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John Mertic

R-users & Community: give us your feedback on a R Certification to teach & verify skilled R Professionals

By Announcement, Blog

In the past few years, we have seen an increase in the demand for R – both from employers looking for skilled R-users and professionals looking to further improve their skills. Due to this supply and demand gap, there have been various teaching channels created in an attempt to extend knowledge of the language. Even with the abundance of R teaching material, we still face a dearth of qualified, skilled R users. The inability to differentiate self-taught data scientists from qualified personnel creates confusion for employers and difficulties for quality professionals to separate themselves from the rest.

R Consortium started a working group that has identified an absence of a system to certify qualified R professionals as a cause for this problem. As a response to this, the group is working to create a certification for R that will allow professionals and students to acquire fundamental skills and knowledge of the language. Creation of this certification also aims to help recruiters identify and assess the skills of potential recruits. This group will be driven by the needs of the current R professionals and data science recruiters. More information about this initiative can be found here.

In order for this working group to create a valuable certification, we encourage community feedback in this initiative. Your feedback will help the working group to evolve this certification to best serve the needs of the R community. Please respond to this survey to help in the creation of this certification.

Progress on driving diversity standards in the R community – an update on RCDI-WG

By Blog, R Consortium Project

R Consortium announced four months ago the formation of the R Community Diversity and Inclusion Working Group (RCDI-WG), a focal point to address diversity and inclusion issues in the R community. It’s been great to see the interest and participation from the community, with over 50 individuals representing working groups, events, meetups, and projects coming together to drive forward sustainable diversity standards and practices.

The group has begun working on the initial deliverables outlined.

Code of Conduct

One of the working group’s key deliverables was a sample code of conduct that organizers can use for their conferences, meetups, and other events. We consulted the Ada Initiative’s and Geek Feminism’s guides for codes of conduct, and based our work on the existing R-Ladies code of conduct, which itself is based on Geek Feminism’s code of conduct.

We’d encourage all of you to review the proposed code of conduct and provide feedback/comments via pull request or an email to the mailing list

Speaker Diversity working group

Conferences are at their best when everyone participates. The Speaker Diversity group focuses on collecting and disseminating tips that can help conference and event organizers increase the diversity of their speaker lineup through conscious recruitment and retention. Through curated articles, conversations with event organizers and participants, and our collective experiences, we aim to tease out strategies that have worked in the past and highlight behaviors that can lead organizers away from achieving their speaker diversity goals.

Recently the group drafted an initial version of an article outlining five major area that organizers can focus on to help increase the diversity of their event’s speaker lineup. In short, M.A.P.S.S (Mission, Advertise, Pipeline, Selection, Sharing) outlines strategies that can be taken, at each phase of planning an event, to help achieve a diverse and inclusive speaker lineup. If you are interested in exploring how to increase speaker diversity at conferences and events, join in the conversation on the email list or follow our progress in the Github repository.

Conference best practices checklist

One challenge conference organizers highlighted is ensuring that while organizing a conference in good faith of trying to drive diversity and inclusivity, often some items were forgotten or overlooked.

This inspired the workstream for driving the Conference best practices checklist. The aim of this checklist is for it to be a non-exhaustive but illustrative reference system for organisers of conferences (and even events). Conference organisers can use this to help them build out a tasklist, stimulate conversation within their organising team, or publish their alignment with it to help speakers, attendees, and sponsors make an informed decision about whether to attend.

You should review the list and let us know via pull request or email of suggestions for improving this.


It’s great to see progress on bringing the greater R community together to create a welcoming space for everyone, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, socio-economic status, nationality, citizenship, religion, sexual orientation, ability, or age. We welcome everyone to review the meetings and deliverables, and join the mailing list to further drive the conversation

What’s new with R Consortium funded projects in Q3 2018

By Blog, R Consortium Project

In an effort to provide greater transparency with respect to R Consortium activities, the ISC provides quarterly updates for all R Consortium funded projects. The following is our update for Q3 2018.


