Update on R Consortium Projects

February 10, 2017

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

On January 31, the R Consortium presented a webinar with updates on various projects that have been funded (thanks to the R Consortium member dues) and are underway. Each project was presented by the project leader, a member of the R community. You can watch the recording of the webinar here, but here's a brief summary of what was covered, grouped by infrastructure projects (R packages and support systems) and community projects (events and groups).

Infrastructure projects

R-hub [Gabor Csardi]: As one of the first projects funded by the R Consortium, the R-hub project is nearing completion. This R package-building services makes things easier for package developers (and CRAN maintainers) by building and testing R packages on Windows, Linux and (soon!) Mac.


RL10N [Richie Cotton]: This project aims to make it easier to provide translations (localizations) of R packages, via the poio and msgtools packages. 

Distributed Computing Working Group [Michael Lawrence]: This group is developing a standardized API in R for distributed computing, and are in the process of implementing the draft interface in the ddR package, with the assistance of an R Consortium-funded intern (Clark Fitzgerald).


Simple Features for R [Edzer Pebesma]: This project is developing the "sf" package for R, providing a standardized interface to spatial data used with geographic information systems.

Mapedit [Tim Appelhans]: The goal of this project is to provide an tool for quick-and-easy editing of spatial data visualizations. An alpha version of the mapedit package is available now.


Improving DBI [Kirill Müller]: This group aims to provide a unified database interface for R. The interface is defined by the DBI package, and it's already being used by the RSQLite package.

R Documentation Task Force [Andrew Webb]: This group is working to design and implement the next-generation documentation system for R.


Native APIs for R [Lukas Stadler]: This working group is looking to modernize the low-level APIs provided within R's underlying implementation and contribute improvements to the R Core team.

Code Coverage [Jim Hester]: This working group aims to improve the quality of R packages by making it easier to check that all the code is tested, via the covr package.

Community projects

SatRDays [Gergely Daroczi]: The SatRDays series of community conferences as now well established, with a successful conference in Budapest and upcoming events in Cape Town and Puerto Rico.


RUGS [Joseph Rickert]: The R Consortium now has an active project to fund local R user groups, and has provided grants to 25 groups thus far.

R Consortium RUGS

RIOT Workshop [Lukas Stadler]: The Workshop on R implementation, Optimization and Tooling — focused on core R engine development — was held last year in Stanford, and follow-up is being planned for 2017.

R-Ladies [Gabriela de Queiroz]: This group has founded over 35 chapters of R-Ladies user groups, serving more than 4000 female R users.


Carpentries Instructor Training [Laurent Gatto]: An R Consortium grant provided funding to develop training materials and train 10 additional instructors for Data Carpentry, with more to come.


Personally, I'm so impressed with the contributions that all of these groups have made for all R users with such effective use of their R Consortium grants. (There's more to come, too: the R Consortium is accepting applications for the next round of grants, through today.) If you agree with me that these represent worthwhile projects, I hope you encourage your employer to become a member of the R Consortium. The more members (and the membership dues), the more such projects can be funded.

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