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Apply Now! R Consortium Infrastructure Steering Committee (ISC) Grant Program Open for Proposals!

By Announcement, Blog

Help build R infrastructure! We’re opening the call for proposals for the 2024 Infrastructure Steering Committee (ISC) Grant Program. The R Consortium is dedicated to enriching the R Ecosystem, directly supporting projects that strengthen both its technical and social infrastructures.

Apply here!

What We Fund:

Our grants target projects that make a difference in the R community, focusing on:

Technical Infrastructure: Enhancements in key R packages, development tools like R-hub, and improvements for R on various operating systems.

Social Infrastructure: Projects like SatRDays that promote local engagement and initiatives for better tracking of R Consortium activities.

We’re eager to see your innovative ideas and how they can propel the R ecosystem forward. This is a call to action for all who wish to contribute to the growth and enhancement of R. Let’s build a stronger R community together!

Submit your proposal now and be a part of shaping the future of the R Ecosystem. Learn more about how to apply here.

We look forward to your submissions and furthering the R community’s advancement together!

Apply now!

The R Consortium 2023: A Year of Growth and Innovation

By Announcement, Blog

Excerpted from the Annual Report

Access the annual report here!

Letter from the Chair — Mehar Pratap Singh, Chairman

Welcome to the 2023 Annual Report of the R Consortium. This document reflects a year of significant growth, innovation, and community engagement within and beyond the R ecosystem. As we present the accomplishments and milestones of the past year, we also set our sights forward, laying out the path for an even more collaborative and impactful future.  

The R Consortium serves as a central hub for the R community, bringing together industry leaders, academic institutions, and individual contributors to foster the development and proliferation of the R language. Our mission is to support the R community through funding, infrastructure improvement, community initiatives, and global outreach.  

In 2023, the R Consortium played a pivotal role in shaping the development of the R ecosystem. Through monetary grants, nearly $200,000 dollars to develop R packages and other technical infrastructure, through fostering industry wide collaborative working groups, and by supporting R-Ladies, R user groups, and several important industry conferences, including Latin-R, New York R, and Bioconductor conferences. This report highlights some of these achievements, showcasing the collective effort of our members and the broader community.  

Recognizing the dynamic nature of data science technologies and the evolving needs of industry, we also recognize the responsibility of the R Consortium to help set a vision for the evolution of the R ecosystem. As you read through this report, we hope you’ll appreciate the strides we’ve made together and feel inspired by the potential of what we can achieve in the future. The R Consortium is more than just an organization: it’s a vibrant community of innovators, problem-solvers, and thought leaders. Together, we are shaping a future where the power of R is accessible to all and continues to drive progress across industries worldwide.   

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to the R Consortium and the wider R community. 

Access the annual report here!

Moffitt Cancer Center Bio-Data Club’s New Chapter in Spatial Data Analysis and Enhanced Hackathon Collaboration

By Blog

The R Consortium recently reconnected with Paul Stewart, founder of Moffitt Cancer Center Bio-Data Club in Tampa, Florida. Since the last update on January 6th, 2023, the Moffitt Cancer Center Bio-Data Club has hosted special guest Dr. Josh Starmer of StatQuest, and it has welcomed new co-organizers Rodrigo Carvajal, Nathan Van Bibber and Dr. Alex Soupir. The club has maintained its momentum with monthly meetings that have featured enriching discussions, educational talks, and practical tutorials.

One big change they have made this year is revamping their annual hackathon to broaden its scope and encourage greater participation from external academic institutions and industry partners. This expansion aims to enrich the event with diverse perspectives and innovative ideas, marking a significant step forward for the club and its contributions to bioinformatics and cancer research.

What is new with Moffitt Cancer Center Bio-Data Club since last we spoke on Jan 6th, 2023?

