[R] Citing R in journal articles (or the failure to)

Achim Zeileis Achim.Zeileis at wu-wien.ac.at
Wed Nov 12 02:22:38 CET 2008

On Tue, 11 Nov 2008, Kinoko wrote:

> Just  a few words...
> I usually cite softwares, especially if they are opensource (and
> encourage everyone to do so).
> Of course I would not append references for rkward or kile to my bib
> (neither word or excel).
> While the response of the researcher using your software is not
> convincing, you can easily check
> if it is the journal's deliberate policy to exclude software
> references - e.g. to save space

Even in that case I usually try to insist on citing software. Sometimes 
citation of the manual, or a corresponding paper (e.g., in JSS, R News, 
JCGS, CSDA, COST, ...) let's sneak it in even if the journal usually does 
not have software references.

> - or it was simply the author's ignorance why
> your package was not cited.
> The latter case seems to be more likely though.
> In defense of the 'ignorant' author, it should be noted that it is not
> always clear how to cite a software.
> For example, neither typing citation(tweedie),

If you quote the argument, it works:

R> citation("tweedie")
To cite package 'tweedie' in publications use:

   Peter K Dunn (2007). tweedie: Tweedie exponential family models. R
   package version 1.5.2.

A BibTeX entry for LaTeX users is

     title = {tweedie: Tweedie exponential family models},
     author = {Peter K Dunn},
     year = {2007},
     note = {R package version 1.5.2},

ATTENTION: This citation information has been auto-generated from the
package DESCRIPTION file and may need manual editing, see
'help("citation")' .

One could complement that by a
   url = {http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=tweedie}

This could for example be done in a CITATION file (as suggested in my 
previous mail) which would also remove the "ATTENTION" message at the end 
of the citation() output.

> nor browsing through
> tweedie's documentation tells me
> how to cite it (of course, as a last resort I can mail the  author of
> the package).
> Probably I would not be so helpless if we were in the same research
> field though.
> Related to this, can offer some explanation how to figure out the
> citations of packages in publications?

See ?citation for details.

> best wishes,
> gabor
> Appendix: The sections below are straight from R console.
>> citation()
> To cite R in publications use:
>  R Development Core Team (2008). R: A language and environment for
> statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing,
>  Vienna, Austria. ISBN 3-900051-07-0, URL http://www.R-project.org.
> A BibTeX entry for LaTeX users is
>  @Manual{,
>    title = {R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing},
>    author = {{R Development Core Team}},
>    organization = {R Foundation for Statistical Computing},
>    address = {Vienna, Austria},
>    year = {2008},
>    note = {{ISBN} 3-900051-07-0},
>    url = {http://www.R-project.org},
>  }
> We have invested a lot of time and effort in creating R, please cite
> it when using it for data analysis. See also
> ?citation("pkgname")? for citing R packages.
>> citation(tweedie)
> Error in match(x, table, nomatch = 0) : 'match' requires vector
> arguments
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