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Francophone SatRday Conference Coming Soon – Save the Date!

By Blog, Events

The next Francophone SatRday Conference will be Saturday, August 6, at 9 am UTC, and will cover Using R for Data Science and Epidemiology. Join experts Ehouman Evans, Marie Ruth DAGO (Intro to R), Aminata Ndiaye (R in Epidemiology), Bryan Tegomoh, and Khalid Lemzouji to better understand how to use applications using the R Language for data science, epidemiology, and more. The event will be held in French.

RSVP here!

What are SatRdays? 

SatRdays are R-focused conferences that are held on Saturdays. They happen all over the globe and are organized by local community leaders to help and grow the local community. There is a big emphasis on making these events accessible – by not requiring time off work, by not costing more than a day’s wages, by being supportive of new community members or leaders.

New R Community in Botswana Wants to Implement Data Into Local Businesses

By Blog

Many of the local businesses in Africa have no idea of what data can be used for or how it can be used to help their business. R Consortium talks to Edson Kambeu about the idea of partnering with local businesses to implement R and Data Science in their business. He also talks about the inroads that have to be made in teaching users and the outreach that will affect their organization in the coming year.

What is the R community like in Botswana?

EK: We are just starting to know each other. One of the main challenges we have is in getting people to become more active. We have a decent number of people signed up on our meetup group. Almost 200 people have signed up for our meetup group,  but if we have an event between 20 to 30 people tend to join up in our online events. Getting more participation from members is currently our main goal. We have had a few meetups where we collaborated with Bulawayo R Users and EswatiniUseR to improve participation. Thanks to the R Consortium, who have also been supporting us from the beginning. We hope to continue to grow. We still need the support of the R Consortium, especially in our current situation, where we are trying to grow the community.

How has COVID affected your ability to connect with members?

EK: Our meetup group just started in March 2020. Soon after COVID restrictions were introduced in Botswana. The restrictions prohibited in-person meetings.  This affected our ability to hold face-to-face meetings. We then decided to conduct online meetups and in March 2021 we had our first online meetup. Since then we have been holding online meetups.  Holding online meetups is always challenging as some members may not have access to the internet. However, they have allowed us to reach even people who are outside Botswana. 

In the past year, did you have to change your techniques to connect and collaborate with members?  For example, did you use GitHub, video conferencing, online discussion groups more?  Can these techniques be used to make your group more inclusive to people that are unable to attend physical events in the future?  

EK: COVID 19 restrictions forced us to meet online. We connect mainly during our online meetings which we conduct using Google meet and Zoom. The good thing about online meetings is that we are able to reach people from far places. We have sometimes had people from other countries attending our online meetups. Because of internet access challenges for some of our members, we cannot completely rely on these online platforms to connect. Once COVID 19 restrictions are eased we hope to go back to in-person meetings or probably a mixture of online and in-person meetings.  We have a Github page where we share materials used by our presenters. Those who would have missed our online meetings have the opportunity to access the materials on Github. We also have a WhatsApp group where we inform each other about R events. Sometimes some members ask questions and people are able to help on the WhatsApp group.

 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? 

EK: The most recent R presentation I liked was ‘Putting R in Production’ presented by Jacquiline Nollis of Saturn Cloud on the 23rd of February 2022. I liked the talk because it dispelled the notions that circulate amongst peers in data science that it is not possible to put R in production.  

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

EK: Right now, we do not have a high number of R users in my organization. Most are familiar with SPSS and have not used R before.  I am trying to introduce R to my close colleagues and hopefully, many of them will soon start to appreciate how good R is.

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?

EK: I am not aware of any data journalism by any of our members. However, I am aware of Code for Africa which is an organization that promotes the use of data in journalism in Africa. I got to know of Code for Africa through data journalist Catherine Gicheru when she presented a talk during UseR 2021 conference.  

Of the Funded Projects by the R Consortium,  do you have a favorite project?  Why is it your favorite?

EK: R ladies is my favorite. When I started the Botswana R User Group, I was inspired by  R Ladies groups such as R Ladies Jozi and R Ladies Nairobi. These groups are active and I follow what they are doing. It’s also good that they are encouraging the inclusion of women in tech fields.

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

EK: R business is my favorite active working group. It’s something that could be useful in Africa. A lot of companies here don’t know about data science, and this type of group can be very helpful for Africa. Something that can be very helpful in Africa is the addition of data science and machine learning in business processes and systems. It is something that businesses in Africa are lacking. 

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?

The current four projects are:

EK: Something to do with collaboration with industry and implementing R into the business sector. A lot of businesses don’t know what data science is, let alone what R is. They don’t even have efficient systems set up to collect data and analyze it. It’s important that we start initiatives that help businesses in this regard.

When is your next event? Please give details!