Something new is that we hosted sessions on spatial data analysis. Our work at Moffitt often involves big molecular data, delving into patients’ tumor samples or blood to uncover insights about genes, proteins, and metabolites. This exploration aims to unravel the intricacies of cancer, paving the way for new treatments or early detection methods. Traditionally, we analyze patient tumors in bulk, meaning the entire sample is processed at once, and molecules of interest are extracted and profiled. However, the resulting data are just numbers in a matrix, and we lack the ability to define what part of the tumor the numbers are coming from. New spatial technologies have recently revolutionized our understanding of cancer and other diseases. We can now spatially resolve where genes, proteins, and metabolites come from in the tumor and neighboring cells. This advancement adds a crucial spatial dimension to our research, necessitating novel methods for data processing, quality control, and interpretation. Not to mention, these approaches generate some cool pictures. For example, here is an image from a spatial assay run at Moffitt for a project that I lead (funded by the Cancer Research Institute):

I also want to touch on our hackathon. We’ve decided to broaden its scope this year, extending an open invitation to foster greater participation. Previously, attendance was mainly limited to the Bio-Data Club Meetup and our immediate connections at Moffitt. This year, we’re reaching out more actively to other academic institutions like the University of South Florida and industry partners. We are hoping to increase participation beyond last year’s 50 participants, and we are hoping to enrich the event with diverse perspectives and innovative ideas.

Please share about your background and your involvement in the R Community. What is your level of experience with the R language?

I helped initiate the Bio-Data Club at Moffitt back in 2018. It began as an internal group but soon gained interest from beyond Moffitt, leading us to secure funding from the R Consortium. Since then, I’ve been dedicated to leading the club. In addition to this, I mentor trainees at Moffitt, including Moffitt research staff and students from the University of South Florida.

I’m actively engaged in the local data science community; I’ve delivered lectures at the Tampa Bay R Users Group, the Tampa Bay Data Science Meetup, and, notably, at the 2023 D4CON Data Science Conference in Tampa, organized by Lander Analytics. (Editor’s note: Lander Analytics is an R Consortium member.) While my talks aren’t exclusively about the R programming language, they are intended to cater to the Tampa data science community.

My experience with R spans over a decade. As a Moffitt Cancer Center faculty member, I extensively leverage R in my research. I’d classify my proficiency as advanced, though I wouldn’t label myself an expert because I still learn new things about this great language daily.

Why do industry professionals come to your user group? What is the benefit of attending?

Being a part of Moffitt, located on the University of South Florida campus, our focus naturally gravitates toward biomedical academic research, and showcasing how data science operates within an academic research setting is beneficial. It offers a unique perspective and exposes attendees to cutting-edge techniques, like spatial omics analyses, which might not be part of the typical workload in a standard 9-to-5 job. However, our meetings must cater to a broad audience. Our meeting topics are applicable across many interests, one of which comes to mind was a presentation and demo by ComplexHeatmap author Dr. Zuguang Gu. We’re committed to broadening our discussions and introducing various topics and libraries relevant to R users and the broader data science community. My aim is to ensure that our meetings are inclusive, informative, and beneficial for everyone involved, irrespective of their field of work.

What trends do you currently see in R language and your industry? Any trends you see developing in the near future?

The realm of spatial omics and spatial data analysis, especially in the context of big biological data like genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, is rapidly evolving. It’s fascinating to see the development of numerous packages, including spatialGE and scSpatialSIM, which are pioneered right here at Moffitt. These tools are a game-changer because they allow individuals who aren’t necessarily experts in imaging or spatial data analysis to engage in and benefit from this research.

As a bioinformatics or biological data science researcher, my research focuses on mass spectrometry data, which involves comprehensive profiling of proteins, metabolites, and lipids in tumors or blood. This is a fairly specialized field, yet even here, there’s the Cardinal R package tailored for spatial analyses. This progress is exciting and indicative of a significant trend in our field. This trajectory is not just a fleeting moment but a substantial shift that will persist and evolve, shaping the future of bioinformatics.

Please share any additional details you would like included in the blog. 

If you have a neat package or tool you would like to showcase, and please feel free to reach out at paul.stewart@moffitt.org. This is a great way for trainees or junior data scientists to get a presentation on their CV.

Moffitt is consistently looking for talent on the academic research side and the operational side. For anyone who is interested, I’d recommend visiting the Moffitt website.

