Monthly Summary of Selected Trends, Activities, and Insights for R – November 2018 Monthly Summary of Selected Trends, Activities, and Insights for R – November 2018
In November, activities continued to increase beyond the numbers recorded since July across the R ecosystem. This was most notable in... Monthly Summary of Selected Trends, Activities, and Insights for R – November 2018

In November, activities continued to increase beyond the numbers recorded since July across the R ecosystem. This was most notable in events and in the downloads of R packages. Total package downloads from a single CRAN mirror and in one single year hit half-billion this November for the first time. A summary of selected trends, activities, and insights for R language from November 2018 are presented.

Data for the trends and activities summarized here were obtained from popular websites used by the R community such as Google, GitHub, StackOverflow, Rstudio, METACRAN, and R-Bloggers

[Related Article: Validating Type I and II Errors in A/B Tests in R]

  1. StackOverflow

Activity decreased at StackOverflow in November for the R language compared to October.

Number of StackOverflow Questions tagged R: 4,768 (0.5%  down from October)

Number of Answers for R questions:  4,463 (4.3%  down from October)

Number of Comments for R questions:  8,770 (1.4% down from October)

Page Views for R questions: 172, 498 (7% down from October)

Source: https://data.stackexchange.com

The chart below shows the distribution of the questions, answers, and comments for R at StackOverflow

  1. R/Packages Downloads

The data for this section is obtained through the API of METACRAN’s  service that could be found here:

METACRAN obtains the download summaries from the RStudio  CRAN mirror taken from http://cran-logs.rstudio.com/ This is one very popular download mirror for the R language due to the popularity of the RStudio IDE for R.

Base R downloads:  128,598 (8% down from October)

The chart in Figure 2 shows the distribution of base R downloads among the computer operating systems from which R was downloaded.

The chart in Figure 3 shows the number of downloads by R versions. From the chart, it is clear that there are users of R that still make use of older R versions e.g. version 2.x.x series. Most users are always upgrading to newer versions of R.

R Packages Downloads:  74,764,832(0.5%  up from October)

Package downloads slightly increased this November compared to October.

Figure 4 is a chart that shows the daily download variation of R packages in November.

Ratio of Base R downloads to R Package downloads: 1 : 581

Thus, for each download of base R, there are over 581 extension packages downloaded. The use of R still depends largely on extension packages.

Figure 5 is a chart visualizing the ratio of Base R downloads to R packages downloads

Top Packages (November, 2018):

Sum of Downloads for Top 50 packages:  24,542,214

 (5.6% down from October)

Download contribution of Top 50 packages amongst other 13,000+ CRAN packages: 32.8%

(i.e,  ~33% of total R package downloads came from Top 50 packages in November)

Insights for R

Below is a chart in Figure 7 showing the top 50 downloaded packages based on their download counts.

Insights for R

Sum of Downloads for Top 100 packages:  38,603,830 (2% down from October)

Download contribution of Top 100 amongst other 13,000+ CRAN packages:  51.6%

(i.e, about 52% of R package downloads came from Top 100)

Insights for R

Top 10 Packages and their Primary Maintainers:

S/N Package Primary Maintainers Downloads
1 Rcpp Dirk Eddelbuettel 982578
2 rlang Lionel Henry 900231
3 ggplot2 Hadley Wickham 795461
4 dplyr Hadley Wickham 671977
5 glue Jim Hester 632365
6 stringi Marek Gagolewski 602002
7 digest Dirk Eddelbuettel 596443
8 WGCNA Peter Langfelder 589851
9 stringr Hadley Wickham 582735
10 cli Gábor Csárdi 562378


Hadley Wickham and Dirk Eddelbuetel dominate the top 10 by both number of packages and downloads from the list above.

  1. GitHub

The top 10 R repositories that appeared on GitHub’s trends in November are:

  1. causalgraphs
  2. learngganimate
  3. r4ds
  4. ggplot2
  5. tidytuesday
  6. awesome-R
  7. gganimate
  8. Shiny
  9. ESL-CN
  10. ggwordcloud

The chart of Figure 9 shows the number of stars forgotten in November for  top 10 repositories that did trend in November based on data from https://github.com/trending/r?since=monthly on December 2, 2018

Insights for R

  1. R Meetings/Events

The RStudio Community website provides a weekly list of R user-group meetings and conference events curated from meetup.com and elsewhere. The data found on this website is the basis for the following analysis.

There were 135  events in about 22 countries (7%  up in events from October)

60 events out of 135 (~44% of events) were held in the United States of America; 29 in the UK, 7 in Germany, 6 in Canada and 4 in South Africa, etc

Compared to other months, this shows a significant increase in events in the UK.

S/N Country Events
1 Argentina 2
2 Australia 2
3 Bolivia 1
4 Brazil 3
5 Canada 6
6 Costa Rica 1
7 France 2
8 Germany 7
9 India 1
10 Ireland 1
11 Mexico 1
12 Netherlands 1
13 New Zealand 1
14 Nigeria 3
15 Philippines 1
16 Poland 3
17 South Africa 4
18 Spain 2
19 Sweden 1
20 Taiwan 3
21 United Kingdom 29
22 United States 60


A world map showing the distribution of R events across 22 countries can be found in Figure 10a

Insights for R

Figure 10b shows the event distribution across the 22 countries in a bar chart

Insights for R

A weekly summary of events compared with countries for the month is shown in the bar chart of Figure 11.

Insights for R


45 events out of 135 (33.3% of events) were R-Ladies events

  1. R Bloggers

Rbloggers.com is the most popular news aggregation website for blog posts related to the R language. There were about 241 blog posts at Rbloggers.com in October. An average of about 8 posts / day.

[Related Article: Introduction to R Shiny]

  1. Google Trends

The chart below sshowsGoogle Trends for the R language in November with search trends dipping only during the weekends.

Insights for R

Based on Interest by region, the Top 5 countries in November with the highest search activity on Google are:

  1. Philippines
  2. China
  3. South Korea
  4. St. Helena
  5. Singapore

Source: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2018-11-01%202018-11-30&q=%2Fm%2F0212jm

  1. R Language Ranking:

TIOBE Index: 14th   in November, 2018

Redmonk: 14th in June, 2018

  1. R Consortium

The results of the call for proposals by the R Consortium are expected to be announced early in 2019.

  1. Google Summer of Code

Google has announced it Google Summer of Code program for 2019 in November. Details for organizations, mentors and students are already available at the program website.


R Central is a developing aggregation website for news, trends and activities around the R language. It provides a dashboard  which is suitable as a browser homepage that lists posts from popular sources like CRAN, R-devel, Twitter, Rbloggers, Crantastic, RWeekly, Microsoft, RConsortium, StackOverflow, and several others.

Reference Links

Web: https://r-central.com

Twitter: @rcentrrall

R Central

R Central

R Central is an aggregation website for news, trends, and activities around the R language, providing a dashboard suitable as a homepage that listing posts from popular sources.