YOU MEAN THE LAYERS AND LAYERS OF EDITORS AND THE PROCESS OF PEER REVIEW DON’T CATCH THOSE?  THIS IS MY SHOCKED FACE. Turns out that scientific papers are full of computer-created mistakes.  Take for instance:

You see, genes are often referred to in scientific literature by symbols — essentially shortened versions of full gene names. The gene “Septin 2” is typically shortened as SEPT2. “Membrane-Associated Ring Finger (C3HC4) 1, E3 Ubiquitin Protein Ligase” gets mercifully shortened to MARCH1.

But when you type these shortened gene names into Excel, the program automatically assumes they refer to dates — Sept. 2 and March 1, respectively. If you type SEPT2 into a default Excel cell, it magically becomes “2-Sep.” It’s stored by the program as the date 9/2/2016.

Even worse, there’s no easy way to undo this automatic formatting once it has happened.


Read The Whole Thing: An alarming number of scientific papers contain Excel errors.