EK: We will be having an online meetup on the 18th of June 2022. We will be hosting the meetup with EswatiniUseR and BulawayoR. We have been trying to collaborate with other regional meetup groups. Our topic will be ‘Writing custom functions in R’. I am going to be the presenter during the meetup.


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 four years, encompassing over 65,000 members in 35 countries. We would like to include you! Cash grants and meetup.com accounts are awarded based on the intended use of the funds and the amount of money available to distribute. We are now accepting applications!

North East Data Scientists Group Works As a Professional Group

By Blog

R Consortium talks to Colin Gillespie (from Jumping Rivers) about how a relatively small area deals with increasing membership, what companies are doing to make their data science teams more efficient, and how we might want to look at how governments might view data science.

What is the R community like in Newcastle upon Tyne?

CG: Newcastle upon Tyne is the largest city in the northeast of England. We are a large area with a small population. Correspondingly, our community is rather small. However, we do have a lot of people who are using R. There are a number of world-leading universities in the region (Newcastle University and Durham University). We also have a number of government agencies that use R, such as the Department of Work and Pensions. On top of that, the National Innovation Centre for Data and Jumping Rivers are situated in Newcastle.

The user group started around 2016 with around eight people. About 2018 we rebranded as a Data Science User Group named North East Data Scientists and our attendance grew (almost overnight) to twenty people. We still talk about R applications, but we get a larger audience. Not all of our talks are about R, but a good portion of them are. In general, we have a data theme that covers R, Python, and Machine Learning. Newcastle is big enough to have one of everything (R, Machine Learning, and Python), but not big enough to have large single groups. 

We have over a thousand members right now. During COVID we had around 25-45 members attending. Over the last six months, we’ve gone back to in-person events at the amazing Catalyst building. We typically have around 40 attendees.

A typical meet-up would have two talks per night, one short and one long. We’ve also just started running short tutorials.

How has COVID affected your ability to connect with members?

CG: Once covid happened we had more people coming from around the world. We kept up talks at the same pace (one every two months). We also tended to keep the meetings short (1800 to 1930). One big benefit is that we have been able to grab people from around the world to give talks. However, we always try to aim the talks at our group specifically.

Now we’ve started in-person meet-ups, some things have changed (for the better)! We have a great new venue that is home to multiple data companies, including the National Innovation Centre, Jumping Rivers, and DSTL. This has increased attendance and made organizing the meet-up much easier (my office is two floors above the meet-up room).

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? 

CG: Dean Attali had a presentation where he took a shiny app that he made and went through how to make it better. He showed tricks and other ways to make them more efficient. This was an outstanding talk. We didn’t get a recording of it due to time constraints. 

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

CG: Companies in our area are expanding their data, and science teams. One of the things that they are wondering is how to better implement best practices and how to work in teams with data scientists. This is especially important when you work in small teams. This isn’t necessarily R, but data science in general.

Are there particular data journalism projects that you’ve seen in the last year that you feel had a positive impact on society?

CG: My favorite one was the Financial Times piece on COVID. It is excellent. It shows the numbers on COVID, density plots, and how well vaccines are affecting infections. It runs on R as well. One of the main authors did a talk at RStudio last year as well.

Of the Funded Projects by the R Consortium,  do you have a favorite project?  Why is it your favorite?

CG: HTTP testing in R. Maëlle Salmon, who is writing the book, is always excellent. I think that a lot of work is being taught by blog posts, which can be a bit dangerous. So a canonical source would be great.

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

CG: Keeping my eye on the R validation hub. Not sure how much progress they are making. Jumping Rivers (the company I work for), often has clients who are interested in the topic. So it’s nice if it’s solved based on community effort.

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?

CG: Something around the legal aspects of R. Perhaps working with governments and big companies to demystify R. Because of the potential legal ramifications (like can you sell R code?) having a central answer would be great.

When is your next event? Please give details!

CG: Our next meet-up is scheduled for July 14th. But we are also running an in-person conference this October 6-7: Shiny in Production! The conference is going to be an afternoon of workshops on the 6th, followed by a day of talks from experts across a range of industries on the 7th. We’re really looking forward to welcoming people to the Catalyst! 


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 four years, encompassing over 65,000 members in 35 countries. We would like to include you! Cash grants and meetup.com accounts are awarded based on the intended use of the funds and the amount of money available to distribute. We are now accepting applications!

A-State R User Group Hope to Make a Comeback with Physical Events This Summer

By Blog

R consortium talked to Emily Bellis and Asela Wijeratne, organizers of the A-State R User Group, about their campus R user group. They discussed the struggle of managing a new user group during the pandemic. They also stressed the need for a centralized R Certification program for R proficiency.

Emily Bellis is an Assistant Professor of bioinformatics at Arkansas State University. She works in Evolutionary Genomics, Spatial Ecology, and Machine Learning.

