[R] package download numbers

Duncan Murdoch murdoch at stats.uwo.ca
Thu Jul 6 15:36:39 CEST 2006

On 7/6/2006 8:58 AM, Kemp S E (Comp) wrote:
> Hi,
> I have a contributed package on CRAN (GammaTest) and was wondering whether it is possible to find out how many times it has been downloaded. I would like to include this information in my Ph.D. thesis.

I think the answer is no.  CRAN maintains logs; I'm not sure if they're 
public or not.  But there are dozens of mirrors of CRAN, and downloaders 
are encouraged to get packages from one of them.  CRAN has no way of 
knowing if I download something from one of the mirrors.

There's also the issue of caches:  if you ask to download a package, 
your ISP may not make a request for it, they may just deliver it out of 
their cache.

So it would be possible to get a drastic underestimate of the number of 
downloads, but it is essentially impossible to get an accurate estimate.

This is why we encourage people who publish papers where the work used R 
or R packages to cite them in their bibliography.  Web of Science 
(http://isiknowledge.com/WOS) will track citations in the open 
literature; this is one way the authors can get academic recognition for 
their work.  Use the citation() function to see how the author would 
like to be cited, or a default format if the author hasn't specified.

Duncan Murdoch

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