Monday, August 26, 2013

Excel Error, Again!

Via Businessinsider:
Bombshell Paper Claims That Microsoft Excel Coding Error Is Behind The Reinhart-Rogoff Study On Debt

Coding Error. As Herndon-Ash-Pollin puts it: "A coding error in the RR working spreadsheet entirely excludes five countries, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, and Denmark, from the analysis. [Reinhart-Rogoff] averaged cells in lines 30 to 44 instead of lines 30 to 49...

Lessons learned?
1. Excel is a terrible tool for data analysis.
2. Reproducible research needs more advocates! Like Biostatistics Ryan Gosling?

In excel, the formulas are hidden unless you chose the cells. This error is pretty straight forward. Imagine real "code" that involve VBA programming, or just several layers of formula, then the error checking is next to impossible.

Folks, please learn R! even better learn Knitr!

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