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Spectacularly Prescient – satRday South Africa Covered COVID Data Before Pandemic Hit

By Blog, Events

R Consortium’s R User Group and Small Conference Support Program (RUGS) provides grants to help R groups around the world organize, share information and support each other. The wealth of knowledge in the community and the drive to learn and improve is inspiring. With the wide disruption of events due to COVID-19 this year, we are interested in how groups are getting on despite the disruption in normal communication. The pandemic has focused our interest to look at how we communicate both at conferences as well as communicating with people outside of the main events while navigating the new challenges that the pandemic has created.

We talked with Andrew Collier, Data Scientist, Fathom Data, and satRday conference organizer, to find out how the R community in South Africa is faring. 

RC: How has COVID affected your ability to connect with members?

Well, we have run our conference for four years in succession. Actually, in 2020 we had the conference on the day that they announced the first official COVID case in South Africa. It was an in-person conference, but basically it was immediately before lockdown. That’s completely derailed our plans to do anything this year. I don’t really think I have the appetite for organizing an online conference. If I’m going to organize a conference I want to see people in the flesh.

That’s on the conference side, but as far as the meetups are concerned they are still soldiering on. Actually, I gave a talk for R-Ladies Cape Town towards the end of last year and they are still holding fairly regular meetings. It doesn’t seem to have a massive impact on them. If anything, I suspect that they are finding the logistics of organizing the meetings easier because they don’t have to organize a venue or eats or that kind of thing.

RC: How did the technology to connect change over the last year?

It varies. I know that we did the talks to R-Ladies Cape Town on Google Meet. But, I’ve also seen them using Zoom, and I’ve also seen them using Microsoft Teams as well. All kinds of platforms.

RC: Can you tell us about one recent presentation or speaker that was especially interesting and what was the topic and why was it so interesting? 

If I could pick out a talk I really enjoyed, and was spectacularly prescient at the time, it would be a talk at satRday last year where Robert Bennetto told us about COVID and what was going to happen before it happened!. So he had done a bunch of modeling, and everyone else was thinking “Hum, what’s the COVID thing all about,” and he stood up on stage and told us and within days what we had been told at the conference was our new reality. People didn’t see the relevance at the time, and they didn’t realize the enormity of what was about to happen.

RC: Do you know of any data journalism efforts by your members?  If not, are there particular data journalism projects that you’ve seen in the last year that you feel had a positive impact on society?

I’m not aware of anyone who has been to the conference who is a data journalist. I have a couple of contacts in Cape Town who are data journalists but they don’t use R as their main platform. The other thing that I have seen a lot of journalists do is that they go so far in R but then they take it across to another tool … to tweak the presentation. Like take it across into inkscape, and then actually build the visualization in inkscape, which to my mind kinda defeats the object of having a reproducible system if component of it has to be done by hand.

RC: When is your next event? Please give details!

We don’t have any immediate plans. I don’t think we are doing it this year. February, March, April worked out to be a good time relative to school terms and public holidays and things. It was a time where we could find a weekend when most people didn’t have any commitments. And the rest of the year that tended to be tricky. If it was to happen again it would be the same time next year.

RC: On social distancing on possible future events

I would prefer not to do that, but I think that realistically we would have to. Unfortunately it does make social interactions more difficult.

RC: Of the Active Working Groups, which is your favorite?  Why is it your favorite?

The R-Ladies group is my favorite, and I am a little bit awed by how successful that group is. I have tried to run meetups myself, and it’s hard work. And it’s not particularly rewarding because at least where I live people will sign up for a meeting, and say I’m coming and on paper you’ll have 50 people coming to your meeting, and you’ll arrive having catered and only a few people arrive. I’m not exaggerating, that’s a realistic scenario. So, that’s a little bit disheartening. But the R-Ladies are well attended so, I don’t know what the secret sauce is, but it does work.

How do I Join?

R Consortium’s R User Group and Small Conference Support Program (RUGS) provides grants to help R groups around the world organize, share information and support each other. We have given grants over the past 4 years, encompassing over 65,000 members in 35 countries. We would like to include you! Cash grants and accounts are awarded based on the intended use of the funds and the amount of money available to distribute. We are now accepting applications!

