[R] the joy of spreadsheets (off-topic)

peter dalgaard pdalgd at gmail.com
Wed Apr 24 17:58:54 CEST 2013

In case you haven't noticed, this is making the rounds in the media, including a handful of references to R. See e.g.


I suppose we can't fortune()'ify anonymous quotes, but I kind of like this exchange:

"Bacon Bits": "SPSS and R are very good at statistical analysis. Quantrix, MapleSoft, IBM Algorithmics, and other software is for financial data modeling. None of those is particularly appropriate for sharing data in a useful format with peers. Excel is."

"Hatta": "R is extremely appropriate for sharing data in a useful format with peers. It's completely free for one. But more importantly, it saves every single step of your analysis. Send someone an Excel file, and who knows what they've done to the data. Send someone your R project directory and they can see exactly what you did.

The problem with sending R files to your peers isn't that the R files aren't useful. It's that your peers aren't."

On Apr 16, 2013, at 19:25 , Sarah Goslee wrote:

> Given that we occasionally run into problems with comparing Excel
> results to R results, and other spreadsheet-induced errors, I thought
> this might be of interest.
> http://www.nextnewdeal.net/rortybomb/researchers-finally-replicated-reinhart-rogoff-and-there-are-serious-problems
> The punchline:
> "If this error turns out to be an actual mistake Reinhart-Rogoff made,
> well, all I can hope is that future historians note that one of the
> core empirical points providing the intellectual foundation for the
> global move to austerity in the early 2010s was based on someone
> accidentally not updating a row formula in Excel."
> Ouch.
> (Note: I know nothing about the site, the author of the article, or
> the study in question. I was pointed to it by someone else. But if
> true: highly problematic.)
> Sarah
> -- 
> Sarah Goslee
> http://www.functionaldiversity.org
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Peter Dalgaard, Professor
Center for Statistics, Copenhagen Business School
Solbjerg Plads 3, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Phone: (+45)38153501
Email: pd.mes at cbs.dk  Priv: PDalgd at gmail.com

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