My previous post discussed Keith Baggerly and his efforts as a “forensic bioinformatician.”
In that article, the reporter asks Keith to name the biggest problem he sees in trying to reproduce results.
It’s not sexy, it’s not higher mathematics. It’s bookkeeping … keeping track of the labels and keeping track of what goes where. The thing that we have found repeatedly in our analyses is that it actually is one of the most difficult steps in performing some of these analyses.
I’ve seen presentations where Keith discusses specific bookkeeping errors. Quite often columns get transposed in spreadsheets, so researchers are not analyzing the data they say they are analyzing.