JCGS Editor Talks About
What Makes the Journal Dynamic

Tyler McCormick is an associate professor of statistics and sociology at the University of Washington. He is also a core faculty member of the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences and a senior data science fellow at the eScience Institute.

Where did you grow up and go to school, and what or who inspired you to be a statistician?

I grew up in North Carolina and did my undergraduate degree at Duke University. As an undergraduate, I enjoyed studying the social sciences, particularly sociology. It wasn’t until I was about to graduate from Duke that I realized you could categorize my interests as “statistics.” Fortunately, I had great advisers as an undergraduate who helped me come to this realization and encouraged me to pursue a statistics graduate program despite not having the typical preparation. I spent the summer after graduating at NC State University taking math courses before moving to the University of Connecticut for my master’s degree and then to Columbia for my PhD.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have mentors in all of these places whose advice and support have been instrumental. My route into statistics was a bit different than for many people, which certainly presented challenges. On the other hand, though, it has helped me build collaborations and better understand the complexities of questions in social science domains.

What sparked your interest in becoming editor of the Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics (JCGS)?

I’ve always enjoyed reading articles in JCGS, and JCGS papers have been instrumental in my work on multiple occasions. I’m particularly drawn to the emphasis of JCGS on both substantial computational and/or graphical contributions and on contributions that are impactful in scientific and substantive questions. I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve our community as an editor and to work with such an amazing editorial board.

What do you find is the most challenging part of being the JCGS editor?

We have to pass on many excellent papers, and that’s very, very hard. The associate editors and I are always looking for opportunities to be constructive and give authors suggestions that we think will improve their work. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we’re not able to help an author get a paper to a place where it makes sense to move forward at JCGS.

This wasn’t one of your questions, but I’d also like to mention the part of being the JCGS editor I’ve enjoyed the most. JCGS gets an amazing variety of papers, and being editor is an opportunity to engage deeply with papers that would otherwise be outside the scope of my normal reading list. The experience has broadened my understanding of our field and deepened my appreciation for the complexity of the problems our colleagues grapple with.

Are there any changes you would like to implement for JCGS?

The journal has really flourished thanks to the previous editors. I owe a lot especially to Di Cook, the editor before me, both for making the transition into being editor really smooth and for the wonderful place the journal is in now. At the same time, our field is changing quickly, so it’s important that we’re always aware of how we maintain our reputation for publishing cutting-edge work that is valuable for substantive problems. One thing in particular that’s a priority now is working with associate editors and referees to incorporate code and software into the review process, which was also a priority while Di was editor.