False Discovery Rate Calculator


About False Discovery Rate Calculator (Formula)

A False Discovery Rate (FDR) Calculator is a statistical tool used in scientific research and data analysis, particularly in fields like genomics, epidemiology, and multiple hypothesis testing. It helps researchers assess and control the rate of false discoveries when conducting multiple statistical tests simultaneously. False discoveries occur when a test incorrectly identifies a result as significant or meaningful when it is, in fact, due to random chance. The FDR Calculator employs statistical techniques to estimate and manage this error rate.

Formula for False Discovery Rate (FDR): The formula for calculating the False Discovery Rate involves sorting the p-values obtained from multiple hypothesis tests in ascending order and then comparing them to a threshold or significance level (often denoted as alpha, α). The formula is as follows:

FDR = (Number of False Discoveries) / (Total Number of Discoveries)


  • FDR is the False Discovery Rate, representing the proportion of false discoveries among all discoveries.
  • Number of False Discoveries is the count of results that are incorrectly identified as significant.
  • Total Number of Discoveries is the total count of all discoveries made in the multiple testing scenario.

Controlling the FDR: One commonly used method for controlling the FDR is the Benjamini-Hochberg procedure, which sets a threshold for the FDR at a certain desired level (e.g., 0.05 or 5%). This procedure involves the following steps:

  1. Sort the p-values from the multiple tests in ascending order.
  2. Calculate the critical value (q-value) for each p-value.
  3. Identify the largest p-value for which the q-value is less than or equal to the desired FDR threshold.
  4. Reject all null hypotheses associated with p-values smaller than or equal to the identified p-value.

By controlling the FDR, researchers strike a balance between identifying potentially meaningful discoveries and minimizing the risk of making false claims. This is especially important in fields like genomics, where thousands or even millions of statistical tests are performed simultaneously, increasing the likelihood of false positives.

False Discovery Rate Calculators simplify the process of estimating and managing the FDR, allowing researchers to make informed decisions about which results are genuinely significant in large-scale data analysis. Properly controlling the FDR is crucial for maintaining the credibility and reliability of scientific research and data-driven decision-making.