I’m also excited to share that I’ll be presenting again at this year’s D4 conference in Tampa, scheduled for June 5th and 6th and hosted by Lander Analytics. Additionally, I want to shout out to the Tampa Bay Data Science Meetup and the Tampa Bay Data Engineering Meetup.

Our annual hackathon is set for December 12th and 13th, 2024. Details about the hackathon are forthcoming, but for those eager to stay informed, the best approach is to join our Bio-Data Club Meetup. We consistently post all the relevant updates there, ensuring you’re well-informed and prepared for the event. Mark your calendars for December 12th and 13th – it’s shaping to be an enriching and exciting experience!

How do I Join?

R Consortium’s R User Group and Small Conference Support Program (RUGS) provides grants to help R groups organize, share information, and support each other worldwide. We have given grants over the past four years, encompassing over 68,000 members in 33 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.

Recap: R Validation Hub Community Meeting

By Blog

Join the R Validation Hub mailing list!

The recent R Validation Hub Community meeting brought together around 50 participants to explore the concept of “validation” within the R programming ecosystem. This session highlighted the diversity of validation perspectives, emphasizing the importance of tailored definitions across different roles, such as users, administrators, package developers, and regulatory agencies. Here are the key takeaways:

Key Insights:

  • Validation Perspectives: The meeting underscored the need for each organization to define “validation” in a way that suits its context, while the R Validation Hub offers a baseline for common understanding.
  • Statistical Methodology Challenges: Discussions acknowledged the challenges in achieving exact results across different programming languages due to inherent differences in statistical methodologies.
  • Open Source Contributions: The importance of returning testing code to package developers was highlighted, reinforcing the open-source ethos of collaboration and quality enhancement.
  • Resource Availability: The slides from the meeting are accessible on GitHub here. Although the meeting wasn’t recorded, the community is encouraged to join the R Validation Hub mailing list for future updates and meeting invites here.

Looking Forward:

The meeting reiterated the significance of the R Validation Hub as a central point for validation discussions and resources. Future community meetings are tentatively scheduled for May 21, August 20, and November 19, offering opportunities for further engagement and contribution to the evolving conversation around R validation.

Join the R Validation Hub mailing list!

Join our R/Medicine Webinar: Quarto for Reproducible Medical Manuscripts

By Blog, Events

Join the R Consortium for an enlightening webinar on March 20th, 2024, at 4:00 PM ET, featuring Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel, Professor of the Practice of Statistical Science at Duke University. Discover the innovative Quarto tool to streamline the creation of reproducible, publication-ready manuscripts.

Register here!

Key Highlights:

  • Quarto Manuscripts Introduction: Learn how to easily integrate reproducibility into your research with Quarto’s user-friendly features, creating comprehensive bundled outputs ready for journal submission.
  • Interactive Demo: Witness a live demonstration of Quarto in action, showcasing how to enhance your current manuscript preparation process and address common challenges.
  • Expert Guidance: Gain insights from Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel’s extensive experience in statistical science and reproducible research, offering valuable tips for improving your workflow.

Event Details:

When: March 20th, 2024, at 4:00 PM ET

Don’t miss this opportunity to refine your manuscript preparation process with the latest advancements in reproducibility technology.

Register now!

R-Ladies Cotonou – A Community that Makes R Accessible for French-Speaking African Women

By Blog

Nadejda Sero, the founder of the R Ladies Cotonou chapter, shared with the R Consortium her experiences learning R, the challenges of running an R community in a developing country, and her plans for 2024. She also emphasized the importance of considering the realities of the local R community when organizing an R User Group (RUG). 

Please share about your background and involvement with the RUGS group.

My name is Nadejda Sero, and I am a plant population and theoretical ecologist. I have a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and Natural Resources Management and a Master of Science in Biostatistics from the University of Abomey-Calavi (Benin, West Africa). I discovered R during my Master’s studies in 2015. From the first coding class, I found R exciting and fun. However, as assignments became more challenging, I grew somewhat frustrated due to my lack of prior experience with a programming language. 

So, I jumped on Twitter (current X). I tweeted, “The most exciting thing I ever did is learning how to code in R!” The tweet caught the attention of members of the R Ladies global team. They asked if I was interested in spreading #rstats love with the women’s community in Benin. I was thrilled by the opportunity and thus began my journey with R-Ladies Global.

