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Excel Created Major Typos in 20% of Scientific Papers on Genes

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Effi, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. Effi

    Effi Senior Member

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    Europe
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_t...20_percent_of_scientific_papers_on_genes.html
    paper: http://genomebiology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13059-016-1044-7
    Gene name errors are widespread in the scientific literature
    Genome Biology201617:177
    DOI: 10.1186/s13059-016-1044-7
    © The Author(s). 2016
    Published: 23 August 2016
     
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  2. Valentijn

    Valentijn The Diabolic Logic

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    The auto-date crap has to be the single most annoying thing about Excel :meh:
     
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  3. Valentijn

    Valentijn The Diabolic Logic

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    Excel's options can't be changed to fix the problem permanently ... the best work-around is probably to make a template with all cells set to "text". Then reset any columns where calculations are needed, or use a different template if doing calculations.

    Pretty annoying, since it's an option a lot of people want, and it would be simple to implement program-wide. Most of the cell formatting features work fine on their own, so it's often creating other problems to have to turn all of them off, instead of just checking a box saying "never change the data into a date".
     
  4. user9876

    user9876 Senior Member

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    Excel is a good tool to explore data but I think it is not a suitable tool to use for research results. It is very hard to do any sort of quality control or unit testing of stats code or results. Having said that I'm not sure many academic researchers have much of an idea of doing any testing on the validity of how they produce their results, software testing.

    Another problem is simply loading data can often lead to issues unless there are checks. I think one paper had an age of 32000+ which is clearly an issue in converting unsigned to signed integers in a load process. But checks should be put in place.

    There were some economists who made spread sheet errors with a paper used by economists in support of austerity.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...goff-and-the-excel-error-that-changed-history
     
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  5. Skippa

    Skippa Senior Member

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    Ha! I thought we agreed not to give the PACE authors any more ideas on what to blame the data fiasco on!

    'Twas Excel auto-correct m'lud
     

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