[R] Use of R in clinical trials
P.Dalgaard at biostat.ku.dk
Thu Feb 18 15:37:29 CET 2010
Bill.Venables at csiro.au wrote:
> I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think Peter is being a bit harsh on SAS.
> I prefer Greg Snow's analogy (in the fortune collection): If SPSS (or
SAS) and R were vehicles, SPSS would be the bus, going on fixed routes
and efficiently carrying lots of people to standard places, whereas R is
the off-road 4WD SUV, complete with all sorts of kit including walking
boots, kayak on the top, &c. R will take you anywhere you want to go,
but it might take you longer to master it than the simple recipes for
data analysis typical of the 'bus' programs.
I wasn't really trying to be harsh. I think my friend actually said
something like "endearing mediocrity", and particularly the recruiting
aspect is not something to take lightly if you have a business to run.
Incidentally SAS is not quite as bus-like as SPSS - it does actually
allow you to take the driver's seat as long as you keep to the road. It
would be more like the pickup truck or delivery van: moves best in a
straight line, but will take you between most places you need to go.
Stata as the mini SUV city car (like SAS but quicker round the corners)
Genstat as the Land Rover (a bit like R designed in the 60's, but still
The F1 car would probably be Ox or Gauss or similar programs designed to
do one kind of thing very efficiently.
> Bill Venables
> CSIRO/CMIS Cleveland Laboratories
> -----Original Message-----
> From: r-help-bounces at r-project.org [mailto:r-help-bounces at r-project.org] On Behalf Of Peter Dalgaard
> Sent: Thursday, 18 February 2010 5:55 PM
> To: Frank E Harrell Jr
> Cc: r-help at r-project.org; Cody Hamilton
> Subject: Re: [R] Use of R in clinical trials
> Frank E Harrell Jr wrote:
>> How amazing that SAS is still used to produce reports that reviewers
>> hate and that requires tedious low-level programming. R + LaTeX has it
>> all over that approach IMHO. We have used that combination very
>> successfully for several data and safety monitoring reporting tasks for
>> clinical trials for the pharmaceutical industry.
> There is a point to it, though. One of my friends and colleagues in the
> business put it in one word: Mediocrity.
> SAS does a mediocre job at analysing and reporting and data handling
> using a mediocre control language. But: It can be handled by mediocre
> programmers writing and modifying mediocre programs, and those people
> are more available and replaceable, maybe even cheaper. R/LaTeX may run
> circles around SAS in terms of capapilities, flexibility, and elegance,
> but it can also send a programmer who doesn't have the required skill
> set running around in circles.
>> Cody Hamilton wrote:
>>> Dear all,
>>> There have been a variety of discussions on the R list regarding the
>>> use of R in clinical trials. The following post from the STATA list
>>> provides an interesting opinion regarding why SAS remains so popular
>>> in this arena:
>>> -Cody Hamilton
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