The early days were challenging due to the novelty of the experience. I did not know much about community building and social events organization. I started learning about the R-Ladies community and available resources. The most significant work was adjusting the resources/tools used by other chapters to fit my realities in Benin. My country, a small French-speaking developing African country, had poor internet access and few organizations focused on gender minorities. (We are doing slightly better now.) On top of that, I often needed to translate some materials into French for the chapter. 

As I struggled to make headway, the R-Ladies team launched a mentoring program for organizers. I was fortunate enough to participate in the pilot mentorship. The program helped me understand how to identify, adjust, and use the most effective tools for R-Ladies Cotonou. I also gained confidence as an organizer and with community work. With my fantastic mentor’s help, I revived the local chapter of R-Ladies in Cotonou, Benin. I later joined her in the R-Ladies Global team to manage the mentoring program. You can read more about my mentoring experience on the R-Ladies Global blog.

Happy members of R-Ladies Cotonou sharing some pastries after the presentation. At our first official meetup, the attendees discovered and learned everything about R-Ladies Global and R-Ladies Cotonou.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the R-Ladies community these last six years. I also discovered other fantastic groups like AfricaR. I am particularly proud of the journey with R-Ladies Cotonou. I am also thankful to the people who support us and contribute to keeping R-Ladies Cotonou alive. 

Can you share what the R community is like in Benin? 

R has been commonly used in academia and more moderately in the professional world over the past 2-3 years. For example, I worked with people from different areas of science. I worked in a laboratory where people came to us needing data analysts or biostatisticians. We always used R for such tasks, and many registered in R training sessions. The participants of these sessions also came from the professional world and public health. I have been out of the country for a while now, but the R community is booming. More people are interested in learning and using R in different settings and fields. I recently heard that people are fascinated with R for machine learning and artificial intelligence. It is exciting to see that people are integrating R into various fields. There are also a few more training opportunities for R enthusiasts. 

Can you tell us about your plans for the R Ladies Cotonou for the new year?

More meetups from our Beninese community, other R-Ladies chapters, and allies. 

We are planning a series of meetups that feature students from the training “Science des Données au Féminin en Afrique,” a data science with R program for francophone women organized by the Benin chapter of OWSD (Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World). We have three initial speakers for the series: the student who won the excellence prize and the two grantees from R-Ladies Cotonou. The program is an online training requiring good internet, which is unfortunately expensive and unreliable. If you want good internet, you must pay the price. 

R-Ladies Cotonou supported two students (from Benin and Burkina Faso) by creating a small “internet access” grant using the R Consortium grant received in 2020. 

The meetup speaker is taking us through a review of the most practical methods of importing and exporting datasets in R. The attendees are listening and taking notes.

This next series of meetups will focus on R tutorials with a bonus. The speakers will additionally share their stories embracing R through the training. The first speaker, Jospine Doris Abadassi, will discuss dashboard creation with Shiny and its potential applications to public health. I hope more folks from the training join the series to share their favorite R tools. 

I believe these meetups will assist in expanding not only the R-Ladies but the entire R community. I particularly enjoy it when local people share what they have learned. It further motivates the participants to be bold with R. 

About “Science des Données au Féminin en Afrique“, it is the first time I know that a data science training is free for specifically African women from French-speaking areas. Initiated by Dr. Bernice Bancole and Prof. Thierry Warin, the program trains 100 African francophone women in data science using R, emphasizing projects focused on societal problem resolution. The training concluded its first batch and is now recruiting for the second round. So, the community has expanded, and a few more people are using R. I appreciate that the training focuses on helping people develop projects that address societal issues. I believe that it enriches the community.

As I said in my last interview with the R consortium, “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.” It is especially true in Benin, whose official language is French. English is at least a third language for the average multilingual Beninese. Many people are uncomfortable or restrained in using R since most R materials are in English. I hope this OWSD Benin training receives all the contributions to keep running long-term. You can reach the leading team at owsd.benin@gmail.com.

Our other plan is to collaborate with other R-Ladies chapters and RUGS who speak French. If you speak French and want to teach us something, please email cotonou@rladies.org.

