Re: [R] Popularity of R, SAS, SPSS, Stata...

From: Muenchen, Robert A (Bob) <muenchen_at_utk.edu>
Date: Sun, 20 Jun 2010 18:28:27 -0400

>-----Original Message-----
>From: r-help-bounces@r-project.org
[mailto:r-help-bounces_at_r-project.org]
>On Behalf Of Ted Harding
>Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2010 3:42 PM
>To: r-help_at_r-project.org
>Subject: Re: [R] Popularity of R, SAS, SPSS, Stata...

>
>
>I've given thought in the past to the question of estimating the R
>user base, and came to the conclusion that it is impossible to get
>an estimate of the number of users that one could trust (or even
>put anything like a margin of error to).
>
>I think one could get a number which represented a moderately
>informative lower bound -- just count the number of different email
>addresses that have ever posted to the R-help list. This will of
>course include people who post (or have posted) from more than one
>email address, and people who tried R for a while and then dropped
>it, but my feeling is that these are likely to be outweighed by the
>number of people who have used R but have never posted (for example
>students who are getting their R help from their instructors, people
>using R in a corporate context who are discouraged from posting to
>public lists, etc.).

Ted, that's a very interesting suggestion. Do you know of a practical way of getting that count?

>
>The number of subscribers to R-help (currently about 10200) is
>a definite lower bound for the number of R users, but many users
>post to R-help without being subscribed.

10,200 is quite an amazing number! Here are the number of subscribers to:

SAS-L    3,251
SPSSX-L  2,103
Statlist 1,847

S-PLUS - havn't figured out how to get this yet

How did you get the R-help figure?

>
>I would expect that the total number of different email addresses
>that have posted to R-help would be considerably larger than 10200.
>
>I don't think a "Mark-Recapture" approach is feasible.
>
>Further, I don't know how one might take account of the fact that
>some installations of R (e.g. on a corporate or institutional
>or departmental server) may each be used by several users.

The server question in particular intrigues me. Research organizations are stuffed with high performance clusters. The cost of all the commercial packages is just incredible. Even at the heavily discounted rate academia gets, they're still unaffordable. However, if queried we'd find the commercial packages on them, but limited to 4 out of 2,500 nodes! You might see the reverse in industry, with one mainframe copy of SAS serving hundreds of users.

Cheers,
Bob

>
>Ted.
>
>--------------------------------------------------------------------
>E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding_at_manchester.ac.uk>
>Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
>Date: 20-Jun-10 Time: 20:41:43
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