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Joins R Consortium

By Announcement, Blog

GSK providing COVID era leadership, helping adoption of R Language as standard tool for pharmaceutical industry

SAN FRANCISCO, May 4, 2021 – The R Consortium, a Linux Foundation project supporting the R Foundation and worldwide R community, today announced that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has joined as a Silver Member. GSK is a multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in London, England. GSK manufactures products for major disease areas such as asthma, cancer, infections, diabetes and mental health. 

“R is not just an alternative programming language.  Through Rmarkdown and Shiny it has the potential to fundamentally change the way we report and share information within the industry.  It will help us make better decisions, faster; to the benefit of patients everywhere.  We have been actively contributing to the R Consortium Working Groups for quite some time and joining the R Consortium recognises the important role that the R Consortium has to play in shaping the future of R within the pharmaceutical industry,” said Andy Nicholls, Senior Director, Head of Statistical Data Sciences at GSK. “Joining as a Silver member shows our commitment to build a strong R Language infrastructure.”

“We have worked directly with GSK through the R Consortium Working Groups, and having GSK join the R Consortium as a Silver member is an exciting step forward that will positively impact how the R Language advances in the pharmaceutical sector,” said Joseph Rickert, RStudio’s R Community Ambassador and R Consortium Board Chair. “GSK leadership will help data analysis and visualization in the medical field immensely.”

The R Consortium has multiple separate Working Groups focused on pharmaceutical issues: RTRS (Tables), R Submissions (IT), Validation, and more. Participation in R Consortium Working Groups in the pharmaceutical space by GSK will help continue to expand their reach. The Working Groups add value to member companies by initiating and cultivating industry-wide collaborative projects. This is critical in the pharmaceutical industry, providing a framework for competitors to come together and cooperate under an open governance framework to build infrastructure at low-cost. To find out how you can join an R Consortium Working Group, see 

About GSK

GSK is a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, live longer. For further information please visit

About The R Consortium 

The R Consortium is a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization and Linux Foundation project dedicated to the support and growth of the R user community. The R Consortium provides support to the R Foundation and to the greater R Community for projects that assist R package developers, provide documentation and training, facilitate the growth of the R Community and promote the use of the R language. For more information about R Consortium, please visit:

About Linux Foundation 

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation projects like Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js and more are considered critical to the development of the world’s most important infrastructure. Its development methodology leverages established best practices and addresses the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at

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Find out about the R Community in Zurich, Switzerland

By Blog, Events

R Consortium’s R User Group and Small Conference Support Program (RUGS) provides grants to help R groups around the world organize, share information and support each other. The wealth of knowledge in the community and the drive to learn and improve is inspiring. We had a chance to talk with Muriel Buri, Statistical Scientist and organizer of Zurich R User Meetup, to find out more about the R community in Zurich, how they’re holding up during the pandemic, trends in R, and what the future holds. 

If you are interested in applying to the RUGS program for your organization, see the How do I Join? section at the end of this article.

RC: What is the R Community like in Zurich?

We started with the RUG in 2015 and by now we have just 2000 members. However, looking at Switzerland, there are smaller communities based in Lucerne and Bern and there is one R-Ladies group in Lausanne, which’s the French part of Switzerland. They all are a bit smaller, however, it’s a nice exchange between the groups and as you might be aware, the Zurich team is very much involved in organizing the Global User R Conference.

Zooming back in on the R community in Zurich, it’s a very diverse community. As mentioned, the Zurich RUG was founded in December 2015 and has been growing substantially since. The frequently organized Meetup events regularly gather a crowd of over 100 people and foster a very lively and intensive exchange among the R community in the Zurich region. The diversity regarding the applications of R, as well as the different occupations of the useRs in the community, such as data journalism, academic research, different insurances, official statistics, foundations, etc. are unique and outstanding characteristics of the Zurich R community.

The diversity is also what I enjoy the most at all these meetings. Not just having an exchange between the group you usually interact with, but having a broader exchange with different people, professions, levels of useRs, application fields, etc. To summarize, the community is very inclusive, and there is no such thing like a stupid question.

RC: How has COVID affected your ability to connect with members?

The Zurich RUG has shifted its focus a bit as many of the RUG members are now actively involved in the virtual global useR! 2021 conference. This has already started when we originally applied for the (planned) in-person useR! 2021 which has by now became the global virtual useR! 2021 conference. Hence, for me, it is challenging to distinguish between how COVID has affected us and how our engagement in the organisation of the useR! 2021 has affected our local activities.