 Otherwise, I will be working on welcoming and assisting new organizers for our chapter. So, for anyone interested, please email cotonou@rladies.org.

Are you guys currently hosting your events online or in-person? And what are your plans for hosting events in 2024?

We used to hold in-person events when we started. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and we had to decide whether to hold events online. Organizing online events became challenging due to Cotonou’s lack of reliable internet access or expensive packages. As a result, we only held one online event with poor attendance. We took a long break from our activities.

Going forward, our events will be hybrid, a mix of in-person and online events. In-person events will allow attendees to use the existing infrastructure of computers and internet access of our allies. It also offers an opportunity to interact with participants. Therefore, I am working with people in Cotonou to identify locations with consistent internet access where attendees can go to attend the meetups. Online events will be necessary to accommodate speakers from outside of the country. It will be open to attendees unable to make it in person.

Any techniques you recommend using for planning for or during the event? (Github, zoom, other) Can these techniques be used to make your group more inclusive to people that are unable to attend physical events in the future?  

The techniques and tools should depend on the realities of the community. What language is comfortable for attendees? What meeting modality, online or in person, works best for participants? 

As mentioned earlier, I was inexperienced, and organizing a chapter was daunting. My mentoring experience shifted my perspective. I realized that I needed to adjust many available resources/tools. Organizing meetups became easier as I integrated all these factors. 

For example, our chapter prioritizes other communication and advertisement tools like regular emails and WhatsApp. The group is mildly active on social media, where the R community is alive (X/Twitter, Mastodon). It is easier to have a WhatsApp group to share information due to its popularity within our community. We recently created an Instagram account and will get LinkedIn and Facebook pages (with more co-organizers). I would love a website to centralize everything related to R-Ladies Cotonou. Using emails is an adjustment to Meetup, which is unpopular in Benin. Getting sponsors or partners and providing a few small grants for good internet would help tremendously our future online events.

Adjusting helps us to reach people where they are. It is imperative to consider the community, its realities, and its needs. I often asked our meetup participants their expectations, “What do you anticipate from us?” “What would you like to see in the future?” Then, I take notes. Also, we have Google Forms to collect comments, suggestions, potential speakers, contributors, and preferred meeting times. It is crucial to encourage people to participate, especially gender minorities less accustomed to such gatherings.

I have also attempted to make the meetups more welcoming and friendly in recent years. I always had some food/snacks and drinks available (thanks to friends and allies). It helps make people feel at ease and focus better. I hope the tradition continues for in-person meetups. It is valuable to make the meetups welcoming and friendly. How people feel is essential. If they come and feel like it is a regular lecture or course, they may decide to skip it. But, if they come to the meetup and learn while having fun, or at the very least, enjoy it a little, it benefits everyone. 

These are some of the key aspects to consider when organizing a meetup. It is critical to consider the people since you are doing it for them. Also, make sure you have support and many co-organizers if possible.

All materials live on our GitHub page for people who can’t attend physical events. Another solution would be recording and uploading the session on the R-Ladies Global YouTube or our channel. 

What industry are you currently in? How do you use R in your work?

I am now a Ph.D. student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. 

R has no longer been my first programming language since I started graduate school. I still use R for data tidying data analysis but less extensively. I worked a lot with R as a master’s student and Biostatistician. It was constant learning and growth as a programmer. I had a lot of fun writing my first local package. However, I now work more with mathematical software like Maple and Mathematica. I wish R were as smooth and intuitive as this software for mathematical modeling. I like translating Maple code to R code, especially when I need to make visualizations. 

I am addicted to ggplot2 for graphs. I love learning new programming languages but am really attached to R (it’s a 9-year-old relationship now). I developed many skills while programming in R. R helped me become intuitive, a fast learner, and sharp with other programming languages. 

My most recent project that utilized R, from beginning to end, was a project in my current lab on the evolutionary strategies of plants in stochastic environments. We used R for demographic data tidying and wrangling. Data analysis was a mix of statistical and mathematical models. It was a good occasion to practice writing functions and use new packages. I enjoy writing functions for any task to automate repetitive tasks, which reduces the need for copying and pasting code. I also learned more subtleties in analyzing demographic data from my advisor and colleagues who have used R longer. 

