Frank Bretz is the editor of Statistics in Biopharmaceutical Research. We asked him to tell us a little about himself, the journal, and what we can expect to read in future issues.
Where did you grow up and go to school, and what or who inspired you to be a statistician?
I grew up on three continents, until I settled in Germany to study mathematics with a minor in biology. It was not until my PhD, however, that I developed a passion for statistics and recognized the necessity to bridge the gap between methodological developments and their applications in the day-to-day world.
Why did you become interested in being the editor for SBR?
The role of statistics in biopharmaceutical research is ever increasing, and SBR has played a major role in this regard since its launch in 2009. Thus, it is an honor to build upon the work of the previous editors and follow the call from Joe Heyse in the journal’s first issue to “publish original peer-reviewed articles directed to researchers and applied statisticians from academia, government, and industry supporting the growing disciplines in the biopharmaceutical sciences.”
Do you plan to make any changes to the journal while you are editor?
We need to acknowledge the globalization of the pharmaceutical industry. Complementing my other services in supporting the ASA’s international outreach activities—particularly for the Biopharmaceutical Section—I would like to increase the visibility of SBR outside the United States. As a first step, we have enriched the editorial board with selected members from other regions to broaden the impact of SBR and encourage submissions from outside the United States.
At the same time, I would like to sharpen SBR’s profile at the scientific interface between industry, academia, and regulatory agencies to advance practices of pharmaceutical drug development. This could be done by, for example, establishing dedicated sections such as a “regulatory corner” for a scientific exchange on newly developed statistical guidelines or a section on “out of box” statistical methods and practices.
What do you find is the most enjoyable part of being a journal editor?
For me, I found that my past experiences as associate or guest editor for various journals was extremely rewarding. I found I was involved in handling new science at a detailed level unmatched by other venues. I also found myself getting new contacts in the form of authors and reviewers.
When the opportunity came around for me to take on the editorial responsibility for SBR, I did not need much convincing, but the reasons were more personal than anything else. Becoming an editor is not something you just choose; you need to see if you personally get something out of the job that makes it worth your while.
Ultimately, the most enjoyable part is the fact that I’m surrounded by an outstanding team that shoulders much of the heavy work: Jina Lee as the editorial coordinator, Eric Sampson as the journal manager, and, last but not least, the entire editorial board.
What do you find is the most challenging part of your job as editor?
To sign up as chief editor likely means signing up for a longer period to be able to fully embrace the flow of articles and handle all the problems that may occur. This is particularly true if you
wish to see any results of your work while you are still associated with the journal.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Traveling, hiking, reading, immersing into different cultures.