rOpenSci | rOpenSci News Digest, October 2022

rOpenSci News Digest, October 2022

Dear rOpenSci friends, it’s time for our monthly news roundup!

You can read this post on our blog. Now let’s dive into the activity at and around rOpenSci!

🔗 rOpenSci HQ

🔗 rOpenSci Champions Program: call for Champions and call for Mentors

The rOpenSci Champions Program is part of a series of activities and projects we are carrying out to ensure our research software serves everyone in our communities. That is why this program focuses on people who belong to groups that are historically and systematically excluded from the open software and research software communities and who are interested in contributing to rOpenSci and the broader open source and research software communities.

🔗 Call for Champions

If you are selected as a Champion, over the course of a year you will develop a project, get training, and be mentored. You will also receive a small stipend.

You can apply until November 7, 2022 with this form. You can read more details in this blog post.

🔗 Call for Mentors

We are seeking mentors to support our inaugural cohort of rOpenSci Champions.

Mentors will play a vital role in the rOpenSci Champions Program by helping select the first cohort of Champions and advising and inspiring their mentees. Mentors will also connect their mentees to people, programs, and organizations; recommend, resources, readings, training, and experiences; and provide feedback on the mentee’s project.

Learn the details and express your interest by Monday November 7, 2022.

If you have any questions, please contact our Community Manager by email or book a 15 minutes meeting with her.

We will have a Community Call on October 24th to explain and explore the benefits of Champions Programs and a Coworking slot on November 1st to answer any questions you might have about mentoring in this program.

Earlier this year we announced R-universe search which lets you easily browse and discover R packages across the various R ecosystems. We have now upgraded the search system to support advanced search queries, to search for particular properties of an R package.

Advanced search lets you query packages that specifially match a particular author, maintainer, keyword, or topic. But you can also filter based on metadata derived by the build system, for example packages that contain a particular function or dataset, or packages with a particular contributor or dependency.

To give it a try, simply go to and click the advanced search icon:

screenshot of the advanced search box

🔗 Coworking sessions continue!

Join us for social coworking & office hours monthly on first Tuesdays! Hosted by Steffi LaZerte and various community hosts. Everyone welcome. No RSVP needed. Consult our Events page to find your local time and how to join.

🔗 We reboot our Community Calls !

and we do it with a meeting to talk about Mentoring & training program for Scientific Open Source Champions.

On this call Santosh Yadav and Emanuele Bartolesi will share their experience of being champions in their communities. We will highlight the benefits of being part of a champions program for you and for your community, and what kind of learning, activities, and opportunities an open source community champions program provides. Yani will present the details of our Champion Program and answer all your questions about it.

You can access all the meeting details. We look forward to seeing you!

🔗 Check out our Calls for new maintainers!

Some of our packages are looking for new maintainers or co-maintainers, read the blog post presenting them.

🔗 Software 📦

🔗 New versions

The following sixteen packages have had an update since the last newsletter: gert (v1.9.1), aorsf (v0.0.3), bibtex (v0.5.0), canaper (v1.0.0), cffr (v0.3.0), datefixR (v1.3.0), FedData (v3.0.0), geojsonio (v0.10.0), osfr (v0.2.9), pdftools (v3.2.1), qpdf (v1.3.0), RefManageR (new), rerddap (v1.0.0), targets (0.13.5), tidyhydat (0.5.7), and tidytags (v1.0.3).

🔗 Software Peer Review

There are twelve recently closed and active submissions and 3 submissions on hold. Issues are at different stages:

Find out more about Software Peer Review and how to get involved.

🔗 On the blog

🔗 Use cases

Two use cases of our packages and resources have been reported since we sent the last newsletter.

Explore other use cases and report your own!

🔗 Call for maintainers

Following our annual maintainer survey, we identified packages in need of a new maintainer or of co-maintainer. Read more about them, and why to maintain or co-maintain a package, in our dedicated blog post “Maintain or Co-Maintain an rOpenSci Package!”.

🔗 Package development corner

Some useful tips for R package developers. 👀

🔗 Are you ready to develop packages?

If the question applies to you as an R user, know that in Susan Johnston’s wise words, if you can open R, if you can install a package, if you can write functions or learn how to write functions, you can write an R package! If you’re still not sure please refer to the resources listed in our dev guide.

On the other hand, if this question applies to your machine, you might use the following functions to find out:

These functions can also be run at any point during your package development work, even once you’re used to such work, as they might help you understand why something “weird” is happening.

🔗 How to run code during package installation?

If for any reason you ever need to run code during the installation of your package, know that it is possible as noted by Gábor Csárdi on the RStudio community forum. The example given, from purrr, consists in adding a note before examples for older versions of R.

Now if your goal is to install an external software, as noted in the forum answer it might be better to provide a function for the users to install the software. Then you could also provide a sitrep function for checking the installation, like the sitrep functions mentioned in the previous tip!

🔗 Optional (Suggests) dependency that has been archived on CRAN

An interesting challenge reported on the rOpenSci forum: can a package on CRAN depend on a package that has been archived on CRAN? Jeffrey Hanson wrote, after successfully updating the prioritizr package on CRAN despite its (Suggests) depending on cplexAPI,

Just to follow up in case this helps anyone else, it would appear that it’s fine to have archived packages listed as Suggests for CRAN submission - as long as conditions for non-CRAN packages are met (e.g., listing URL for package install in the DESCRIPTION file).

Thanks to Lluís Revilla Sancho for his insights in that same thread.

🔗 Last words

Thanks for reading! If you want to get involved with rOpenSci, check out our Contributing Guide that can help direct you to the right place, whether you want to make code contributions, non-code contributions, or contribute in other ways like sharing use cases.

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