How do I Join?

R Consortium’s R User Group and Small Conference Support Program (RUGS) provides grants to help R groups organize, share information, and support each other worldwide. We have given grants over the past four years, encompassing over 68,000 members in 33 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.

Unlocking the Power of R for Insurance and Actuarial Science: Webinar Series Recap

By Announcement, Blog

The R Consortium recently hosted a webinar series tailored specifically for insurance and actuarial science professionals. This series, called the R/Insurance webinar series, led by experts Georgios Bakoloukas and Benedikt Schamberger, was crafted to guide attendees from transitioning from Excel to R to implementing R in production environments, fostering a performance culture with R, and mastering high-performance programming techniques. 

Whether new to R or looking to deepen your expertise, these webinars offer valuable insights into leveraging R’s capabilities in your field. All sessions are now accessible on YouTube, providing a fantastic resource for ongoing learning and development. 


For further details and to watch the webinars, visit the R Consortium’s website.

Ann Arbor R User Group: Harnessing the Power of R and GitHub

By Blog

The R Consortium talked to Barry Decicco, founder, and organizer of the Ann Arbor R User Group, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Barry shared his experience working with R as a statistician and highlighted the current trends in the R language in his industry. He also emphasized the significance of organizing regular events and effective communication for managing an R User Group (RUG).

Please share about your background and involvement with the RUGS group.

Throughout my professional career, I have gained extensive experience in various industries as a statistician. Statisticians are often thought of as either staying in one industry for their entire career or frequently transitioning between them. I have followed the latter path, having held positions at Ford Motor Company, their spinoff Visteon, the University of Michigan School of Nursing, the University of Michigan Health System, Nissan Motor Company, Volkswagen Credit (as a contractor), Michigan State University, and currently Quality Insights.

I have been using the R programming language consistently for several years now. I have extensively worked with R during my tenure at Michigan State University as a member of the Center for Statistical Training and Research (CSTAT). CSTAT serves as the university’s statistical laboratory. Our team heavily relied on R as our preferred software for statistical analysis.

Our reporting process involved using R Markdown reports. Steven Pierce, the assistant director, developed a highly complex and upgradeable system using R Markdown to process data. This system allowed us to initiate a report and then trigger the R Markdown file to process the data and generate the final datasets for each report. Another R Markdown file was then called to render the report. This streamlined process enabled us to produce about 40 PDF reports within 45 minutes. The process remained relatively straightforward when we needed to make modifications, such as changing the reporting period from fiscal years to calendar years or adding or subtracting individuals, units, or departments.

I have recently started a new job primarily working with the SAS programming language. Initially, I will focus on gaining proficiency in this area. After that, I will transition to performing more in-depth analysis and ad hoc reporting, requiring me to use additional tools and resources. I have also moved to a new system where we use Hive or Hadoop through Databricks. As part of my role, I am responsible for taking over the current reporting system and identifying future reporting needs. This will require me to use R extensively.

Before the COVID pandemic, the R users group met in Ann Arbor. However, the pandemic dealt a major blow to the group, and we are still recovering from its impact. In our efforts to revive the group, we continued with the same theme as before: a mix of programming and statistics. However, we have been focusing more on programming and simpler analysis to make it easier to get the group restarted. We have also introduced some new presenters covering topics such as machine learning pipelines in their presentations.

Can you share what the R community is like in Ann Arbor?

R has become a popular programming language in academia and will likely remain relevant in this field. However, general coding and applications are more prevalent in the industrial sector. Python is gaining popularity because it attracts a broader range of programmers, including those who are not data or analytics specialists. Therefore, R will continue to be a significant but specialized tool.

Currently, I have noticed a significant decrease in the usage of SAS. This trend is driven by the dislike of license fees among individual and corporate users. The matter is further complicated by corporate accounting practices, where different funding sources may have varying spending restrictions. As a result, organizations may end up incurring higher salary expenses because of the complexity of corporate accounting processes.

