Excel Use Among Fisheries Folks

Last week I spent some time at the 2011 Fall Meeting for the American Fisheries Society.  The streets of Seattle were swamped with an estimated 4,000 AFS attendees… I wonder how many made it to Pike Place Market for a little on-the-ground research?  I was more interested in the tasty coffee choices that Seattle has to offer, and I wasn’t disappointed.  My reason for going to Seattle was not, however, to partake of the city’s many offerings, but instead to continue my quest for understanding how different types of scientists are using Excel, and how the Excel add-in that will result from this project might help them.

In that vein, fisheries folks are heavy Excel users: about 75% of the 36 scientists surveyed used Excel either every day or almost every day.  They use Excel in concert with other programs (primarily Microsoft Access, R, and ArcGIS):

Programs used with Excel

Percent of 36 fisheries scientists who use these software programs along with Excel

Similar to the ecologists at ESA I spoke with, Excel is being used for a wide range of applications:

Excel use by AFS attendees

Percent of 36 fisheries scientists surveyed using Excel for a particular application

Again, sharing and organizing data float to the top as primary uses for Excel among scientists.  The next post will some interesting discussions I had with AFS attendees about data sharing and data archiving, and what they would like to see specifically from the add-in being developed.

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