Asela Wijeratne is an Assistant Professor of bioinformatics at Arkansas State University. He is a Molecular Biologist in training and loves analyzing data. He also co-organized an R user group at the Ohio State University.


What is the R community like in Jonesboro?

Emily: I would say for now at least, it’s mostly centered on our campus community and many graduate students are active participants in our group. We have a few faculty members as well who take part and lead sessions. We also have some undergraduates who will attend here and there, but I think the core of it is a lot of our graduate students who are doing research projects and using R for their research. In the Meetup group, I see more people joining from the industry, but they are not very active in the group.

Asela: I would say it’s small compared to what I have seen in Ohio State. But I see a huge growth potential as well. A few people from our incubator programs who are running their own startups are also a part of our group. But it is a small number. Hopefully, we will engage more folks from the industry as well in the future. 

How has COVID affected your ability to connect with members?

Asela: As a new group, it was really challenging for us. We only had one physical meeting before COVID. I feel online meetings do not have the same impact as physical ones. It has been difficult, but we hope to get back as things are getting better.

A-State R User Group First Meetup: “Introduction to R and R Studio” by Jake Steele

In the past year, did you have to change your techniques to connect and collaborate with members? For example, did you use GitHub, videoconferencing, or online discussion groups more? Can these techniques be used to make your group more inclusive of people that cannot attend physical events in the future?  

Emily: Mostly, we have been using Zoom for our virtual meetings. And then, we also have a Slack group, but it’s not as active as I hope it would be. We also ask our presenters to post their code and slides on their GitHub and we link to that on our website. We don’t have a central repository for our group, but we encourage our speakers to post on their own GitHub.

Asela: I don’t really like the idea of hybrid events, as it’s difficult to communicate with two different audiences. But it seems like hybrid events are more common these days. Personally, I prefer physical or virtual events, as it is easier that way. But we will see how it goes.

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?

We actually really liked two of our recent presentations. One we really loved was Alix Matthews’ presentation about GGplot. It was really great, especially for our new users. And then we also liked Aaron Shew’s presentation as we learned a lot of new tips and tricks for working with spatial data.

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

Emily: I am really appreciating what’s going on with reproducibility reports like rmarkdown. I integrate those into my teaching as well. So for one of my courses, everyone has to write their paper or their project report with rmarkdown. I have taught this course twice. From the first time I taught, there is much more support for making tables and citing references, etc. So it’s been really fun to see all the developments. I am also really excited about interoperability. I prefer to use Python for a few things and then a few things I prefer to do in R. In rmarkdown I love how things are becoming so smooth and integrated with the ability to inter-operate. 

Asela: I think every field is becoming data-intensive now. Being able to analyze this data, in fact, is critical. Since I started using R 10 years ago, R has become really user-friendly. R Studio and all these other tools that Emily mentioned for reproducibility make it very convenient. It seems like even the syntax is getting easier. These are all positive developments, which make R more available to people with different backgrounds. R is really useful for data analysis as it allows one to analyze new data effectively and produce really nice visualizations. So I see a huge potential for growth as well. 

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?

Asela: We do not know of any data journalism efforts in our group. But I like data journalism in general. If you ask me about something that affected society, it is this article published in the Guardian “Our food system isn’t ready for the climate crisis”. It’s about how we haven’t kept up with diversity in terms of our food production. So by breeding these crops, we have created these monocultures and with climate change, we are going into this crisis in the future. It has really nice visualizations, and I loved it. I don’t entirely agree with what they are saying, but in terms of data journalism, they have done a remarkable job.

Of the Funded Projects by the R Consortium, do you have a favorite project? Why is it your favorite?

Asela: Database interoperability for spatial objects in R seems interesting.

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

Asela: I like the idea of R Certification. But it seems it is for clinical trials only. It would be really nice to have a unified certification for R proficiency in other disciplines. It would be very useful as right now there are so many certifications but there’s no certain way to tell who has the skills. 

When is your next event? Please give details!

We will definitely get back on track in the summer once the semester is over. We really want to get back to physical events and hopefully start some activities soon. 


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 four years, encompassing over 65,000 members in 35 countries. We would like to include you! Cash grants and meetup.com accounts are awarded based on the intended use of the funds and the amount of money available to distribute. We are now accepting applications!

R-Ladies Cotonou Talks About Running an R users Group in Benin, West Africa

By Blog

A lot of what we use in the day to day life in the developed world may not always be available to those in the developing world. R Consortium talks to Nadejda Sero about running an R-Ladies group in Benin, West Africa, that is both dominated by men as well as lacks basic infrastructure such as reliable internet to hold online meetings.

What is the R community like in Cotonou?