At the start of the pandemic, we did not organise anything. After two or three months into the ‘lockdown’ (which in Switzerland was quite soft in comparison to other countries), the small group of the RUG Zurich organizers met in a park for lunch. At that time, I do recall that we all were a bit Zoom-fatigued. We then waited for a while and organised our first virtual event in October 2020. It was nice and many people attended it. However, what we always enjoyed best was having the beer part afterwards. Having this all virtual just wasn’t the same. It is very difficult to get that socializing part going in a virtual space.

Luckily, the Swiss R community is still active thanks to the Lucerne useR! group (@lucerne_r) which have actually started during the pandemic. They nicely promote their online events on Twitter, and we’d always retweet these tweets for our own community. It is nice to see that the community isn’t asleep.

RC: Can virtual technologies be used to make us more inclusive?

I personally do believe that virtual technologies do have the power to make us more inclusive, yes. As an example, the useR! 2021 conference will be the first R conference that is global by design, both in audience and leadership. Leveraging a diversity of experiences and backgrounds helps us to make the conference accessible and inclusive in as many ways as possible and to grow the global community of R users giving new talents access to this amazing ecosystem. New technologies make the conference more accessible to minoritized individuals and we strive to leverage that potential. Additionally, we pay special attention to the needs of people with a disability to ensure that they can attend and contribute to the conference as conveniently as possible. 

That being said, we will surely do our best to use these innovations also later within our own Zurich based community.

RC: Can you tell us about one recent presentation or speaker that was especially interesting and what was the topic and why was it so interesting? 

There is no specific presentation that I would like to highlight. To me it seems our audience always appreciates events with learning tutorials very much.

For example, we once had a presentation on Docker for R users. Another time, we were able to encourage Martin Mächler to give a talk. That was also really great. His presentation was entitled “What I find important in R programming and recent cool features in R.”

The way we often organize our meetups is that we will have one specific topic and two speakers presenting. As mentioned, the R community in Zurich is very heterogeneous so that we would for example have a financial theme for one meetup and would then look for a bank to sponsor and/or host our event. Or we’d have an insurance related topic and try to organise this event at an insurance company.

RC: What trends do you see in R language affecting your organization over the next year?

In the age of this pandemic, virtual meetups have become an indispensable tool for the community. Based on this, I was wondering if the local R community groups will still be as important as they used to be. It seems to me that the community is moving closer globally and even more (virtual) exchange is happening. 

The question of predicting a specific trend in R language affecting our organization over the next year is challenging. From my personal perspective, as I now work in the pharma industry, I see a big trend moving away from SAS towards R. With this, the promotion of friendly end-user Shiny Apps to present and discuss data analyses to people who are less familiar with the concepts is a big trend too.

RC: Do you know of any data journalism efforts by your members? If not, are there particular data journalism projects that you’ve seen in the last year that you feel had a positive impact on society?

Yes, indeed, there are at least two members at Zurich RUG, Timo Grossenbacher (@grssnbchr) and Marie-José Kolly (@mjKolly). They have both presented their work at our meetups and the community has been very interested in their talks.

Marie-José writes data journalism articles for the Republik magazine in Zurich. One of her articles is about the protection of unborn life and the woman’s right to self-determination. The article allows for a visual journey through the weeks of pregnancy. The article is also nominated for the Swiss Press Award and can be accessed here (paywall, in German).

RC: Of the funded projects on R Consortium, what is your favorite project and why?

To be honest, I wasn’t aware that there are so many different funded projects on R Consortium. What a great effort!

The satRday conferences are events that I enjoy very much. The support of the R-Ladies groups is surely also a project that I personally like a lot.

RC: There are four projects that are R Consortium Top-Level Projects. If you could add another project to this list for guaranteed funding for 3 years and a voting seat on the ISC, which project would you add?

That is a challenging question. I worked myself in Uganda and taught statistics to veterinary medical doctors. R as an open-source program for statistical computing is fantastic as everyone with internet access can make use of it. I think I would personally promote more such projects to promote the growth of the global community of R users by advancing its accessible and inclusiveness. I’d initiate a project that promotes the global use of R. This vision is motivated by my experience of seeking sponsors for the global useR! 2021 conference. We did experience some challenges to gain access to all global communities, e.g. R is used in so many parts of the world but not everyone yet might be aware of the great resources, the worldwide community and the global exchange… Yes, I would suggest a project that pursues this vision.

How do I Join?