Most of the work on R-hub was maintenance, i.e. updating software, fixing failures, updating SSL certificates.

R-Hub in 2018 January-June, some numbers:

  • 18 platforms, including Windows, Linux, MacOS and Solaris builders
  • 9098 builds
  • 843 different packages
  • 450 users

Detailed work and issue tracking can be found here and here.

PSI application for collaboration to create online R package validation repository

The AIMS SIG is planning to create an online repository for R package validation which could be used when R is used for pharmaceutical industry regulatory analysis. Since the main hurdle for widespread use of R in late phase trials is ensuring adequate validation documentation, AIMS is designing a framework which will specify a set of requirements, including metadata and examples of tests, which together would form evidence of the quality of an R package. Initially we will use dplyr as an example, and will make this “evidence of validation” available to the wider community on GitHub.

Whether the evidence provided is sufficient will be the decision of the end user, but it can be a starting point for further testing or may be sufficient in itself depending on the user’s attitude to risk. After review by our peers, we will be calling on all R users to submit similar evidence of validation for other packages. By sharing this evidence, we hope to reduce the amount of re-work being done by multiple companies eager to use R, but fearful of doing so in a regulatory environment without documentation of validation.

The AIMS SIG presented at the 2018 PSI Conference. The title was “The Future is heRe” aimed at demonstrating ways in which R can be useful in the pharmaceutical industry and promoting our plans for the online repository for the documentation of R validation.

AIMS also presented and held an R-validation brainstorming workshop at the R/Pharma Conference in August 2018. Volunteers from this meeting and the wider community will form a sub-group who will work towards the creation of the R-validation online repository. For latest details on the project please look here. If you are interested in contributing to this project please contact: Lyn Taylor at

Ongoing infrastructural development for R on Windows and MacOS

Follow the project here.

Quantities for R

The r-quantities project has been completed. The four milestones of the project were published in the following blog posts:

1. A first working prototype
2. Support for units and errors parsing
3. An analysis of data wrangling operations with quantities
4. Prospects on fitting linear models with quantities

And along the way, there have been multiple exciting improvements, both in the ‘units’ and ‘errors’ packages, to support all these features and make ‘quantities’ possible, which is ready for an imminent CRAN release. This project ends, but the r-quantities GitHub organization will continue to thrive and to provide the best tools for quantity calculus to the R community.

histoRicalg — Preserving and Transferring Algorithmic Knowledge

histoRicalg has generated some interest and activity in its first few months, with a working group established and some activities begun concerning older algortihms that R may or may not be using. Our gitlab repository now has a variety of materials, and some are codified into vignettes is here. Our mailing list has grown, and new members welcome join the mailing list. .

R User Group Support program

The 2018 R Consortium R User Group Support Program has wrapped up for the year on September 30th. This year we have made 3 Array level grants, 17 Matrix level grants and 96 Vector level grants to make a total of 116 RUGs funded. 78 groups elected to participate in the program where the R Consortium pays their dues. Additionally, we funded 14 small conferences. In total, the RUGs program awarded more than $50,000 in grants.

stars: Scalable, spatiotemporal tidy arrays for R

Follow the project here.

Forwards Workshops for Women and Girls

A package development workshop for women was held at eRum 2018. Thanks to the R Consortium funding, travel scholarships were provided for 8 women that attended. The course used material developed for the first workshop run in Auckland last year and these materials are now available on GitHub under a CC-BY-NC 3.0 license. A short (1.5-2 hours) version was also developed and run at Cardiff satRday, with accompanying RStudio cloud instance (details in the materials on the GitHub site). This opens the possibility of running the workshops with minimal set-up at R-Ladies or other user groups.

The next workshop planned is for high school girls in NYC, to be held on Saturday 27 October. Further details are on the Education page of the Forwards website.

