[R] popular R packages

Jim Lemon jim at bitwrit.com.au
Tue Mar 10 11:14:23 CET 2009

Gabor Grothendieck wrote:
> R-Forge already has this but I don't think its used much.  R-Forge
> does allow authors to opt out which seems sensible lest it deter
> potential authors from submitting packages.
> I think objective quality metrics are better than ratings, e.g. does package
> have a vignette, has package had a release within the last year,
> does package have free software license, etc.  That would have
> the advantage that authors might react to increase their package's
> quality assessment resulting in an overall improvement in quality on CRAN
> that would result in more of a pro-active cycle whereas ratings are reactive
> and don't really encourage improvement.
I beg to offer an alternative assessment of quality. Do users download 
the package and find it useful? If so, they are likely to download it 
again when it is updated. Much as I appreciate the convenience of 
vignettes, regular updates and the absolute latest GPL license, a 
perfectly dud package can have all of these things. If a package is 
downloaded upon first release and not much thereafter, the maintainer 
might be motivated to attend to its shortcomings of utility rather than 
incrementing the version number every month or so. Downloads, as many 
have pointed out, are not a direct assessment of quality, but if I saw a 
package that just kept getting downloaded, version after version, I 
would be much more likely to check it out myself and perhaps even write 
a review for Hadley's neat site. Which I will try to do tonight.


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