If a company spends a fixed amount, say $10,000, on SAS licenses yearly, it might not like it. But then, it may hire additional staff to do the same work SAS did earlier. The salary of these people, and other associated costs, may come from a different funding source. As a result, the company may spend a significant amount of money, ranging from $120,000 to $150,000 annually, to replace a smaller amount of $10,000 to $20,000 annually. However, whether this arrangement is acceptable would depend on the funding source.

Do you have an upcoming meeting planned? What are your plans for the RUG for this year?

Our next presenter, Brittany Buggs, Staff Data Analyst at Rocket Mortgage, will demonstrate the usage of the GT package for generating tables. Additionally, we are striving to establish closer integration with the Ann Arbor chapter of the American Statistical Association to foster mutual support and collaboration between the groups. We have been conducting hybrid meetings catering to in-person and virtual attendees. Ann Arbor Spark, a local startup business development organization, has generously provided us with a physical meeting space. Our meetings follow a hybrid format, recognizing the convenience and accessibility it offers to many individuals.

This year, I aim to have more presenters as I have been doing all the presentations by myself. I plan to raise awareness about R, R Markdown, and Quarto and show people how these tools can be useful. I will promote these tools at the University of Michigan and other companies.

What trends do you currently see in the R language?

When it comes to data analysis, R has a clear advantage. The tidyverse syntax is easy to understand, even for those unfamiliar with data tables or Pandas-like programming paradigms.

When working with data tables, both base R and Pandas use programming languages that differ significantly from English, which can make understanding them difficult. On the other hand, R Markdown has a notable advantage in that it makes it easy and quick to generate HTML documents. For instance, my former supervisor at C-STAT spent much time creating visually appealing PDF documents because his reports were highly customized. However, if your main goal is to produce polished reports relatively quickly, R Markdown is the better option.

I understand that my main focus is the transition to Quarto. As someone who used to work with R Markdown, I have been learning more about Quarto and adjusting to its features. However, I am concerned about how new users may react to Quarto. I plan to give presentations throughout the year to gauge their responses and better understand any potential issues that may arise.

Moreover, I’ve noticed that many people are unaware of R Markdown’s capabilities. To address this, I conducted an introductory session on R Markdown for a group at the University of Michigan. During my thirty-minute presentation, the participants were surprised by the diverse functionalities of R Markdown, as they were used to working with JavaScript and basic R. Although I had inferior knowledge compared to some of the individuals in the group, my ability to perform certain tasks using R Markdown impressed them.

One of the benefits of R Markdown is its ability to run multiple languages, with each language being executed chunk by chunk. I hope Quarto will also support this feature.

In the past, I have presented on calling R from SAS and SAS from R. During these presentations, I demonstrated how to run a SAS job within an R chunk. However, this approach has a limitation. For it to work, SAS must be accessible from the computer running the R code. This means the SAS installation must be on the computer or a network drive that the computer recognizes as a local drive. On a certain occasion, while using Enterprise Guide on a Linux machine, I faced a problem. I couldn’t locate the executable file (EXE) for SAS from my computer, which obstructed me from executing a SAS job.

It is now possible for individuals to use R Markdown with their preferred programming languages. For instance, R Markdown can be used with Pandas for most cases, which can help individuals produce visually appealing reports quickly. With this approach, all the work can be done within Pandas, and users need only basic knowledge of R. Therefore, Quarto can be seen as a language for report writing only. I will keep an eye on this situation and evaluate its effectiveness.

I want to highlight the smooth combination of Git and GitHub with R. I use GitHub frequently in my work, though I am not very skilled because RStudio IDE fulfills most of my requirements. I rarely face conflicts due to my carelessness; I must interact with Git and GitHub manually.

I highly recommend the book “Happy Git with R” as an essential resource for beginners. This comprehensive guide provides a step-by-step approach to setting up and using Git and GitHub effectively in R.

When using Git in conjunction with R, you can access a detailed transaction history that can be reviewed anytime. I have found this feature incredibly useful and have been able to recover important work using this method. As a data management instructor at MSU, I have also taught my students how to execute this process manually. However, having R Studio automatically handle this task is much more convenient.

In fact, I used SPSS to conduct a project and leveraged GitHub as an experiment. I utilized the data management capabilities of RStudio and found the results satisfactory.