Refactoring and updating the SWIG R module

Two significant PRs have been sent to swig maintainers, details of which are discussed in the report pages below. These PRs address:

  • Rewriting the enumeration wrapping framework in the R module, allowing arbitrarily complex definition of underlying integer values
  • Rewriting/refactoring of the accessor wrapping framework for the R module, which eliminates the use of logic driven by function names from this part of the module

The latter eliminates bugs in which some accessors were incorrectly defined due to errors in the string logic, and others were incorrectly ignored due to names matching the patterns expected of automatically generated bindings. Look here for details.

Developing Tools and Templates for Teaching Materials

We have set up a GitHub organization that includes a repository to gather feedback and ideas  and a website to provide updates about the project. We started a small R package to extract, manipulate and modify the content of yml headers.

Joint profiling of native and R code

No new updates since Q2. First thing to do will be to improve documentation and perhaps record a screencast, to lower the entry barrier.

Maintaining DBI

Kirill Müller presented DBI in Berlin, Amsterdam, and Zurich. Here are the slides. The DBI package now has a CII badge. Stay tuned for the upcoming blog posts, the first in early October. All posts will be available here.

R Documentation Task Force

The Beta versions will be released soon.

Sat R Days

satRdays ( continue to grow and flourish. In the next three months, we’re having our first conferences in the US ( and South America ( as well as another conference in the European region (

We’re discussing more events in Africa and growing the number of events per region next year. We’re hoping for at least 20 satRdays to run around the world.

Folks can now register interest on our events calendar and read about running an event on our knowledgebase (

We’re looking forward to supporting people across the world in sharing their R knowledge via accessible and diverse events.

Conference Management System for R Consortium Supported Conferences

We have completed and supported the deployment of a satRdays conference template that is open source and forkable for other events. It allows the integration of common ticketing platforms and call for paper solutions. The template is here.

Our next steps are about building a similar solution that is UseR! branded and incorporates sciencesconf to make it easier for academic events to spin up quickly too.


Growth: R-Ladies growth is exceeding all the expectations. The goal for 2018 was to reach 65 chapters, and we are pleased to announce that, as per Oct 2018, we have already doubled that number: there are currently 131 chapters on meetup with ~31,500 R-Ladies members (signed up on meetup) and distributed in 41 countries and 131 cities in 6 continents. Additionally the R-Ladies remote, launched last quarter, is very active organising virtual events for all the R-Ladies far from any chapters.

Improving infrastructure: The majority of R-Ladies chapters have been migrated to our meetup pro account, few more are scheduled next quarter. This will help simplifying the reimbursement of chapter expenses.

R-Ladies is now a non-profit organization incorporated in California (USA) – application for tax exempt status is in progress.

An Earth data processing backend for testing and evaluating stars

Follow the project here.

What’s new with R Consortium funded projects in Q2 2018

By Blog, R Consortium Project

In an effort to provide greater transparency with respect to R Consortium activities, the ISC provides quarterly updates for all R Consortium funded projects. The following is our update for Q2 2018.

histoRicalg — Preserving and Transferring Algorithmic Knowledge

The HistoRicalg project is seeking participants — both active and in a review capacity — to help select issues in older algorithms that should be addressed.
We are setting up a working group to identify possible issues in older algorithms.
Some concerns have already been identified and we are starting to address them. See wiki for details.

Forwards Workshops for Women and Girls

foRwards is pleased to announce upcoming R workshops in Melbourne and Auckland. We thank the R Consortium for funding. See the GitHub page for details.

Code Coverage Tool for R

While the software development goals of this project have been achieved through the covr package re-released in summer 2017, we continue to make progress on the secondary goal to integrate package best practices into the R Community. We pursued this along two threads.

First, we conducted a survey on the understanding and use of open source licenses and their implications for the R Community. We blogged about the results here.

Second, we reviewed the Linux Foundation Core Infrastructure Initiative Best Practices Badge Program. Initially, we considered branching a version of the CII tailored to R, however, in further discussions, it appears the CII Best Practices Badge Program can be adopted as is. We are currently conducting a survey of the R Community soliciting feedback on having the CII Best Practices Badge Program be a recommended practice from the R Consortium, as well as to identify any necessary enhancements to the questionnaire.