I’m not sure if I could call it an “official R community” like what exists in other cities and countries. I would rather say clusters of R users are spread in the country, mainly in the southern part, where prominent universities and institutions are found. Most users I know evolve in academia – students, faculty, and researchers. They are scattered into small groups and dominated mainly by men. In my country, minorities, especially women, are barely represented in STEM. So, R- Ladies is a great platform that helps us come together, network, discuss our gender issues and learn. We have been including small talks related to women in Science and the professional world. This is how R- Ladies Cotonou has been functioning. I have reached out to some of my colleagues about creating an R Users Group. As I am already involved with R-Ladies (organizer and member of the Global Team), I cannot lead another group. But I am available to help and share my experience with the R community. 

How has COVID affected your ability to connect with members?

Globally, COVID-19 has prevented us from having new meetings till we started adapting and exploring online options – an ongoing process here ☺. After a long break, we restarted our meetups with the help of the R-Ladies mentoring program. Then, Covid happened, and everything kind of shut down. I was fully aware of the issues we would run into. How to make it work? I observed how the other chapters adapted and discussed with other organizers in Slack. However, our realities were different. I initially felt pretty shy and guilty about suggesting online meetings to the frequent participants of our meetups. To investigate attendance at a probable online meetup, how comfortable it could be, and needs, I shared a google form before planning the first online event. As one may expect in this part of the world, the leading cause reported by interviewees was the terrible and expensive internet. I think it’s the type of internet that will teach you patience and how to be humble. Although R-Ladies has a Zoom account, the difficult access to good internet and, to some extent, “working” devices (computer, smartphones, etc.) have been significant limitations to the group expansion. The slight positive feedback encouraged me to push things forward. And the first online meetup of R-Ladies Cotonou happened in August 2021 with very few attendees. I made sure everyone knew that having slow internet, putting your camera off, and only communicating via chat was acceptable. Our local chapter is still figuring out things, but there is a trend favoring in-person meetings. 

In the past year, did you have to change your techniques to connect and collaborate with members?  For example, did you use GitHub, video conferencing, online discussion groups more?  Can these techniques be used to make your group more inclusive to people that are unable to attend physical events in the future?  

The main social media tools I have used to connect with people are email listserv, WhatsApp, and Twitter. Covid did not change that. Collaboration happens mostly via Google forms. Our group owns a GitHub page, and meetup account. We used the R-Ladies zoom account for our online meetup. As a strategy to promote these platforms, I presented all of them at our online event, how to access them, and contribute to the available resources. Besides, I kept using Inkscape and Canva to make flyers for advertisement. “Word of mouth” is one of the most used tools too. Experience showed that people communicate better via the WhatsApp group, which is open to anyone attending our meetups. I believe making the group more inclusive implies keeping promoting our social platforms and attendance at meetups despite the not-so-reliable internet.

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? 

I have moved to the US recently to start my Ph.D., so I haven’t been as active as I would want. I have been entirely disconnected from the R community events. My favorite was our last in-person meetings. We had a workshop about importing and exporting data in R by Ruth Ouangbey. These basic skills are often overlooked when teaching R. I appreciated that she presented base R and tidyverse options. It was a good update for me. On the other side, we also benefited from a lightning talk on the current state of women in STEM and available fellowships, funding, and opportunities by Sherifath Mama. Most of our attendees are women in academia. Note that the positive correlation between R users and Science in my country is quite strong ☺. I think it is always good to know where your peers stand. Moreover, we do not talk enough about job opportunities or scholarships for this underrepresented category, especially in the francophone zone. I once asked an interviewer of a prestigious fellowship for women from developing countries why we were missing on their map of fellows. He replied to me, “You do not apply”. I thought to myself, “We do not know it exists”. We are still at the point where we cannot stop talking about R-Ladies, R Consortium diversity efforts, and Funding for STEM.

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

I think about Tidyverse, data manipulation, improved data handling, and machine learning. Most of the people using R I knew were generally invested in base R. It is fine, but I believe the advancement of data science creates the need sometimes to use less traditional packages. Data science has become a dream job everywhere. I have noticed that many people are trying to dive deeper into data manipulation (everything you can do with data) and machine learning, especially with R. These trends will probably impact the group because most of our members are in academia. If they request workshops or talks on those topics, that’s what we will provide. 

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?

No, I am not aware of any. I have been disconnected from R news, so I probably missed all the good stuff. The only stories including data and R I meet are the “regular” scientific articles ☺ 

When is your next event? Please give details!

I am not 100% sure, but hopefully, between July and October 2022. We have yet to decide if it will be online or in person. Topics are still in the oven, and speakers are not selected either.

Of the Funded Projects by the R Consortium,  do you have a favorite project?  Why is it your favorite?