R Consortium’s R User Group and Small Conference Support Program (RUGS) provides grants to help R groups around the world organize, share information and support each other. We have given grants over the past 4 years, encompassing over 65,000 members in 35 countries. We would like to include you! Cash grants and accounts are awarded based on the intended use of the funds and the amount of money available to distribute. We are now accepting applications

March 2021 ISC Call for Proposals – Now Open!

By Announcement, Blog

The deadline for submitting proposals is April 19, 2021.

The March 2021 ISC Call for Proposals is now open. The R Consortium’s Infrastructure Steering Committee (ISC) solicits progressive, pioneering projects that will benefit and serve the R community and ecosystem at large. The ISC’s goal is to foster innovation and help bring your ideas into tangible realities. 

Please consider applying!

Although there is no set theme for this round of proposals, grant proposals should be focused in scope. If you are currently working on a larger project, consider breaking it into smaller, more manageable subprojects for a given proposal. The ISC encourages you to “Think Big” but create reasonable milestones. The ISC favors grant proposals with meaningful detailed milestones and justifiable grant requests, so please include measurable objectives attached to project milestones, a team roster, and a detailed projection of how grant money would be allocated. Teams with detailed plans and that can point to previous successful projects are most likely to be selected.

To submit a proposal for ISC funding, read the Call for Proposals page and submit a self-contained pdf using the online form.

Upcoming Event: The role of data journalism in the COVID-19 pandemic

By Blog, Events

Join us March 18, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. PDT. More information!

The role of data journalists in the scientific process has traditionally been overlooked. However, the most recent pandemic showed how journalism shapes scientific responses and public policy. Thousands of journalists rose to the challenge when the public needed information in order to respond to the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic. Journalists acquired COVID-19 data, visualized it and disseminated their work to help the world contain the virus and flatten the curve. 

In order to effectively respond to the pandemic, the world needs a coordinated response driven by accurate, complete data. The data must encompass local outbreaks and be released quickly so action can be taken. Journalists, with experience collecting local information and releasing articles in a timely manner, were well suited to help inform the public. However, by visualizing and analyzing COVID data, journalists became participants in the scientific process rather than simple conveyors of results. Their efforts help data scientists, inform decision-makers and shape a new role for data journalism in crisis situations. 

On March 18 the COVID-19 Data Forum, sponsored by the Stanford Data Science Initiative and R Consortium, will host a meeting to discuss how a new breed of data journalists collected quantitative data that helped fight the pandemic. The forum will also discuss how data scientists utilize their resources to create better models. 


The event is free and open to the public!

Join us March 18, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. PDT. More information!

Major Success! Highlights from the Brazilian Conference on Data Journalism and Digital Methods (

By Blog

On November 2 – 7, 2020, the 5th edition of the Brazilian Conference on Data Journalism and Digital Methods (CODA.Br) took place with 50 national and international guest speakers and 16 workshops. CODA.Br is the largest data journalism conference in Latin America and this year was completely virtual.

Open access to all debates, keynotes, lightning talks and presentations of the second edition of the Cláudio Weber Abramo Data Journalism Award is available on the website (in Portuguese):

Organized by Open Knowledge Brasil and Escola de Dados (School of Data Brazil), CODA.Br is backed by the support of multiple large scale associations including the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji), R Consortium, Hivos Institute, Embassy of the Netherlands and the United States Consulate. 

With more than 500 attendees, CODA.Br held cutting edge panel discussions covering topics such as avoiding bias in AI with open source tools, Health in journalism and Covid-19, and challenges in the Amazon. Workshops were also held covering a broad range of contemporary subjects like evaluating election data with R and analysis of socioeconomic data in QGIS were held totalling over 24 hours of programming.

Coda.Br made itself even more accessible to the public by offering 150 free passes to build a more diverse, impactful audience. The event attracted participants from 25 states and the federal district in all Brazlian regions. With an average of 73 attendees per workshop, more than half of participants surveyed considered the workshops to be “excellent”.

 We can’t wait to see what next year brings for CODA.Br!

Interview with Nontsikelelo Shongwe, Co-Organizer of the Eswatini UseR Meetup Group

By Blog

On February 7th, 2021, in the very first in the Why R? World Series, Kevin O’Brien of the Why R? Foundation spoke with Nontsikelelo Shongwe, an enthusiastic R user from Eswatini, and co-organizer of the Eswatini UseR meetup group. (Eswatini is located in southeastern Africa, surrounded by South Africa and Mozambique.) 