Look here for refactoring and updating the SWIG R module

R User Group Support program

The RUGs program continues to enroll additional user groups. As of June 14th 87 groups are participating in the program: 2 Array level, 14 Matrix level and 71 Vector level. Additionally, we have sponsored 10 small conferences since the beginning of the program. The RUGs program will run through September 30, 2018.

stars: Scalable, spatiotemporal tidy arrays for R

The stars project is underway. Look here for details and to get involved and here for examples and reports.

Sat R Days

satRdays is growing amazingly well!

We’ve got 8 events coming up in the next year, with plans to add more events too. At satRdays we’re baking in a commitment to diversity and it’s going amazingly well. The most recent event in Cardiff, UK had 11 of 14 speakers coming from under-represented groups.

We’re looking for more folks who want to organise satRdays events, particularly outside of the Europe region. If any one is interested you can read our growing docs, including about what its all about at and chat to us on the global R User Group leaders Slack You can also come one board to help with central stuff like the website, building up the documentation, marketing, and supporting new event organisers.

Conference Management System for R Consortium Sponsored Conferences

One of the next big areas for us to think about the next wave of central funding from the Consortium and whether she should do anything to have an official entity for the central administration associated with these conferences.”
Conference Management System for R Consortium Supported Conferences “After making performing an extensive review, Odoo was identified as the most feature-rich platform for hosting events however, there were limitations that particularly impacted academic-oriented events.

We discussed the option of extending Odoo as it was based on Python, but it was felt that trying to make a one size fits all solution was not the best approach.

The alternative we discussed and will now move forward with is a flexible and minimal solution in Hugo, the basis for blogdown.

Our revised proposal will see rapid development and iteration using satRfdays as the test subject. This will mean other R events can leverage the solutions developed for satRdays and the technology will be proven by the next UseR! iteration

Quantities for R

The r-quantities project has reached the third milestone. The first prototype has been polished and aligned with recent developments in the units package. Efficient parsers have been implemented to read data with units and/or errors into quantities objects. The documentation has been extended to provide a comprehensive guide on working with quantities in two common data wrangling workflows. Further details about these developments can be found in the three articles published so far in

Proposal to Create an R Consortium Working Group Focused on US Census Data NA.

The working group held its first meeting on August 8th. If you are interested in getting involved, write to us at

Ongoing infrastructural development for R on Windows and MacOS

Development of the new version of Rtools, and rebuilding of C++ libraries used by packages. We are now in the process of testing base-R and all CRAN packages with the new GCC 8.1 toolchain.

Developing Tools and Templates for Teaching Materials

We are in the planning phase at this stage. We’ll soon set up GitHub repository and website for more visibility, share planed features, progress, and give an opportunity for the community to provide feedback.

Joint profiling of native and R code

OS X support has been added and the main package has been renamed to jointprof to avoid a name clash with an existing package. Try it out, happy to take your feedback!

Maintaining DBI

The third DBI project is focused on technical and non-technical issues. We would like to present DBI at R meetups in Zurich and Berlin, and we have submitted a talk for the next satRday in Amsterdam. The renaming of duplicate columns in the output introduced in DBI 1.0.0 caused problems for RSQLite and will be reverted. The sqlr package by Nicolas Bennettaims at providing a backend-agnostic way to define the structure of a database, i.e., generate DML statements from R code similarly to SQLAlchemy for Python.


Growth : The growth we saw at the start of 2018 has continued with now 25,000 R-Ladies (members signed up on meet-up). With 17 new groups in this quarter (5 in the US, 1 in Canada, 4 in Latin America, 3 in Europe, 2 in Australia, 1 in Asia and 1 Remote) increasing to more than 115 R-Ladies chapters worldwide (on Additionally a new R-Ladies remote was launched to allow R-Ladies far from a chapter/city to be involved in an R-Ladies group.
Improving infrastructure: Move to R-Ladies global meet-up Pro account to help align chapters expenses, new initiatives for Slack community in development.
Long term planning: Progress made on Charity set-up.
Supporting Rconsortium and RStudio along with R-Forward to improve the conference organisation and diversity requirements to make all future R conferences inclusive.

