[R] diamond graphs

Scott Zeger szeger at jhsph.edu
Mon Aug 25 21:37:29 CEST 2003

I read with interest comments about "diamond graphs" recently described in
the American Statistician by my colleagues in the Johns Hopkins Department
of Epidemiology led by Dr. Alvaro Munoz.

Permit three brief reactions.

First, "diamond graphs" were developed as part of the Multi-center Aids
Cohort Study, a seminal study of HIV infection in the U.S. in which these
authors have been key co-investigators. The graphs were created to better
address a real scientific objective and that usually bodes well for their
longer-term value.

Second, non-technical descriptions of statistical work written by public
affairs people, such as the Johns Hopkins web-page article commented on,
tend to be enthusiastic; such is the nature of public relations. I, for one,
am delighted to see statistical work noticed and discussed by
non-statisticians within my University and beyond.

Third, this University leaves it to individual faculty whether or not to
pursue a patent for a discovery. That Dr. Munoz and colleagues have decided
to do so does reflects their preference, not a University or Department
policy. In fact, the Johns Hopkins Department of Biostatistics faculty and
graduates are active participants in and enthusiastic supporters of open
source software development. For recent examples, see:

Scott L. Zeger
Department of Biostatistics
Johns Hopkins University

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