R- Ladies Global! It is a fantastic project because inclusion and diversity are essential wherever you are on this planet. I better understand the need for inclusion now that I am a representative element of diversity ☺. It is a great community where everyone learns a lot. Since joining the organization, I have grown and acquired various organizational and social skills. Also, I love people coming together and sharing programming in R and sometimes linking it to other languages. 

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

R Certification training prepares you with the adequate skills to teach and constitutes valid proof that you can lead/teach without an academic diploma in statistics, biostats, or similar. With that certification, you have evidence that you know what you are doing. 

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?

The current four projects are:

A project supporting R Communities in developing countries worldwide. The approaches and methods we use in developed countries are different from what is required in developing countries. Ways of running meetups, advertisement, funding, support, culture, and reception of ideas are many factors that create differences among groups worldwide. The contrasts and inequalities have become very clear and understandable to me during the past year. I often reflect on my personal experience. Running R-Ladies Cotonou has been all about an adaptation of what is available. I participated in the R-Ladies mentoring program, where I discovered that adaptation was crucial for “reviving my sleeping chapter”.  The tools and guides, once available, were mostly tailored for chapters in developed areas. But the structure for R-Ladies was very flexible and facilitated things for me.  

R Communities in emerging countries worldwide would benefit from a specific project that would provide a different framework. For instance, R-Ladies Cotonou took a whole year to receive the R Consortium grant. Such a project would support R Users willing to grow in Data Science or related fields. Another aspect of the project could target training R users (high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels). In some parts of the world, before expecting to find R users or a vivid R community, you first need to create favorable conditions for their birth – teach people what R is and its usefulness in professional, academic, and even artistic life.


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 four years, encompassing over 65,000 members in 35 countries. We would like to include you! Cash grants and meetup.com accounts are awarded based on the intended use of the funds and the amount of money available to distribute. We are now accepting applications!

Bakersfield Data Analytics and R Users Group: Collaboration and the Need to Reach Out to Students

By Blog

R Consortium talked to Zhenning (Jimmy) Xu of the Bakersfield Data Analytics and R Users Group about the challenges of engaging members of a small and budding R community. Zhenning emphasized the significance of collaborations and co-hosting events for smaller R communities. He also shared his vision of attracting more students to the R community through local events and competitions.

Zhenning (Jimmy) Xu

Zhenning received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Texas at El Paso, an MBA, and a Data Science Certificate from Johns Hopkins University. He is an Assistant Professor of marketing at the California State University, Bakersfield. His research interests include modeling and simulation, informatics, social network analysis, new product development, and marketing analytics.

What is the R community like in Bakersfield?

We just got started with the Bakersfield Data Analytics and R Users Group. When I was working in Maine, one of my friends started an R community. I was a founding member and helped him with booking locations for group meetups. When I moved to Bakersfield, I started this group here. But then we had the pandemic, so we had to move everything online. Since this is a smaller city, it is difficult to get students and professionals involved. We already have two co-organizers and we are all working hard to make this group a success. 

How has COVID affected your ability to connect with members?

I would say there are both pros and cons to the pandemic. Because of COVID, we have moved everything online, so we don’t need to worry about logistics like booking a room or arranging food for people who attend the events. The events have become zero cost and the only cost involved in running the group is the Meetup membership that we have to pay from our own pocket. I hope we will get some support from the R Consortium in the future. 

In the past year, did you have to change your techniques to connect and collaborate with members? For example, did you use GitHub, videoconferencing, online discussion groups more? Can these techniques be used to make your group more inclusive of people that cannot attend physical events in the future?  

I have been using different technologies to connect with the members of our group. Many users who attend our meetups do not have any background in R programming. I use R Studio Cloud, which is user-friendly and well-suited for beginners. GitHub, I feel, is for intermediate users who are familiar with the basics. I also use RPubs because it allows people to do free hosting and they can host a graph, a presentation, or a table. For video conferencing, we use Zoom and I plan to use Slack or Discord for online discussions in the future. 

Bakersfield Data Analytics and R Users Group Meetup: ”How I built the Tidy Tuesday API?”, December 2, 2021

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? 

We only had one external speaker. I give most of these talks myself. The problem is that we don’t have a lot of attendees at our meetups. Meetups for big cities like Boston have over 50 attendees. I attend their events myself. For most of our meetups, we get mostly 5, maybe up to 8 attendees. I think the last one which captured the interest of the audience was the Dashboard presentation I gave in 2021. It covered how to design a dashboard that could allow people to display information or graphs on one page. It was interesting for the attendees as they didn’t know they could use a programming language to do a very basic design. 

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

There are probably many things. I would say it would be how to engage more members of the community. Data Science is extremely popular in big cities like Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. But in smaller cities, it’s difficult to host events. So we plan on combining or co-hosting this meetup with different groups in different cities.