PSI application for collaboration to create online R package validation repository

The PSI AIMS SIG will lead the creation of an online repository / web portal, where validation which is of regulatory standard for R packages can be submitted and stored for free use. We will define a set of “Validation Criteria”, demonstrate it by applying it to the dplyr package, and then encourage contributions from R users to document validation of other packages and load them to the shared free access portal.

In June 2018, we attended the PSI Conference in Amsterdam to promote the idea and make contacts with potential future collaborators. Our next steps will be continue work on the Validation Criteria Framework engaging key opinion leaders at the R/Pharma conference in August. If you have experience in R validation and are interested in working with us on this project please contact

R Documentation Task Force

Beta packages with limited functionality are being prepared for release.


Interview R/Medicine 2018 conference organizer Micheal Kane

By Blog, Events

The first annual R/Medicine conference is being held September 7-8 in New Haven, CT, and is a collaboration between R Consortium and the Yale School of Public Health Biostatistics Department. As the first public activity of the R in Medicine working group, it’s set to be a key event to bring together the medical community that leverages R in medical research and clinical practice.

Leading the conference committee is Michael Kane, who is an Assistant Professor in Yale University’s Biostatistics Department. With the conference coming soon he agreed to answer a few questions about the R community and the conference itself.

Tell us about the medicine industry’s use of R?

Michael: My first exposure to medicine using R came from my internship at Revolution Computing (now Microsoft R). At the time most companies used SAS and Revolution had started providing validated versions of R and some packages, similar to SAS’s validation process, which would allow R to be used in submissions to the FDA. Since then, the rules have changed, and R sees a lot more use in this space because it provides inexpensive access to powerful tools for designing and analyzing health, genetic, and clinical data. 
We are currently using and developing these tools to find subtypes in immunotherapy studies for treating cancer. Patients can respond very differently to cancer therapies depending which stage of cancer they have, how many previous treatments they’ve had, and the diversity of the tumor environment. By understanding how factors like these are related to prognostic heterogeneity, we can do a better job prescribing people with cancer the most effective possible treatments.

What drove you to create an event to bring together the R medicine community?

Michael: This conference was inspired by R/Finance. The committee does a fantastic job of providing an entertaining and informative conference. The richness and diversity of the talk subjects show how vast finance is and, at the same time, the speakers and other attendees are completely accessible. We want to bring that same sense of inclusiveness and collaboration to medicine, where sometimes practices become siloed. We hope people realize that we, in medicine, are also part of a rich large and rich area of research and we hope the conference helps to jell the community.

What is the organizing committee’s goals and measures of success for this first event?

Michael: Our goal for the first year to better understand the community as a whole. We are expecting submissions from the clinical trials community, the genetics and omics community, and the epidemiology community. We are hoping we get submissions from both academia and industry. We want to see how people are using R to advance human health. I’ll consider the conference a success if attendees find at least one talk where they are surprised, entertained, and delighted by a use of R that hadn’t occurred to them.
Our other goal is to reinvest in the conference. If we are successful, and we are able to secure enough sponsorship, then we would like to make it easier for people to attend the conference. This would include providing more awards for travel, particularly for students.

How do you see working with R Consortium as critical for driving consensus and critical mass in the medicine community?

Michael: The R Consortium has become the umbrella for the entire R community. Their approval lets the community know that this is the conference to go to if you are using R in Medicine.
We thank Micheal for his time, and hope that if you are in the medical community using R that you look to attend this event.

