Re: [R] package download numbers

From: Duncan Murdoch <murdoch_at_stats.uwo.ca>
Date: Thu 06 Jul 2006 - 23:36:39 EST

On 7/6/2006 8:58 AM, Kemp S E (Comp) wrote:
> Hi,
>
> I have a contributed package on CRAN (GammaTest) and was wondering whether it is possible to find out how many times it has been downloaded. I would like to include this information in my Ph.D. thesis.

I think the answer is no. CRAN maintains logs; I'm not sure if they're public or not. But there are dozens of mirrors of CRAN, and downloaders are encouraged to get packages from one of them. CRAN has no way of knowing if I download something from one of the mirrors.

There's also the issue of caches: if you ask to download a package, your ISP may not make a request for it, they may just deliver it out of their cache.

So it would be possible to get a drastic underestimate of the number of downloads, but it is essentially impossible to get an accurate estimate.

This is why we encourage people who publish papers where the work used R or R packages to cite them in their bibliography. Web of Science (http://isiknowledge.com/WOS) will track citations in the open literature; this is one way the authors can get academic recognition for their work. Use the citation() function to see how the author would like to be cited, or a default format if the author hasn't specified.

Duncan Murdoch



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