We are not too far from Fresno, for example. If we could get 2-3 cities to co-host a bigger event, it would be much more meaningful because we get to reach a much bigger audience. Otherwise, if we look at the number of members and the ones that actually take part, the numbers are low.

Collaborations are difficult, and I look forward to learning how to collaborate and co-host events. It would also be nice to host hybrid events because people really like them.

I am also really interested in involving the new generation of Data Analysts and Data Scientists. We have so many students taking Statistics or Data science classes, but some of them are not using R. I want to learn how we can convince students to probably make R their primary choice.

This past fall, I collaborated with a few friends to organize a hackathon. We found that many students are passionate about business analytics. However, they would need more opportunities to enhance their data storytelling skills. This spring, I worked as a judge for a local data visualization competition and our members had the option to use four different programming languages, including R. None of the teams used R, which was surprising because the host is a public university here in California. So maybe with R Consortium’s pending support, we can engage more students in the future.

Based on some online statistics, even though many of the students take statistical courses, over 95% of them never use R. Out of the 5% that use R, only 2-3% feel confident about using R. I really want to change that because companies are really passionate about hiring people who are proficient in R or Python. Once these students get a job, they will spend 3-6 months learning R. I have suggested we host regional events or competitions for students to be involved. 

Of the Funded Projects by the R Consortium, do you have a favorite project? Why is it your favorite?

Google Earth Engine with R is outstanding. I have been using R for two years but I have never heard about this website. So you need to promote it. Many people who use R don’t know about this website. The contents of this page are more for technical people and it would be nice to have content business people can understand. 

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

I liked the idea of R Certification. I also suggest having a working group for Students and R for marketing and supply chain professionals as well.

When is your next event? Please give details!

We do not have a definite plan at the moment. I am thinking of doing a dashboard design event in the coming weeks. I am also looking forward to collaborations with other meetup organizers because I think there are not enough collaborations and smaller cities can really benefit from collaborations. 


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 four years, encompassing over 65,000 members in 35 countries. We would like to include you! Cash grants and meetup.com accounts are awarded based on the intended use of the funds and the amount of money available to distribute. We are now accepting applications!

New Member Pfizer Joins R Consortium

By Announcement, Blog

SAN FRANCISCO, May 2, 2022 – The R Consortium, a Linux Foundation project supporting the R Foundation and worldwide R community, today announced that Pfizer has joined as a Silver Member.

“We have been using R for our work at Pfizer for over 10 years, but over the last few years we have seen an increased interest in using R and Shiny for internal decision making and regulatory interactions,” said Mike Smith, Statistical Group Lead and Head of the R Center of Excellence (CoE) at Pfizer. ”With the initiation of the R Center of Excellence, Pfizer is committing to engage with R users internally and externally, working to answer questions and solve problems using R and associated technologies in order to achieve breakthroughs in drug development and get medicines to patients more quickly and more efficiently. Joining the R Consortium as a Silver member formalises our commitment to the consortium’s efforts and working groups, engaging with others to help address some of the issues that are best solved through collaboration and partnership.”

“I am really excited to have Pfizer as a member of the R Consortium,” said Joseph Rickert, RStudio’s R Community Ambassador and R Consortium Board Chair. “Pfizer’s participation will increase the depth of our expertise in the pharmaceutical industry and enhance the R Consortium’s efforts to support industry-wide collaborative projects such as working towards FDA submissions done completely in R, and automating the process of generating the specialized statistical tables required for clinical trial reporting.”

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 Pfizer 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 https://www.r-consortium.org/projects/isc-working-groups

About Pfizer: Breakthroughs That Change Patients’ Lives

At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world’s premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 170 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. We routinely post information that may be important to investors on our website at www.Pfizer.com. In addition, to learn more, please visit us on www.Pfizer.com and follow us on Twitter at @Pfizer and @Pfizer NewsLinkedInYouTube and like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Pfizer.

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: http://www.r-consortium.org.

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 linuxfoundation.org

Announcing R/Medicine 2022!

By Blog, Events

Announcing R/Medicine 2022! The conference will be fully virtual from August 23 through 26 and feature two days of workshops (included with the low registration fee!) and two days of keynotes featuring JJ Allaire and Frank Harrell.


R / Medicine is the premier conference for the use of R in clinical practice and reflects the increasing importance of data science and machine learning to the everyday lives of physicians and other healthcare professionals.  Topics include working with clinical data, statistical modeling, forecasting, reproducible research, clinical reporting, R package development and more. Check out some highlights from previous conferences on our YouTube channel!


Early Bird Registration is now open so sign up for the conference now! We are accepting proposals for 30 minute talks, 30 minute panel discussions, and 10 minute lighting talks. 

Interested in sponsoring R/Medicine? Please take a look at our sponsorship brochure.