Come see R Consortium and R Ladies at Open Source Summit NA in Vancouver this August

By Events, R Consortium Project

End of August here in North America means summer is winding down, kids are headed back to school, and the annual Open Source Summit hosted by the Linux Foundation is happening. For those not familiar with the event, Open Source Summit North America is the leading conference for developers, architects and other technologists – as well as open source community and industry leaders – to collaborate, share information, learn about the latest technologies and gain a competitive advantage by using innovative open solutions.

Open Source Summit, being held this year in Vancouver from August 29th – 31st, 2018, connects the open source ecosystem under one roof. It covers cornerstone open source technologies; helps ecosystem leaders to navigate open source transformation with the Diversity Empowerment Summit and tracks on business and compliance; and delves into the newest technologies and latest trends touching open source, including networking, cloud-native, edge computing, AI and much more. It is an extraordinary opportunity for cross-pollination between the developers, sysadmins, DevOps professionals and IT architects driving the future of technology.

R Consortium is excited to participate in this event in two key ways:

Come meet us at the event this August! You can use registration code OSSNA18COM15 to save 15% on your registration costs.

R Consortium is soliciting your feedback on R package best practices

By Blog, R Consortium Project

With over 12,000 R packages on CRAN alone, the choice of which package to use for a given task is challenging. While summary descriptions, documentation, download counts and word-of-mouth may help direct selection, a standard assessment of package quality can greatly help identify the suitability of a package for a given (non-)commercial need. Providing the R Community of package users an easily recognized “badge” indicating the level of quality achievement will make it easier for users to know the quality of a package along several dimensions. In addition, providing R package authors and maintainers a checklist of “best practices” can help guide package development and evolution, as well as help package users as to what to look for in a package.

The R Consortium Infrastructure Steering Committee (ISC) is exploring the benefits of recommending that R package authors, contributors, and maintainers adopt the Linux Foundation (LF) Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) Best Practices Badge. This badge provides a means for Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects to highlight to what extent package authors follow best software practices, while enabling individuals and enterprises to assess quickly a package’s strengths and weaknesses across a range of dimensions. The CII Best Practices Badge Program is a voluntary, self-certification, at no cost. An easy to use web application guides users in the process.

More information on the CII Best Practices Badging Program is available: criteria, is available on GitHubProject statistics and criteria statistics. The projects page shows participating projects and supports queries (e.g., you can see projects that have a passing badge).

As a potential initiative for the R Community, we encourage community feedback on the CII for R packages. Also, consider going through the process for a package you authored or maintain. Your feedback will help us and the Linux Foundation evolve the CII to further benefit the needs of the R Community, and FLOSS projects in general. Please provide feedback using this survey.

On conduct and diversity in the R Community

By Announcement, Blog, Events, News, R Consortium Project

An explicit goal of the R Consortium is to help create a welcoming space for everyone, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, socio-economic status, nationality, citizenship, religion, sexual orientation, ability, or age. Diversity and inclusion are essential to foster true collaboration, move ideas forward, and create long-term sustainable community.

R Consortium recently sponsored R/Finance 2018, where it was found that there were insufficient diversity and inclusion practices, including the absence of a prominently displayed Code of Conduct. This illuminated shortcomings with our existing processes for sponsoring conferences. We are troubled and disappointed to have sponsored a conference that does not reflect our core beliefs in diversity and inclusion.

The Infrastructure Steering Committee (ISC) has approved the creation of a new working group to address diversity and inclusion issues in the R community. The R Community Diversity and Inclusion Working Group (RCDI-WG), which will include members from R Community groups that promote diversity, such as R-Ladies and FORWARDS, event organizers, and key industry members, will focus on three areas:

  • Work with conferences organizers to ensure diversity is addressed as a priority in both their program committees and speaker lineups.
  • Establish recommended Code of Conduct and Diversity Guidelines for R Community events, which will be adopted by the R Consortium and required for any event that the R Consortium participates in.
  • Have an ongoing conversation on opportunities to drive diversity and inclusion across the R Community.

