[R] R Foundation publish citable Manual for packages

Achim Zeileis Achim.Zeileis at uibk.ac.at
Thu Aug 7 00:16:14 CEST 2014

On Wed, 6 Aug 2014, stephen sefick wrote:

> Hi all:
> I have had recent issues with citing a package(s) in journals. I have a
> package that has been cited as the Documentation and accepted into
> journals, but I just had a problem with the lme4 package. We are citing the
> submitted paper instead of the documentation. In other words, the citation
> from the citation function was not acceptable to the editor.
> Experiences? Thoughts for a solution? Are there standard ways of doing 
> this?

This still keeps coming up from time to time. By now, many editors have 
accepted that a software+manual published on a web page can be something 
that is worth citing - others still don't allow it. But hopefully this 
resistance will die out eventually.

The standard workaround is, of course, to cite a journal paper or book 
about the software. This was always one of the most important objectives 
of JSS: to give software authors something that is considered citable. 
And hopefully there will be a JSS paper on lme4 in the not-so-distant 

> Maybe the R Foundation could publish a manual of which all package
> documentation is a sub-publication kind of like an edited book?

Well CRAN already hosts a web page with a standard URL where the manual is 
posted. So this is considered to be a credible source for many by now and 
it's probably not worth the effort anymore to set up such an artificial 
documentation series with ISSN etc.

> I just am trying to make sure that everyone that makes the R ecosystem so
> useful gets attribution for their work.

Yes, keep up trying and hopefully sooner than later citing the software 
directly (rather than a paper about it) will be accepted by almost all 


> Many thanks to everyone involved.
> -- 
> Stephen Sefick
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> Auburn University
> Biological Sciences
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> "A big computer, a complex algorithm and a long time does not equal
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