Department of Biostatistics Seminar/Workshop Series

Facilitating Reproducible Research through Direct Connection of Data Analysis with Manuscript Preparation in Microsoft Word

Leah J. Welty, PhD, Director Biostatistics Collaboration Center, Associate Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine, Division of Biostatistics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

This talk will introduce a free, open source program for conducting reproducible research and creating dynamic documents using Microsoft Word and Stata, SAS, and R. Called StatTag, this program was recently developed to address a critical need in the research community: there were no broadly accessible tools to integrate document preparation in Word with statistical code, results, and data. Popular tools such as knitR and Markdown use plan text editors for document preparation. Despite the merits of these programs, Microsoft Word is ubiquitous for manuscript preparation in many fields, such as medicine, in which conducting reproducible research is increasingly important. Furthermore, current tools are one-directional: no downstream changes to the rendered RTF/Word documents are reflected in the source code. We developed StatTag to fill this void. StatTag provides an interface to edit statistical code directly from Word, and allows users to embed statistical output from that code (estimates, tables, figures) within Word. Output can be individually or collectively updated in one-click with a behind-the-scenes call to the statistical program. With StatTag, modification of a dataset or analysis will no longer entail transcribing results in to Word. This talk will include worked examples, and will be accessible to many users.

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