Mario Cortina Borja
How long have you been an RSS member?
Chairman of the Significance magazine editorial board
In a nutshell, your volunteer role is to…
To collaborate in all aspects of the magazine with its editor, its publisher, and members of the Editorial Board.
Why did you volunteer for this role?
I’ve read Significance with much interest since it started in 2004 and immediately wanted to be part of it. I simply volunteered in 2006 and was accepted. It’s a great way to promote the RSS and ASA’s ethos and I’m very happy to contribute to it.
How many times have you been published in Significance?
In the printed version: six articles, two letters, and four book reviews. Online: 16 articles and two book reviews
What has been your favourite Significance article to date and why?
Among many, I like David Spiegelhalter and Nicky Best’s article on Shipman’s statistical legacy, published in the very first issue of Significance in 2004, and, more recently, Adam Kashlak’s article on The frequency of 'America' in America, which won him the 2016 Young Statisticians’ Writing Competition. Both have great titles, are very well written, deal with interesting subjects, and were relevant to the concerns of the day.
I also like the 2017 article by Stella Cangelosi, Luciana Dalla Valle and Julian Stander on visualising population trends in Italian regions: it shows how to enhance R and the graphs are brilliant.
What recommendations would you give to someone looking to get published in Significance?
- Read the magazine.
- Choose a topical issue.
- Approach your subject from a statistical angle.
- Minimise the number of equations, and citations, and technical jargon - it’s a magazine, not a peer-reviewed journal!
- Start with a strong title, then a strong introductory sentence, and end with a strong, rounding sentence.
Who is your stats superhero and why?
They probably wouldn’t appreciate to be called anybody’s stats superhero but among many colleagues, Alan Stein, Catherine Peckham, David Cox, Harvey Goldstein and Tim Cole have had a huge influence in my professional development – not that I would compare my career to theirs! The clarity of their work is inspiring and they are also unfailingly generous.