[R] Making a case for using R in Academia

(Ted Harding) Ted.Harding at nessie.mcc.ac.uk
Fri Nov 10 00:01:27 CET 2006

On 09-Nov-06 Charilaos Skiadas wrote:
> John (and everyone else),
> On Nov 9, 2006, at 4:20 PM, John Fox wrote:
>> Dear Charilaos,
>> It's very difficult to give definitive answers to the questions  
>> that you
>> pose because we don't have any good data (at least as far as I  
>> know) about
>> how widely R is used.
> Yes it certainly isn't an easy question to answer, and I don't  
> necessarily need complete data. The situation as presented to me by  
> my colleagues in the Social Sciences is really that SPSS is "the  
> standard",

My own experience (such as it is) suggested to me that you
were likely to meet this argument. Certainly, the more mature
members of the Social Sciences community were "brought up" on
SPSS, and may be reluctant to bid goodbye to an old friend.

> so I am basically hoping for evidence to just shake this  
> view (unless it is true, but I have to say I doubt it). I am more  
> hoping for particular examples of cases in the Social Sciences, where  
> SPSS is far from the standard, and the programs and schools you  
> mention below are exactly the sort of thing I was looking for!

While it may have some force to be able to indicate how many
departments are using SPSS, SAS, STATA and R, showing that
R is not a negligible minority, the very presence (and it will
not be negligible) of SPSS could reassure your colleagues that
their attitude is not unreasonable.

It could add considerable force to your advocacy to be able
to demonstrate the use of R in some realistic Social Science
applications, to show that it has the cabailities -- and
reasonable ease of use and learnability -- to be considered
a feasible alternative. At which point the cost argument
might be decisive.

I'm sure many of us would be willing to demonstrate what
can be done, using R,  with the kind of analysis you put up
to us as typical of the work you and your colleagues would
want to do.

Some of us may even be able to perform comparative demonstrations!

Hoping that this too is of some help,

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding at nessie.mcc.ac.uk>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
Date: 09-Nov-06                                       Time: 23:01:24
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