Data-Driven Tracking and Discovery of R Consortium Activities

November 14, 2019
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by Benaiah Ubah

R is a fast-growing language for statistical
computing and graphics backed by a powerfully inclusive community of users and
developers. The R community received a significant boost when some
e
nterprises came together to establish
the R Consortium in 2015. Since then, the R Consortium has clearly proven its
purpose by operating transparently and in an unbiased manner – supporting the R
Foundation, infrastructure that broadly affects the R community, tools that
enhance the R software, R user-groups, events and diversity on a global scale.
R Consortium’s top level projects – R-Hub, R-Ladies, the
RUGS program, Events sponsorship, the
R Community Diversity and Inclusion program – , working groups and other ISC funded projects
highlight the significance of R Consortium’s involvement as a major supporter
of several critical developments around R in recent times.

To further enhance transparency, measure impact
and achieve even greater community inclusiveness, the R Consortium in Fall
2018, funded a new data-driven initiative to provide a way for the R community
to discover and track its activities over the years. This infrastructure is
dedicated to curating and rendering R Consortium activities via dashboards
using open-source technologies – all data and code are available at this GitHub repository that
is primarily maintained by me.

For a start, the ISC approved the development of
dashboards that highlight R Consortium’s accomplishments, with a focus on ISC
Funded Projects
, RUGS program and Events/Marketing program. I
am delighted to communicate that, this initial scope has been successfully
covered and the corresponding milestones delivered. The next iteration of
development would include more aspects of R Consortium’s activities that have
broad impact on the larger R community. The following sections of this article
presents reasons why a data-driven initiative is useful for tracking R
Consortium’s activities, the deliverables for this project, benefits and future
directions.

Why a data-driven initiative to track R
Consortium activities?

1. In the past 5 years, R Consortium has
supported many R initiatives that encompass user-groups, events, diversity,
technical infrastructure, documentation, developing teaching materials, working
groups, etc But, how could the impact of these initiatives be measured in
numbers over the years? How could the global distribution of activities like,
the user-group and event support programs be ascertained?

2. ISC funded projects (both completed and
ongoing) are usually curated on a single web page.  This initiative provides a way for searching
for these projects by year, grant-cycle, status, primary investigator, etc. 

3. Before embarking on this project, there was no
way of ascertaining the distribution of funding across work-products.  A data-driven infrastructure will help those
without experience applying for ISC grants, by giving them an overview of
work-products and cash-grant ranges that have received more funding over time.

4. R Consortium’s decision makers may find a
data-driven initiative helpful in planning future programs and packages.

5. Prospective R Consortium members that are
contemplating joining the R Consortium, could easily find and understand R
Consortium’s past accomplishments in a broad, transparent, insightful, and
aggregated manner.

6. Finally, comparing R Consortium’s mission
statement with its accomplishments from a data-driven perspective, is something
that the R Foundation, the global R community, present and future members of
the R Consortium would like to track and provide feedback on over time, for the
long-term growth and stability of the R ecosystem.

Project Deliverable

We  now present to the R community, a suite of dashboard pages that render the corresponding R Consortium activities  in a data-driven manner:

  1. ISC funded projects
    dashboard
  2. R User Group Support program
    dashboard
  3. Events / Marketing program
    dashboard
  4. A landing dashboard page that summarizes details from
    other dashboard pages for enhanced user experience.
  5. A GitHub repository to find all code and data for this
    infrastructure.

Benefits

  1. ISC
    projects dashboard: Easily find ISC projects with enough
    information to contact project owners for those thinking of contributing to
    projects. Find most popular work-products ad cash-grant ranges for those
    without experience applying for grants.
  • RUGS program dashboard:
    Understand the global distribution of funded user-groups and their
    funding-level distribution. Find information about these groups and how to get
    in touch with those within your reach.
  • Events / Marketing dashboard:
    Understand the global distribution of sponsored events.
  • Landing dashboard:
    Find aggregated summaries around all of ISC projects, RUGS program,
    Events/Marketing program and the R-Ladies project.

Future Directions

It would be interesting to explore more of R
Consortium activities like working groups, and ISC projects that have
observable global impact on a running basis.

Join R Consortium

If you are an enterprise that benefits from using
the R environment, please consider
joining R Consortium
to make the R ecosystem a better one.

Acknowledgments

I appreciate the contributions that came from John
Mertic
, Hadley Wickham and Joseph
Rickert
especially at the initial phases of this idea.

The post Data-Driven Tracking and Discovery of R Consortium Activities appeared first on R Consortium.

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