Free webinar: Statistical Model Diagnostics and Validation Techniques using R

By Events

Sat, April 30, 11am West Africa Time (WAT)

Organized by the OSUN R USERS GROUP, Nigeria, and coordinated by Timothy A. OGUNLEYE. Speaker Kevin O’Brien is an active contributor of the R Consortium’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) Working Group. The R-Community IDEA is a top level project of the R-Consortium with the goal of broadly considering how the R Consortium can best encourage and support diversity and inclusion across a variety of events and platforms. This includes Code of Conduct development, speaker support, and connecting with the global R-User community. If you’d like to learn more or get involved, please join our monthly public meeting.

Model validation is a vital part of the statistical modeling process, but is often overlooked in statistical courses. This process allows the analyst to properly validate the assumptions underlying the model, once applied to the data.

In this presentation, we will look at residual analysis and influence measures for linear models, with some associated topics. The talk is aimed at students and early career data professionals who have already encountered conventional regression analyses, and are familiar with the model fitting process in R (i.e. the ‘’lm()’’ function).

The talk will introduce a mixture of graphical procedures, statistical measures and hypothesis tests, which the attendees are invited to learn more about beyond the talk. The talk will feature the {CAR} R package, but all of the other functionality is available in Base R or Tidyverse.

Register here

R Users Group Seville, Spain Looks Forward to Interactive Hybrid Events in the Future

By Blog, Events

R Consortium recently talked to Francisco Rodriguez-Sanchez of Seville R User Group (also on Twitter) about the growth of the group over the years and the challenges of online events. Francisco discussed the diverse nature of the R community in Seville and the importance of physical events for the community. He also shared their struggle with finding speakers for their events and the tricks they have acquired from other groups to overcome this issue. 

Francisco is a Data Scientist, Computational Ecologist, and R programmer. He did his Ph.D. in biology from the University of Seville and is currently doing his research on forests and climate change. 

What is the R community like in Seville?

Seville is a medium-sized city with a population of about 1.5 million, including the outskirts. It is a pretty big city and there are many people using R. There is a delightful mix of people from universities, research institutes, and also people who use R for their work. Although there are not many big industries in Seville, there are many businesses doing analytics and machine learning stuff. Many of them use R. So we have a pleasant mix of academic and private businesspeople using R for many things. 

I guess there are probably over 10,000 people (maybe many more) using R in Seville. Of course, not all of them come to the user group. But in the group right now, there are over 600 people on Meetup, and we also have over 600 followers on Twitter. We created the group in 2014, but we were a tiny group. In 2017, we started using Meetup with 100 members and the group grew quickly. In meetings, we have normally between 20 to 40 people.

If we talk about Spain, Madrid and Barcelona are the biggest cities and have big and very active R communities. They also have R-Ladies groups and a lot of innovative stuff is happening over there. Most of the businesses are based in Barcelona or Madrid, although we have a few here in Seville as well. R is also being taught in universities, so people who attend universities get exposed to it. In the private sector, some people use R, but Python is also very strong.

How has COVID affected your ability to connect with members?

We stopped having our regular meetings because of COVID. The last meeting we had was in February 2020. We only had some activity on Twitter and hosted a couple of online events. When the situation looked better, we tried to plan meetings, but things started getting worse again. It was a complicated situation, and you couldn’t really plan to get people in a room to meet. 

Last year, in November, we planned another physical meeting. The Omicron wave came in January, so we had to switch to online again. We had a meeting at the end of January.

During the pandemic, R groups worldwide organized really amazing online events. Recordings of many great talks from different R users’ groups and R conferences are available online. So we didn’t feel the need to fill that niche and preferred to stay quiet.

As a group, we really preferred getting together in the same place. We not only had the talks, but we also used to hang out in a quiet bar afterward. Meeting and discussing different projects was really important for us. If we don’t have that, then the meetings are not very attractive for many people. During the online meeting in January, very few people attended and there were no questions. We uploaded the talk to our YouTube channel and many people watched the talk afterward. But the meeting itself was much less interactive, and it felt a bit isolating. 

We are looking forward to the pandemic getting settled so that we can start with physical meetings again.

In the past year, did you have to change your techniques to connect and collaborate with members? For example, did you use GitHub, videoconferencing, online discussion groups more? Can these techniques be used to make your group more inclusive of people that cannot attend physical events in the future?  

Before the pandemic, for years we already recorded our talks and uploaded them to our YouTube channel. So people who couldn’t come to the meetings could watch the talk and make comments. We also shared the slides on our website and our GitHub

To keep us all connected, we also created a telegram channel for anyone to join and ask questions. We hope it will keep growing, but so far it’s just starting. And, of course, we have the meetup group where we share announcements and some activities that may interest people, but it’s not a really active communication channel. 

