[Rd] authorship and citation

Gabriel Becker gmbecker at ucdavis.edu
Tue Oct 6 23:39:30 CEST 2015


Responses inline

On Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 1:58 PM, Adrian Dușa <dusa.adrian at unibuc.ro> wrote:

> Hi Gabriel,
> On Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 10:59 PM, Gabriel Becker <gmbecker at ucdavis.edu>
> wrote:
>> [...]
>> At the very least, this is seems to be a flagrant violation of the
>> *spirit* of the CRAN policy, which AFAIK is intended to enforce
>> acknowledgement of the contributions of all copyright holders in the
>> package. The fact that you are trying to bypass the policy by suggesting
>> users use an unofficial citation which would not comply with the policy
>> while maintaining an official one which complies, but which you don't want
>> users to see  is probably a suggestion that you shouldn't do that.
> But that is the very point: I read the CRAN policies twice, and there is
> no official guideline on how to compile the citation.
> Regarding the Source packages, the policies mention:

> ######
> The ownership of copyright and intellectual property rights of all
> components of the package must be clear and unambiguous (including from the
> authors specification in the DESCRIPTION file). Where code is copied (or
> derived) from the work of others (including from R itself), care must be
> taken that any copyright/license statements are preserved and authorship is
> not misrepresented.
> Preferably, an ‘Authors at R’ would be used with ‘ctb’ roles for the authors
> of such code. Alternatively, the ‘Author’ field should list these authors
> as contributors.
> Where copyrights are held by an entity other than the package authors,
> this should preferably be indicated via ‘cph’ roles in the ‘Authors at R> field, or using a ‘Copyright’ field (if necessary referring to an
> inst/COPYRIGHTS file).
> Trademarks must be respected.
> ######
> Now, that requirement is already met: the former author is still in the
> authors' list. So the contribution of the former author is duly
> acknowledged, but the fundamental issue of my question related to the
> citation file, for which the CRAN policies doesn't offer any other
> information.

The citation mechanism, AFAIK, has two purposes. One is to associate a
published article/book/etc with an r package, where appropriate (and there
authorship and inclusion would need to meet the requirements of the
publishing journal). The other is to give a way for other works to cite the
work done in developing the package.

If you don't acknowledge that it is "heavily implied" that in the second
case all authors of the package should appear in the citation (this is
almost definitionally true of citations, I would think) I'm not really sure
what to tell you.

Approached from a different angle, what reason do you have for wanting the
other other to not appear in the citation for the package other than
minimizing/not acknowledging the copyright-holding work that he or she did
on the project?

> If the spirit of the CRAN policies is to enforce citing each and every one
> of the authors, then I don't understand why the citation from package Rcmdr
> meets this spirit, while my suggestion doesn't.

I don't have any knowledge of what Rcmdr does with regards to the citations
or the historical context that would make it relevant to the discussion

> I apologize for pushing this topic to the limit, but I haven't got an
> answer to this question yet...

With respect, not receiving the answer you wanted isn't the same as not
receiving an answer.


> Best wishes,
> Adrian
> PS: @Thierry: I did take a look at RODBC, but the citation information is
> generated automatically upon package installation (no other special file on
> --
> Adrian Dusa
> University of Bucharest
> Romanian Social Data Archive
> Soseaua Panduri nr.90
> 050663 Bucharest sector 5
> Romania

Gabriel Becker, PhD
Computational Biologist
Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Genentech, Inc.

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