In this interview, Nontsikelelo introduces the landscape of R users in Eswatini and describes her boundary breaking experiences as a young R user. Many thanks to Why R? for giving Nontsikelelo the chance to share her inspiring story.

You can watch the full interview below.


0:00 Brief Introduction

1:07 Eswatini

2:20 Nontsikelelo Shongwe Background

3:00 Eswatini R User Group

4:30 Future R Goals

5:18 Eswaiti R User Group Members

5:50 What do Eswaitinians need R for? 

6:43 Favorite R packages?

7:55 Do you want to go abroad to represent Eswatini?

8:50 Other African R Groups

9:20 R Ladies Eswatini?

9:40 COVID-19 in Eswatini

10:20 Last Words

The Why R? Foundation exists to support local R communities around the world, and share ideas and projects virtually. 

More Info:

Twitter: @EswataniUseR

EswatiniUseR Group

Manzini, SZ
64 Members

This is a group for anyone interested in learning and sharing best practices in analyzing data in R

Check out this Meetup Group →

Decoding Case Data Through the COVID-19 Data Hub

By Blog

by Emanuele Guidotti & David Ardia, originally published in the Journal of Open Source Software

In December 2019 the first cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology were reported in Wuhan city, People’s Republic of China.[1] Since the outbreak of the disease, officially called COVID–19 by World Health Organization (WHO), a multitude of papers have appeared. By one estimate, the COVID-19 literature published in January-May 2019 has reached more than 23,000 papers — among the biggest explosions of scientific literature ever.[2]

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the White House and a coalition of leading research groups have prepared the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset[3], a resource of over 134,000 scholarly articles about COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and related coronaviruses. The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering, with technical support from ESRI and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, is maintaining an interactive web-based dashboard to track COVID-19 in real time[4]. All data collected and displayed are made freely available through a GitHub repository. [5] A team of over one hundred Oxford University students and staff from every part of the world is collecting information on several different common policy responses governments have taken. The data are aggregated in The Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker[6]. Google and Apple released mobility reports [7] [8] to help public health officials. Governments all over the world are releasing COVID-19 data to track the outbreak as it unfolds.

It becomes critical to harmonize the amount of heterogeneous data that have become available to help researchers and policy makers in containing the epidemic. To this end, we developed the COVID-19 Data Hub, designed to aggregate the data from several sources and allow contributors to collaborate on the implementation of additional data providers.[9] The goal of our project is to provide the research community with a unified data hub by collecting worldwide fine-grained case data, merged with exogenous variables helpful for a better understanding of COVID-19.

The data are hourly crunched by a dedicated server and harmonized in CSV format on a cloud storage, in order to be easily accessible from R, Python, MATLAB, Excel, and any other software. The data are available at different levels of granularity: 1) administrative area of top-level, usually countries; 2) states, regions, cantons; 3) cities, municipalities.

The first prototype of the platform was developed in spring 2020, initially as part of a research project that was later published in Springer Nature and showcased on the website of the Joint Research Center of the European Commission. The project was then started at the #CodeVSCovid19 hackathon in March, funded by the Canadian Institute for Data Valorization IVADO in April, won the CovidR contest in May, presented at the European R Users Meeting eRum2020 in June, and published in the Journal of Open Source Software in July. At the time of writing, we count 3.43 million downloads and more than 100 members in the community around the project.

COVID-19 Data Hub has recently received support by the R Consortium[10], the worlwide organization that promotes key organizations and groups developing, maintaining, distributing and using R software as a leading platform for data science and statistical computing.[11]

We are now in the process of establishing close cooperation with professors from the Department of Statistics and Biostatistics of the California State University, in a joint effort to maintain the project.

Emanuele Guidotti & David Ardia


Guidotti, E., Ardia, D., (2020), “COVID-19 Data Hub”, Journal of Open Source Software 5(51):2376, doi: 10.21105/joss.02376.

[1] World Health Organization, Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) SITUATION REPORT 1 – 21 JANUARY 2020


[3] Wang, Lucy Lu, Kyle Lo, Yoganand Chandrasekhar, Russell Reas, Jiangjiang Yang, Darrin Eide, Kathryn Funk, et al. 2020. “CORD-19: The Covid-19 Open Research Dataset.” arXiv Preprint arXiv:2004.10706.

