A Code Glitch May Have Caused Errors In More Than 100 Published Studies
The discovery is a reminder that science is collaborative and ideally self-correcting, but that nothing can be taken for granted.

Scientists in Hawaiʻi have uncovered a glitch in a piece of code that could have yielded incorrect results in over 100 published studies that cited the original paper.

The glitch caused results of a common chemistry computation to vary depending on the operating system used, causing discrepancies among Mac, Windows, and Linux systems. The researchers published the revelation and a debugged version of the script, which amounts to roughly 1,000 lines of code, on Tuesday in the journal Organic Letters.

“This simple glitch in the original script calls into question the conclusions of a significant number of papers on a wide range of topics in a way that cannot be easily resolved from published information because the operating system is rarely mentioned,” the new paper reads. “Authors who used these scripts should certainly double-check their results and any relevant conclusions using the modified scripts in the [supplementary information].”

A quick read:


This is how it should work. Errors are investigated and the original scientists not only welcomed new information, but publication of the error and new information was encouraged!