Re: I must be missing something...
"I don't know why you think scientists who are experts in their field, should be any better at office software than they are say at plumbing or arc-welding."
They should because the office software is part of their job. Now probably it shouldn't be that big a part, but if they insist on using Excel for their database, then they need to know how to use it for the database-style things they intend to do. Column typing is one of those things.
I'm a programmer. I only need to know how to write code, so I shouldn't have to know very much about infrastructure which I don't administer, right? We probably all know programmers like that. Yet that knowledge is crucial to understanding how my code will be working and therefore making my products useful. It isn't a thing specifically named in my job description, but if I don't know how to do it, I am not as good an employee.