinical Research Centre where he worked almost entirely as a statistical consultant in a wide variety of medical areas.

Current professional activities[edit]

In 1988 Doug Altman became head of the newly formed Medical Statistics Laboratory (now Medical Statistics Group) at Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK), and in 1995 also became founding director of the Centre for Statistics in Medicine (CSM) in Oxford. In 1998 he was made Professor of Statistics in Medicine by the University of Oxford.

He is the statistical advisor to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), where he is a member of the editorial "hanging committee". He is a co-convenor of the statistical Methods Group of the Cochrane Collaboration.

He is an active member of the CONSORT Group since 1999, a group dedicated to offering a standardised way for researchers to report trials. The intent is to make the experimental process more clear, flawed or not, so that users of the data can more appropriately evaluate its validity for their purposes.

Altman is also a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences, and editor in chief of Trials.

He is also one of the original authors of the IDEAL framework for improving surgical research.[3]

Notable achievements[edit]

Altman is the author of many highly-cited papers in statistical methodology, many co-authored with his long-standing collaborator Martin Bland. Among them is one Lancet paper,[4] which has been cited over 23,000 times and is ranked 29th in the Nature/Web of Science Top 100 most-cited research papers of all time.[5]

Altman was awarded the Bradford Hill Medal by the Royal Statistical Society for his contributions to medical statistics in 1997, and a DSc from the University of London in the same year.

Select bibliography[edit]

Books authored[edit]

  • Altman, Douglas G. (1991). Practical Statistics for Medical Research. Monographs on Statistics and Applied Probability (first ed.). Chapman & Hall. ISBN 978-1-58488-039-4. 

Books edited[edit]

  • Systematic Reviews in Healthcare: Meta-Analysis in Context (2001). Editors: Douglas G. Altman, Iain Chalmers, Gerd Antes, Michael Bradburn, Mike Clarke, Matthias Egger, George Davey-Smith. ISBN 0-7279-1488-X
  • Statistics With Confidence: Confidence Intervals and Statistical Guidelines (2000). Editors: Douglas G. Altman, David Machin, T. N. Bryant, Martin J. Gardner. ISBN 0-7279-0222-9
  • Systematic Reviews (1999). Editors: Douglas G. Altman, Iain Chalmers. ISBN 0-7279-0904-5
  • Statistics in Practice: Articles Published in the British Medical Journal. (1982). Editors: Sheila M. Gore, Douglas G. Altman. ISBN 0-7279-0085-4

Peer-reviewed articles[edit]

List of the over 396 articles by Doug Altman available through PubMed.

  • David M, Kenneth FS and Altman DG for the CONSORT Group. (2001) Revised recommendations for improving the quality of reports of parallel group randomized trials. Lancet 14, 1191-4.
  • Bland JM, Altman DG. (1986) Statistical methods for assessing agreement between 2 methods of clinical measurement. Lancet i, 307-310. A reprint is available HERE
  • BMJ Statistical Notes - A series of short articles on the use of statistics by Doug Altman and his longtime collaborator Martin Bland.
  • Altman DG, Bland JM. (1983) Measurement in medicine - the analysis of method comparison studies. The Statistician 32, 307-317.
  • Bland JM, Altman DG. (1999) Measuring agreement in method comparison studies. Statistical Methods in Medical Research 8, 135-160.
  • Bland JM, Altman DG. (1995) Comparing methods of measurement - why plotting difference against standard method is misleading. Lancet 346, 1085-1087.


  1. ^ "Bradford Hill Medal". Royal Statistical Society. Retrieved 3 January 2010.  Established in memory of Sir Austin Bradford Hill FRS
  2. ^ Oxford Clinical Trials Research Unit biography
  3. ^ McCulloch P, Altman DG et al. "No surgical innovation without evaluation: the IDEAL recommendations." Lancet. 2009 Sep 26;374(9695):1105-12. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61116-8.
  4. ^ Bland, J. Martin, and DouglasG Altman. "Statistical methods for assessing agreement between two methods of clinical measurement." The Lancet 327.8476 (1986): 307-310.
  5. ^ Van Noorden, Richard, Brendan Maher, and Regina Nuzzo "The top 100 papers." Nature 514.7524 (2014): 550-553. Excel sheet referenced therein

External links[edit]