Re: [Rd] Citation for R

From: Ted Harding <>
Date: Mon 13 Jun 2005 - 15:30:48 GMT

On 13-Jun-05 Thomas Lumley wrote:
> On Mon, 13 Jun 2005, Gordon K Smyth wrote:

>> This is just a note that R would get a lot more citations if the 
>> recommended citation was an article in a recognised journal or from a 
>> recognised publisher.

> This is unfortunately true, but R is *not* an article or a book, it is
> a
> piece of software. I don't think I'm the only person who thinks it is
> counterproductive in the long run to encourage users to cite an article
> that they probably haven't read instead of citing the software they
> actually used.
> Jan's suggestion of the Journal of Statistical Software might provide a
> solution, since JSS *does* publish software.
> -thomas

Is a journal reference necessary? I have seen many articles where the statistical software (S-Plus, SPSS, SAS, etc.) was "cited" as the User Manual, usually only available from the supplier of the software, sometimes with a WWW URL. Such cases provide a precedent for R, surely. I have also seen cases where the "citation" was simply the name of the company (with location, version, date etc.)

As an example which, as software, is closer to home, consider the following quotation, and the corresponding citation:

  "This is essentially a four-level hierarchical model and    is easily implemented in, say, WinBUGS (Spiegelhalter,    Thomas and Best, 2000)." [p. 13 of Source reference below]

Citation Reference:
  Spiegelhalter, D. J., Thomas, A. and Best, N. G. (2000)     WinBUGS Version 1.3 User Manual. Cambridge: Medical Research     Council Biostatistics Unit.
    (Available from

  David J. Spiegelhalter, Paul Aylin, Nicola G. Best,   Stephen J. W. Evans, Gordon D. Murray (2002).     Commissioned analysis of surgical performance by using     routine data: lessons from the Bristol inquiry.   J. R. Statist. Soc. A (2002) 165, Part 2, pp. 1-31)

Surely this would do? Does R need more justification than WinBUGS? Are JRSS citations less canonical then other journals?

Best wishes to all,

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <> Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
Date: 13-Jun-05                                       Time: 16:30:35
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