This group is open to any member of the R community, and you can join by signing up for the mailing list. The group plans to have a kickoff meeting soon to work on the Code of Conduct and Diversity Guidelines, with the goal to have them established later in summer 2018. Look for updates on progress on the R Consortium blog.

Announcing the R Consortium ISC Funded Project grant recipients for Spring 2018

By Announcement, Blog, News

The R Consortium supports the R Community through investments in sustainable infrastructure, community programs and collaborative projects. Through the The Funded Project Program, now in it’s fourth year, the R Consortium has invested more that $650,000 USD in over 30 projects that impact the over 2 million R users worldwide.

We are pleased to announce the Spring 2018 grant recipients. We will provide updates on these projects throughout the year. Congratulations to all grant recipients, and look forward to our session at useR!2018 this July where many of our funded projects will showcase their work and tips for leveraging the grant program for driving open collaboration.

Maintaining DBI

Grantee: Kirill Müller

DBI, R’s database interface, is a set of methods declared in the DBI R package. Communication with the database is implemented by DBI backends, packages that import DBI and implement its methods. A common interface is helpful for both users and backend implementers.

The Maintaining DBI Project which follows up on two previous projects supported by the R Consortium will provide ongoing maintenance and support for DBI, the DBItest test suite, and the three backends to open-source databases (RSQLite, RMariaDB and RPostgres).

Ongoing infrastructural development for R on Windows and MacOS

Grantee: Jeroen Ooms

The majority of R users rely on precompiled installers and binary packages for Windows and MacOS that are made available through CRAN. This project seeks to improve and maintain tools for providing such binaries. On Windows we will upgrade the Rtools compiler toolchain, and provide up-to-date Windows builds for the many external C/C++ libraries used by CRAN packages. For MacOS we will expand the R-Hub homebrew-cran with formulas that are needed by CRAN packages but not available from upstream homebrew-core. Eventually, we want to lay the foundation for a reproducible build system that is low maintenance, automated as much as possible, and which could be used by CRAN and other R package repositories.

Developing Tools and Templates for Teaching Materials

Grantee: François Michonneau

The first-class implementation of literate programming in R is one of the reasons for its success. While the seamless integration of code and text made possible by Sweave , knitr, and R Markdown was designed for writing reproducible reports and documentation, it has also enabled the creation of teaching materials that combine text, code examples, exercises and solutions. However, while people creating lessons in R Markdown are familiar with R, they often do not have a background in education or UX design. Therefore, they must not only assemble curriculum, but also find a way to present the content effectively and accessibly to both learners and instructors. As the model of open source development is being adapted to the creation of open educational resources, the difficulty to share materials due to a lack of consistency in their construction hinders the collaborative development of these resources.

This project will develop an R package that will facilitate the development of consistent teaching resources. It will encourage the use of tools and lesson structure that support and improve learning. By providing the technical framework for developing quality teaching materials, we seek to encourage collaborative lesson development by letting authors focus on the content rather than the formatting, while providing a more consistent experience for the learners.

PSI application for collaboration to create online R package validation repository

Grantee: Lyn Taylor (on behalf of PSI AIMS SIG)

The documentation available for R packages currently widely varies. The Statisticians in the Pharmaceutical Industry (PSI) Application and Implementation of Methodologies in Statistics (AIMS) Special Interest Group (SIG) will collaborate with the R-Consortium and representatives from pharmaceutical companies on the setting up of an online repository /web portal, where validation which is of regulatory standard for R packages can be submitted and stored for free use. Companies (or individual R users) would still be liable to make their own assessment on whether the validation is suitable for their own use, however the online repository would serve as a portal for sharing existing regulatory standard validation documentation.

A unified platform for missing values methods and workflows

Grantees: Julie Josse and Nicholas Tierney

The objective is to create a reference platform on the theme of missing data management and to federate contributors. This platform will be the occasion to list the existing packages, the available literature as well as the tutorials that allow to analyze data with missing data. New work on the subject can be easily integrated and we will create examples of analysis workflows with missing data. Anyone who would like to contribute to this exciting project can contact us.

histoRicalg — Preserving and Transfering Algorithmic Knowledge

Grantee: John C Nash

Many of the algorithms making up the numerical building-blocks of R were developed several decades ago, particularly in Fortran. Some were translated into C for use by R. Only a modest proportion of R users today are fluent in these languages, and many original authors are no longer active. Yet some of these codes may have bugs or need adjustment for new system capabilities. The histoRicalg project aims to document and test such codes that are still  part of R, possibly creating all-R reference codes, hopefully by teaming older and younger workers so knowledge can be shared for the future. Our initial task is to establish a Working Group on Algorithms Used in R and add material to a website/wiki.

Interested workers are invited to contact John Nash.

Proposal to Create an R Consortium Working Group Focused on US Census Data

Grantee: Ari Lamstein

The Proposal to Create an R Consortium Working Group Focused on US Census Data aims to make life easier for R programmers who work with data from the US Census Bureau. It will create a working group where R users working with census data can cooperate under the guidance of the Census Bureau. Additionally, it will publish a guide to working with Census data in R that aims to help R programmers a) select packages that meet their needs and b) navigate the various data sets that the Census Bureau publishes.


What’s new with R Consortium funded projects in Q1 2018

By Blog, R Consortium Project

In an effort to provide greater transparency with respect to R Consortium activities, the ISC is initiating process to provide quarterly updates for all R Consortium funded projects. The following is our update for Q1 2018.

Quantities for R

The r-quantities project has reached the first milestone with the design and implementation of an initial working prototype, which can be downloaded and tested from GitHub. Further details about the integration process that was necessary for the units and errors packages, as well as the next steps, were published in r-spatial.

stars: Scalable, spatiotemporal tidy arrays for R

The last full update was in November 2017. Recent activity includes work on merging datasets. Check out the project progress on Github.

Interactive data manipulation in mapview

The project is waiting for Barret Schloerke and the RStudio team to complete updating the leaflet package to leafletjs 1.3.1 which will enable major updates to mapedit. Once this is done, the project will mapedit accordingly and added new features as a response to the leaflet update.

Refactoring and updating the SWIG R module

Planning documents are available on our website.

R User Group Support program

So far this year, the R User Group Support program has disbursed nearly $27,000 in grants to 60 user groups and 9 small conferences. The option to participate in the R Consortium’s PRO account has proved to be a very popular benefit. 40 groups have elected to participate so far. You can keep up with the activities of these groups on our Meetup page.

The RUGs program will run through September 30th. Look here for details on how to participate.

Establishing DBI

The “Establishing DBI” project is about to be completed. Schema support in DBI is perhaps the most exciting news. Almost all packages have been updated on CRAN, a few final technicalities need to be resolved. Expect a blog post soon on the new project page.

Joint profiling of native and R code

Unfortunately, pprof (and therefore also gprofiler) were not accepted by CRAN due to missing Go binaries on the build machines. Nevertheless, there has been some adoption by the community: for instance, one user was able to use joint profiling to understand a performance problem in the tidyselect package. Work on the project will resume soon. This will include adding support for OS X and adapting the packages so that they will be accepted by CRAN.

R Documentation Task Force

This project still needs help on implementing methods. To join send an email to Andrew dot Redd at hsc dot utah dot edu, expressing your interests, skills or expertise as it relates to R documentation. Also email if you have ideas or concerns but do not wish to play and active role.

Conference Management System for R Consortium Supported Conferences

The project has completed a thorough evaluation of different open source solutions for managing R conferences, and is now compiling a report to facilitate next steps.

Sat R Days

The second SatRday conference was recently held in Cape Town. New conferences are being scheduled.


R-Ladies expanded by 20 new groups (7 in the US, 4 in Latin America, 4 in Europe, 4 in Africa and 1 in Asia) in the first quarter of 2018, increasing to more than 90 R-Ladies chapters worldwide.