So in terms of inclusivity, at the beginning of the term, we always send surveys to our members to decide what’s the best time and day to meet. Normally, it’s on Tuesday or Thursday in the evening. And for those people who can’t come, they can watch it online. And that’s what we have planned. Hopefully, we will keep it a mix of physical and online meetings for people who cannot come. But we are really looking forward to getting together. 

I feel that the best thing we can do for the R community in Seville is get together to know each other and share knowledge. And that’s something that is hard to achieve in online-only events, so we are looking forward to hybrid events. 

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? 

Last week was very interesting for me. It was about KoBotoolbox, which is an open-source software to design data collection forms. It allows you to design the form and send it to people, who can then fill it in from their phones or their computers. In the field or in humanitarian crises, it can make data collection very easy. And then it also allows you to access, visualize and share the data you have collected. I wasn’t familiar with this tool and it was an eye-opening talk for me. I feel it has immense potential and is very useful for people who need to collect data.

Before the pandemic also, we had really great talks. As an academic, I have learned a lot about big data and innovative machine learning stuff from people working in the private sector. 

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

I am not really an expert, but I think all the visualization stuff is very attractive to many people. And there is continuous progress in visualization in R, so I think that’s going to be a powerful characteristic of R. I also think that the rmarkdown ecosystem is powerful, and it fascinates many people. 

And then maybe a bit more niche. The spatial stuff in R is something I use a lot, and I feel there is a lot of interest in that. The capabilities to do geospatial stuff with R have kept growing over the last ten years and that’s amazing.

Another thing I have noticed in our group is that when people do advanced machine learning, they move to Python. I really hope that we can change the perception that it is not possible to do advanced machine learning in R. I think that R Studio and others have done some really great work in this direction and R can do advanced machine learning. I wish people doing deep learning and machine learning keep using R and keep teaching it to us in our meetings. That’s a thing I would like to see in the next year or a few years. 

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?

We don’t know any data journalists in our group, but we have marvelous examples of data journalism here in Spain. It’s really recent, there are many journalists doing impressive data work now and there is a lot of interest. Many universities are offering Masters in Data Journalism.

With COVID, there has been amazing work by many newspapers and journalists. I have seen amazing reports regarding COVID, visualizing it, and explaining it to the public. A project that I like is DataDista. They have developed a few projects investigating topics like the problem of water management in Spain, which is a huge issue in the South of Spain. They are investigating the problem of illegal extraction of underground water and have published an impressive report on the work. And as far as I know, they use R for their research and visualization. There is a lot of data collected on COVID. They collect all the data from official reports and publish it in a public GitHub repo every day. They have also worked on the problem of macro-farms. These vast farms with thousands of animals pose serious environmental problems. So they are an amazing example of data journalism. There are many examples in Spain, and it’s a thriving community.

Of the Funded Projects by the R Consortium, do you have a favorite project? Why is it your favorite?

R Consortium has funded a few projects related to spatial capabilities in R, like SF or STARS, and also the R interface to Google Earth Engine. So I believe that support from the R-Consortium has been critical to making R a powerful ecosystem for spatial analysis. There has been enormous progress and it has attracted many people to the R ecosystem. 

And then one project that I really like is the R Ladies. I think it is amazing, and it is something very characteristic of the R community. It has been amazing and there has been a lot of activity with R Ladies’ groups around the globe. So I guess the R Consortium’s support has also been important there to grow this momentum. 

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

From what I have seen from the outside, I have enjoyed R/Medicine activities and also R in Pharma. Both have organized really interesting meetings, with lots of exciting talks and workshops. Even though I haven’t attended their events, I keep an eye on them and I am amazed by what they have done. 

When is your next event? Please give details!

We are planning a physical meeting around May. If we still cannot meet in a room, then we will probably have something online. 

We do struggle to find speakers for our events. We know that there are thousands of people using R every day, but it’s very difficult to get them to come to our meetings and speak. Many of them feel they don’t know enough. We try to encourage people to speak, regardless of the level. We don’t need to have only advanced topics, we can also have really basic topics. 

Running this group is a pleasure and the only struggle has been finding volunteers to give talks. I would love to know tricks to fix this. From other R groups, we have learned that you need to approach speakers individually, instead of a general call for speakers. You need to know your community, the people, and what they are doing. Then you need to approach them individually and invite them personally to come. 

Luckily we have a couple of people that agreed to give a talk in the future. So we will probably have something this spring about crime investigation and mapping with R. We have an expert on that here in Seville and he agreed to talk. We would like to have one talk every two months if possible or at least once per quarter. We used to have one per month but we struggle to have speakers so we space them a bit more.

To apply for funding for your own R User Group, conference or training, please see: https://www.r-consortium.org/projects/r-user-group-support-program