Unconf 2017: The Roads Not Taken

Since June, we have been highlighting the many projects that emerged from this year's rOpenSci Unconf. These projects start many weeks before unconf participants gather in-person. Each year, we ask participants to propose and discuss project ideas ahead of time in a GitHub repo. This serves to get creative juices flowing as well as help people get to know each other a bit through discussion.

This year wasn't just our biggest unconf ever, it was the biggest in terms of proposed ideas! We had more proposals than participants, so we had a great pool to draw from when we got down to work in L.A. Yet many good ideas were left on the cutting room floor. Here we highlight some of those ideas we didn't quite get to. Many have lots of potential and we hope the R and rOpenSci communities take them up!

API Interfaces

  • Many of our data access packages interface with web APIs, and our community has some ideas on how to make these easier and improve testing of these types of packages.
  • Both Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud APIs already have API wrappers, but in other languages (e.g., Java, Go), that could be wrapped to make R packages.

Development tools

Data Access




  • How should R users handle reviewing and commenting R-Markdown documents.
  • What's the right blend of vignettes, R markdown templates, and parameterized reports for getting new learners up and running?
  • One of the things we hope to do more of is enable scientists to publish and get credit for their software and data. How about automating software citation, or packages for auto-submission to software or data journals?

It's Your Turn

Interested in pursuing one of these ideas? Pick up on the discussion in the project's GitHub repo and the friendly people there will welcome your contributions!