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R Programming Language Gains on Traditional Statistics Packages


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Logo of the R programming language.

A recent survey found the R programming language is quickly gaining popularity in comparison with traditional statistics packages such as SPSS, SAS, and MATLAB.

Credit: R Project

Robert Muenchen, a certified statistician who manages the research computing support at the University of Tennessee, recently conducted a survey gauging the popularity of statistical software programs by tracking how often they have been used for published scientific research and the number of mentions they get in online discussion forums, blogs, job listings, and other sources. Muenchen found that the R programming language is quickly gaining popularity over the traditional statistics packages such as SPSS, SAS, and MATLAB.

Although researchers continue to do most of their work using traditional software packages, with SPSS leading the way with 75,000 citations in scientific papers, R was used in more than 20,000 research projects. In addition, Muenchen notes SPSS citations have declined since 2007, while the use of R has grown dramatically.

"Extending the downward trend of SPSS and the upward trend of R make it likely that sometime during the summer of 2014 R became the most dominant package for analytics used in scholarly publications," Muenchen says.

He notes scholarly citations are a good leading indicator of which programs will be used in the future, since students who learn to use them often continue to use them in their professional careers.

From IDG News Service
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Abstracts Copyright © 2014 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

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