Any techniques you recommend using for planning for or during the event? (Github, zoom, other) Can these techniques be used to make your group more inclusive to people that are unable to attend physical events in the future?   

I suggest that RUG organizers should arrange regular monthly meetings. It would be advantageous to fix these meetings on the same day and time every month, as it will help attendees get accustomed to the routine and know when to expect them.

In my years of working with different groups, I have noticed that if we don’t consciously communicate regularly, our communication will become less effective over time. This can lead to a lack of new ideas and engagement, and we may unintentionally exclude potential participants.

For almost 20 years, I have been part of a group that communicated through a university mailing list. However, we faced difficulties as the list was not easily discoverable through search engines like Google. This made it challenging for new individuals to find or contact us. We have taken steps to tackle this problem by introducing Meetup as a new tool that can be used alongside or instead of our traditional mailing list. The main benefit of Meetup is that it is easily searchable on Google, which makes it simple for anyone to locate and get in touch with our group.

I want to emphasize the importance of effective communication. Neglecting communication efforts can cause a decline in communication quality. I have personally witnessed this happening in different groups, and I have seen others experiencing similar challenges.

How do I Join?

R Consortium’s R User Group and Small Conference Support Program (RUGS) provides grants to help R groups organize, share information, and support each other worldwide. 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.

Unraveling the term “Validation”: Join the Discussion at the R Validation Hub Community Meeting on February 20, 2024 

By Announcement, Blog

Dive into the world of validation at the first R Validation Hub community meeting of the year! What defines a validated R package? Is it ensuring reproducibility across systems? Prioritizing bug-free and well-maintained packages? We want to hear YOUR take!

Join the community call! (Microsoft Teams meeting) 

Meeting Details

  • When: February 20, 12:00 EST
  • Where: Virtual meeting

Why Attend?

This is your chance to share your perspective, learn from diverse viewpoints, and help shape the future of validation in the R ecosystem. Whether you’re a developer, user, or enthusiast, your insights are valuable.

Let’s Discuss

What does validation mean in the R world to you? Join us to debate, learn, and network. Mark your calendars and prepare to contribute to shaping the standards of R package validation.

Join the call here! 

R Consortium Infrastructure Steering Committee (ISC) Grant Program Accepting Proposals starting March 1st!

By Announcement, Blog

The R Consortium is excited to announce the opening of our call for proposals for the 2024 Infrastructure Steering Committee (ISC) Grant Program on March 1st, 2024. This initiative is a cornerstone of our commitment to bolstering and enhancing the R Ecosystem. We fund projects contributing to the R community’s technical and social infrastructures.

Submit your proposal here!

Enhancing the R Ecosystem: Technical and Social Infrastructures

Our past funding endeavors have spanned a variety of projects, illustrating our dedication to comprehensive ecosystem support:

  • Technical Infrastructure: Examples include R-hub, a centralized tool for R package checking, enhancements in popular packages like mapview and sf, and ongoing infrastructural development for R on Windows and macOS.
  • Social Infrastructure: Initiatives such as SatRDays, which facilitates local R conferences, and projects for data-driven tracking of R Consortium activities.

Focused Funding Areas

The ISC is particularly interested in projects that align with technical or software development that aids social infrastructure. It’s important to note that conferences, training sessions, and user groups are supported through the RUGS program, not the ISC grants.

Ideal ISC Projects

We look for proposals that:

  • Have a broad impact on the R community.
  • Possess a clear, focused scope. Larger projects should be broken down into manageable stages.
  • Represent low-to-medium risk and reward. High-risk, high-reward projects are generally not within our funding scope.

Projects unlikely to receive funding are those that:

  • Only impact a small segment of the R community.
  • Seek sponsorship for conferences, workshops, or meetups.
  • Are highly exploratory.

Important Dates

  • First Grant Cycle: Opens March 1, 2024, and closes April 1, 2024.
  • Second Grant Cycle: Opens September 1, 2024, and closes October 1, 2024.

You can learn more about submitting a proposal here. 

We eagerly await your proposals and are excited to see how your ideas will propel the R community forward. Let’s build R together!