One in five genetics papers contains errors thanks to Microsoft Excel

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

Ordinarily I’d say that a geneticist should be able to grasp basic Excel functions such as formatting. But considering how many of my professors have PhDs and yet are unable to operate a projector or properly start a PowerPoint presentation, I’ll let it slide.


Excel has some really obnoxious default behaviors. Try to import CSV data where the first text character in a field is plus or minus? Nope, can’t get that to show up without serious tweaks. The default search rules on lookups is “something kinda close”. You have to override the default is you want exact matches. It would be nice if it had literal mode. Just do what is in there and stop trying to be smart about it.


I read an article in 2013 about how Climate Change studies are incorrect because of a similar issue. Excel would round off decimals so a lot of the calculations are incorrect, and this affected like 2 decades worth of data.


The number of people using a calculation program to manage lists is a bit depressing. That should be two different programs, really.


I wonder how LibreOffice Calc does with that kind of thing?