Gnumeric vs other spreadsheets for statistical analysis

Gnumeric fans will be interested in this paper, published November 2011

As the use of spreadsheet packages for statistical analysis increases, so does the need for assessing the 
reliability of these packages. This study compares the accuracy of six spreadsheet packages: Excel, Google 
Docs, Gnumeric, Numbers, OpenOffice Calc, and Quattro Pro. The National Institute of Standards and Technology 
(NIST) compiled sets of data specifically to test for computational accuracy. Certified statistically 
accurate computations for standard statistical procedures accompany these datasets. This study analyzes the 
accuracy of summary statistics such as the mean, standard deviation, and autocorrelation as well as the F 
statistics for a one-way ANOVA, and the coefficients and R2statistics in regression analysis using the 
Statistical Reference Datasets (StRD) provided by NIST. Wilkinson’s Tests are also examined to document a 
package’s ability to perform rounding, univariate statistics, scatterplots, and regression/correlation with 
particularly challenging data.
  The final analysis reports the accuracy of probability and percentile computations involving statistical 
distributions. The results suggest that Gnumeric is the most reliable both in performing statistical analysis 
and for calculations involving statistical distributions. Google Docs spreadsheet, while convenient, has 
deficiencies and should not be used for scientific statistical analysis. This article has supplementary 
material online.

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