Last updated: 2019-05-03

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html 6fa5089 Anna Krystalli 2019-03-15 update navbar
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html 2c1e957 annakrystalli 2018-10-31 Build site.
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html 921a7f8 annakrystalli 2018-10-30 commit docs
Rmd f1468ac annakrystalli 2018-10-30 commit Rmd

👋 Hello and welcome

me: Dr Anna Krystalli

  • Research Software Engineer, University of Sheffield
    • twitter @annakrystalli
    • github @annakrystalli
    • email a.krystalli[at]
  • Editor rOpenSci


  • Research is increasingly computational

  • Code and data are important research outputs
    • yet, we still focus mainly on curating papers.
  • Calls for openness
    • stick: reproducibility crisis
    • carrot: huge rewards from working open
Yet we lack conventions and technical infrastructure for such openness.

Enter the Research Compendium

The goal of a research compendium is to provide a standard and easily recognizable way for organizing the digital materials of a project to enable others to inspect, reproduce, and extend the research.

Three Generic Principles

  1. Organize its files according to prevailing conventions:
    • help other people recognize the structure of the project,
    • supports tool building which takes advantage of the shared structure.
  2. Separate of data, method, and output, while making the relationship between them clear.

  3. Specify the computational environment that was used for the original analysis.

R community response

R packages can be used as a research compendium for organising and sharing files!

  1. _Wickham, H. (2017) Research compendia. Note prepared for the 2017 rOpenSci Unconf_

  2. Ben Marwick, Carl Boettiger & Lincoln Mullen (2018) Packaging Data Analytical Work Reproducibly Using R (and Friends), The American Statistician, 72:1, 80-88, DOI: <10.1080/00031305.2017.1375986>

Example use of the R package structure for a research compendium (source Marwick et al, 2018)

Enter rrtools

The goal of rrtools is to provide instructions, templates, and functions for making a basic compendium suitable for writing reproducible research with R.

rrtools build on tools & conventions for R package development to

  • organise files
  • manage dependencies
  • share code
  • document code
  • check and test code

rrtools extends and works with a number of R packages:

  • devtools: functions for package development

  • usethis: automates repetitive tasks that arise during project setup and development

  • bookdown: facilitates writing books and long-form articles/reports with R Markdown

Workshop approach

Live coding

The majority of the workshop I will be live coding 😨 so that you can follow along. You will get a lot more out of the workshop if you do.

However, handouts of the materials we’ll cover are available if you get stuck!

Workshop materials


On github:

  • click on Clone or download

  • click on Download ZIP

  • Unzip the file



Workshop aims and objectives

In this workshop we’ll use materials associated with a published paper (text, data and code) to create a research compendium around it.

By the end of the workshop, you should be able to:

  • Be able to Create a Research Compendium to manage and share resources associated with an academic publication.

  • Understand the basics of managing code as an R package.

  • Be able to produce a reproducible manuscript from a single rmarkdown document.

  • Appreciate the power of convention!

It’s like agreeing that we will all drive on the left or the right. A hallmark of civilization is following conventions that constrain your behavior a little, in the name of public safety.

Jenny Bryan on Project-oriented workflows




Familiarity with Version Control through RStudio and rmarkdown.

System Requirements:

Pandoc (>= 1.17.2) LaTeX

If you don’t have LaTeX installed, consider installing TinyTeX, a custom LaTeX distribution based on TeX Live that is small in size but functions well in most cases, especially for R users.

Check docs before before installing.

Let’s dive in!

R version 3.6.0 (2019-04-26)
Platform: x86_64-apple-darwin15.6.0 (64-bit)
Running under: macOS Mojave 10.14.3

Matrix products: default
BLAS:   /Library/Frameworks/R.framework/Versions/3.6/Resources/lib/libRblas.0.dylib
LAPACK: /Library/Frameworks/R.framework/Versions/3.6/Resources/lib/libRlapack.dylib

[1] en_GB.UTF-8/en_GB.UTF-8/en_GB.UTF-8/C/en_GB.UTF-8/en_GB.UTF-8

attached base packages:
[1] stats     graphics  grDevices utils     datasets  methods   base     

loaded via a namespace (and not attached):
 [1] workflowr_1.3.0        Rcpp_1.0.1             lubridate_1.7.4       
 [4] emo_0.0.0.9000         crayon_1.3.4           assertthat_0.2.1      
 [7] digest_0.6.18          rprojroot_1.3-2        backports_1.1.4       
[10] git2r_0.25.2           magrittr_1.5           evaluate_0.13         
[13] rlang_0.3.4            stringi_1.4.3          rstudioapi_0.10.0-9000
[16] fs_1.2.7               whisker_0.3-2          rmarkdown_1.12        
[19] tools_3.6.0            stringr_1.4.0          glue_1.3.1            
[22] purrr_0.3.2            xfun_0.6               yaml_2.2.0            
[25] compiler_3.6.0         htmltools_0.3.6        knitr_1.22