[4] Dong, Ensheng, Hongru Du, and Lauren Gardner. 2020. “An Interactive Web-Based Dashboard to Track Covid-19 in Real Time.” The Lancet Infectious Diseases 20 (5): 533–34.


[6] Hale, Thomas, Samuel Webster, Anna Petherick, Toby Phillips, and Beatriz Kira. 2020. “Oxford Covid-19 Government Response Tracker.” Blavatnik School of Government.






The 2021 RUGS Program is Live!

By Announcement, Blog
source: R User Groups on – 35 countries • 85 groups • 65,200+ members

The R Consortium is excited to announce the 2021 R User Group and Small Conference Support Program (RUGS). We give grants to help R groups around the world organize, share information and support each other.  We are now accepting applications!

Find out details and apply now: R User Groups Support Program (RUGS)

Because of the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic on face-to-face meetings, the RUGS program has accordingly shifted its application criteria. The changes are intended to continue to support the energy and creativity of R groups around the globe but focus on virtual and remote solutions.

Changes to the 2021 RUGS program are as follows: 

  • Free access to R Consortium Meetup Pro account
    • Manage and build events/meetings 
    • Analytics on events and networks 
    • Organize communications with your team
  • Tiers of grants no longer specified. Draft a proposal including your requested grant amount and purpose

The RUGS 2021 User Group Grants program will award grants in two parts. First, R user groups not affiliated with the RUGS Pro will be enrolled with dues covered by the R Consortium for twelve months. Groups will be eligible for a cash award of up to $500. 

The RUGS Small Conference Support program will award grants of up to $1,000 to conferences arranged by non-profit or volunteer organizations. 

In order to participate in the R Consortium RUGS program (generally smaller organizations), user groups must meet the following criteria:

  • Have R as a primary focus 
  • Adhere to R Consortium Code of Conduct 
  • Use RUGS Pro program to announce and track meetings
  • One blog post per year 
  • Completed W9 Form (US applicants) or Wire Transfer form (non-US)

To participate in the small conference support program (generally slightly larger organizations), conference organizers must agree to the following criteria: 

  • Have R as a primary focus
  • Adhere to R Consortium Code of Conduct
  • Publish a code of conduct on conference website, including violation or help report option
  • Acknowledge R Consortium as a sponsor, showcasing R Consortium logo on event site
  • Post event blog post with summary of key metrics for possible publication on R Consortium blog.
  • Offer R Consortium same benefits that other sponsors at the same level of support are offered.

For more information and/or to apply, please visit the R User Groups Support Program (RUGS) page on our website.

There’s still time! The 2021 RUGS program began accepting applications on January 28, 2021, and will continue to take applications through September 30, 2021. 

Use Your R Skills to Fight COVID-19 – COVID-19 Challenge Funded by R Consortium – Open Now!

By Blog

Citizen science is a critical engine for creating professional tools that become new standards in epidemic outbreak response. The problem is connecting people on the front lines – “COVID-19 response agents” – and people with R language skills.

You personally can get involved!

Get started now:

About the COVID-19 Challenge

The R Consortium awarded RECON a grant for $23,300 in the summer of 2019 to develop the RECON COVID-19 challenge, a project aiming to centralise, organise and manage needs for analytics resources in R to support the response to COVID-19 worldwide.

The COVID-19 challenge is an online platform whose goal is to connect members of the R community, R package developers and field agents working on the response to COVID-19 who use R to help them fill-in their R related needs. 

Field agents include epidemiologists, statisticians, mathematical modellers and more.

The platform provides a single place for field agents to give feedback in real time on their analytical needs such as requesting specific analysis templates, new functions, new method implementation, etc. These requests are then compiled and organized by order of priority for package developers and members of the R community to browse and help contribute to.

One example is scoringutils. The scoringutils package is currently used by research teams in the UK and US. It is also set to be deployed on a larger scale as part of the evaluation for the US Forecast Hub which is the data source for the official CDC COVID-19 Forecasting page.

Other examples include the suite of RECON packages, nCov2019 and COVID-19 data hub.

There are many ways to get involved:

  • A modification of an existing function
  • Suggestions for a new package
  • Request for a new function/functionality in an existing package
  • A new Rmarkdown analysis template
  • An ad hoc function, not necessarily inside an existing package
  • Training resources (practicals, lectures, videos, …)
  • Code reviews for existing code
  • Testing existing features

Don’t wait! Get started today!

Still not sure where to start? Contact project manager Matthieu Rolland to start the discussion: