[R-pkg-devel] [R] a question of etiquette

Martin Morgan mtmorg@n@b|oc @end|ng |rom gm@||@com
Tue Jun 2 15:17:43 CEST 2020

To present a contrary view...

To me the commentary so far doesn't seem right -- if I were writing an academic paper (I personally think this is a good analogy for many R packages) and elaborating on the ideas of someone else, I would cite their work but I would not add them as an author to my paper. I would not expect the authors of cited work to agree with or take responsibility for my work, which is what authorship (in the publication domain) implies. In the current case there is no reason to think that the author of matlab code would be informed about or willing to vouch for the R implementation. Minimally, in an academic setting I would (be required to) ask whether the individual wished to be an author. 

Conversely, if an author were to have made a substantive contribution to my package, and objected to the content of the package with their name on it, I would feel obliged to respect their wishes and, e.g., withdraw or, if permitted by licensing, revise or re-publish the paper / package without the author. This makes me think carefully about who actually contributed to the package, rather than merely whose prior work my package builds upon.

Of course it is necessary to obey licensing terms of the prior work, and important to acknowledge, above and beyond the specific licensing terms, the contributions individuals make.

Martin Morgan

On 6/2/20, 5:57 AM, "R-package-devel on behalf of Adelchi Azzalini" <r-package-devel-bounces using r-project.org on behalf of azzalini using stat.unipd.it> wrote:

    The point in question does not refer to copying code, but to code translation.
    Does this make any difference? 
    This was the question which I raised.

    The phrase "As the code is part of the package now," does not seem to apply in this case,
    since the code is actually not there.

    Also, if the authors of the original code (in Matlab) must be included in the Authors using R 
    block of the DESCRIPTION file, should they be labelled as "aut", "cbt", or what?

    Apart from the specific instance  which my earlier question was referring to,
    the view "As the code is part of the package now, therese are of course now also copyright 
    holders and authors of your package" opens another question, closely related but different,
    as it refers to code which is included, not translated. 
    The above-quoted sentence appears to say that anyone who has written any
    portion of code is an author of the package. In this view, who must be labelled "cbt" then?

    Best regards


    > On 2 Jun 2020, at 01:25, Uwe Ligges <ligges using statistik.tu-dortmund.de> wrote:
    > If you copy code, you have to make sure that you can use it under the currrent license of your package, and you have to make sure to declare copright holders and authors. As the code is part of the package now, therese are of course now also copyright holders and authors of your package.
    > Best,
    > Uwe Ligges
    > On 01.06.2020 23:37, R. Mark Sharp wrote:
    >> Adelchi,
    >> I have a similar situation where I had made all of the typical academic references within the code and documentation for a small but important function my package uses. I was asked by the CRAN reviewers to add the author of that function to the DESCRIPTION Authors using R section. I added the following:
    >> person("Terry", "Therneau", role = c("aut”))
    >> Mark
    >> R. Mark Sharp, Ph.D.
    >> Data Scientist and Biomedical Statistical Consultant
    >> 7526 Meadow Green St.
    >> San Antonio, TX 78251
    >> mobile: 210-218-2868
    >> rmsharp using me.com
    >>> Begin forwarded message:
    >>> From: Adelchi Azzalini <azzalini using stat.unipd.it>
    >>> Subject: [R] a question of etiquette
    >>> Date: June 1, 2020 at 11:34:00 AM CDT
    >>> To: r-help using r-project.org
    >>> The new version of a package which I maintain will include a new function which I have ported to R from Matlab.
    >>> The documentation of this R function indicates the authors of the original Matlab code, reference to their paper, URL of the source code.
    >>> Question: is this adequate, or should I include them as co-authors of the package, or as contributors, or what else?
    >>> Is there a general policy about this matter?
    >>> Adelchi Azzalini
    >>> http://azzalini.stat.unipd.it/
    >>> ______________________________________________
    >>> R-help using r-project.org mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
    >>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
    >>> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
    >>> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
    >> 	[[alternative HTML version deleted]]
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