[Rd] Citation for R

Gordon K Smyth smyth at wehi.EDU.AU
Tue Jun 14 00:14:13 CEST 2005

On Tue, June 14, 2005 1:30 am, Ted Harding said:
> 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:
> Quotation:
>   "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 www.mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk/bugs.)
> Source:
>   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?

Yes, JRSSB citations are less canonical that citations in medical biology journals.  Citations are
treated very seriously in medical biology world, where impact factors and citations counts are
quoted in promotion and grant applications, and there is a reluctance to cite non-refereed
publications.  An article in Nature would probably not include WinBUGS in the reference list but
would simply say in the text that computations were done using "WinBUGS software (Medical Research
Council Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge, www.mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk/bugs)".  This might be good enough
for the WinBUGS people, but it would not get the WinBUGS manual into the citation system.

Note also that R does have a User Guide, i.e., while there is plenty of excellent documentation,
there is no single document which is a guide to the whole project.


> Best wishes to all,
> Ted.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding at nessie.mcc.ac.uk>
> Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
> Date: 13-Jun-05                                       Time: 16:30:35
> ------------------------------ XFMail ------------------------------

More information about the R-devel mailing list