Binod Jung Bogati, the organizer of the R User Group Nepal, discussed his experience of fostering the budding R community in Nepal. He shared the details of a recent beginner two-day workshop and some useful techniques for organizing events. Besides using R for his work in validating clinical trial programming, Binod is actively involved in translating R resources into Nepalese.
Binod Jung Bogati, Data Analyst / Statistical Programmer at Nimble Clinical Research
Please share about your background and involvement with the RUGS group.
I work as a Data Analyst/Statistical Programmer at a partner company, Nimble Clinical Research, which is based in the US. My work involves clinical trial programming, and we use SAS to develop CDISC-compliant SDTM/ADaM datasets including generating Tables, Listings, and Figures (TLF). These datasets and documents are used for submission to regulatory bodies like FDA in the US. Currently, we have started using R for validating these datasets (SDTM/ADAM) and TLFs where ever possible which was previously done in SAS. Additionally, our partner company has also built a tool called Nimble Workspace (R-based Web Data Visualization & Reporting) to generate tables, listings, and figures from clinical data which will make our team more efficient.
Regarding my background, I have a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and IT from Tribhuvan University. I started using R during my college group project. We felt that there was a lack of guidance and assistance for using R which was a big issue. So we (along with Diwash Shrestha) came up with the idea of starting this group where we can share resources and learn from each other. We conducted a lot of events before the pandemic.
On a personal level, I am also conducting sessions in R in my local language and I have also contributed to translating R resources into Nepalese. For my next project, I applied to volunteer at OAK-SDTM in the package development for automating SDTM generation and generating raw synthetic data.
Can you share what the R community is like in Nepal?
R is fairly new in Nepal, and it’s currently being used more in the public health and research sector. It is also being used in academia for teaching. Most of the members of the R community are students and a few companies like the one I work for are using it at a professional level. It is a diverse group of people, but as far as my knowledge goes, the use of R is more dominant in health and academia.
You recently had a Meetup event on Overview of R programming, can you share more on the topic covered? Why this topic?
We conducted a two-day event on the Overview of R programming and Getting Started with R on the 1st and 2nd of April. It was a beginner-friendly session, we had diverse participants from different fields like engineering, health, IT, computing, and many others.
On the first day, we showcased two of our previous projects. The first project was about vaccine updates in Nepal, where we published government data on Twitter with visualization and daily statistics. We showcased how we scrapped the pdf data and published it into Twitter with visualization and daily stat.
The second project was a recent project we are working on about census data. In this project, we used census data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics of Nepal to create visualizations and dashboards with the help of R. After that we had a Q&A session.
On the second day, we had a hands-on workshop for the participants. We used census data to create visualizations, and we gave a 5-minute demo, which they followed in the next five minutes. If they had any issues, we helped them out. It was an interactive session, and we received really great feedback for this session. We are now planning another event soon.
These events aim to help beginners learn about the tools and their use cases.
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?
For this event, we used several tools, including Google Meet (or Microsoft Teams), Google Slides, and Posit Cloud. Google Slides proved to be an excellent tool for sharing presentation materials with attendees. We also used Google Forms for gathering feedback from participants after the event, which helps us tailor future events according to their suggestions.
GitHub is another tool we use, although only some of our participants are familiar with it. We primarily use it to publish slides and other materials.
We used the Posit Cloud to share all relevant materials during this event. It proved to be extremely helpful, particularly during hands-on workshops. In the past, we’ve faced difficulties with installing packages on participants’ systems, but with Posit Cloud, we avoided this issue entirely. For this reason, we highly recommend it for hands-on workshops.
Overall, we strive to ensure inclusivity for all participants, regardless of their ability to attend physical events. By utilizing tools like Posit Cloud and Google Forms, we can create a more inclusive experience for all attendees.
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!