2 About useR!

useR! conferences are non-profit conferences organized by community volunteers for the R community and supported by the R Foundation. Attendees include R developers and users, who are data scientists, business intelligence specialists, analysts, statisticians from academia and industry, and students.

A mosaic of pictures taken at different useR! events in the past. The reception lounge full of people of several conferences, a man posing in front of the banner for useR! 2019, which shows a map of Australia made of R packages hexstickers, people presenting their talks and posters. A large group photo with around 80 women from all around the world showing a banner of R-Ladies in useR! Toulouse 2019

Photos Credits: Dale Maschette (@Dale_Masch), Romain François (@romain_francois), Derek Sollberger (@DerekSollberger), R-Ladies Melbourne Inc (@RLadiesMelb), Hiroaki Yutani (@yutannihilat_en), Mitchell O’Hara-Wild (@mitchoharawild), Gergely Daróczi (@daroczig), Alimi Eyitayo (@alimieyitayo), Africa R Users (@AfricaRUsers), Angela Li (@CivicAngela), R en Buenos Aires (@renbaires), Ian Lyttle (@ijlyttle), Erin LeDell (@ledell), R-Ladies Global (@RLadiesGlobal), erika siregar (@erikaris)

2.1 The R Foundation Conference Committee (RFCC) team

The R Foundation actively supports and coordinates useR! activities by the R Foundation Conference Committee (RFCC), whose current members are:

  1. Julie Josse (Ecole Polytechnique)
  2. Heather Turner
  3. Achim Zeileis (Universität Innsbruck)
  4. Ex officio secretary and treasurer of the R Foundation

2.1.1 The Global useR! Working Group

In 2021 a new Global useR! Working Group was announced. Their goal, similar to this knowledgebase project was to “stop reinventing the wheel”, and the members of their core team are the Global Coordinators team from useR! 2021:

  1. Dorothea Hug Peter
  2. Matt Bannert
  3. Yanina Bellini Saibene
  4. Rocío Joo
  5. Heather Turner

The group has monthly meetings on the first Thursday of the month, at 8pm UTC. The meeting is “Open Doors” which means that you can contact a member of the core team to get an invitation.

2.2 Partner Communities

R is incredible software for statistics and data science. While the bits and bytes of software are an essential component of its usefulness, software needs a community to be successful, and here is where R really shines, as Shannon Ellis explains in this lovely rOpenSci blog post. For software, a thriving community offers developers, expertise, collaborators, writers and documentation, testers, agitators (to keep the community and software on track!), and so much more.

Some of the communities that currently exist in the R world are:

  1. R-Ladies: a world-wide organization focused on promoting gender diversity within the R community, with more than 200 local chapters (216 chapters in 61 countries as of 05/Oct/2021)
  2. MiR - Minorities in R: a community whose mission is to provide a space of belonging and support for people who identify as underrepresented minority R useRs. MiR provides opportunities for underrepresented minority R useRs to contribute to the R community in various aspects
  3. LatinR – the Latin America R Community: born from the initiative of the R Foundation Conference Committee to host academic R events in regions not covered by useR!, a group of very motivated R-Ladies, and local RUGs. The first edition of the Latin-R conference was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the second in Santiago de Chile, Chile, and the third and fourth were virtual due to COVID-19
  4. AfricaR: a consortium of passionate R user groups and useRs, inspired to achieve improved representation of the African population of all genders in the global R community, and to foster a collaborative continental network of R mentors, learners, developers, and leaders, in order to help facilitate individual and collective progress worldwide
  5. Local R meetup groups: a simple search may show that there is already one in your area. If not, maybe consider starting one! These face-to-face meetups for useRs of all levels are incredibly valuable for co-learning and collaboration

Social media, especially Twitter, can act as an informal global community. Check the #rstats hashtag to find a responsive, welcoming, and inclusive community of R users to interact with.

2.3 Host Institutions

Below you can find the list of locations where useR! was held previously.

Table 1: List of host institutions by year.

2.4 Rules

While every useR! conference event is different, there are a few rules to keep in mind to ensure your event is successful:

  • Inclusiveness and respect for differences are core values for the useR! conferences and the R community. We aspire to make each useR! conference a place that is welcoming and respectful to all participants. You will need to have a Code of Conduct and a Code of Conduct Response Team
  • useR! is a platform of the community to come together. You must look for ways to create opportunities for conversation and collaboration during the conference, be it in person, online, or a hybrid event
  • useR! conferences are not for individual or corporate profit. If you have money left, it can be used as a starting budget for the next useR! conference
  • Sponsors are much appreciated for their financial assistance, and they are welcome to participate in the useR! conference. However, they are never given attendee contact information by useR! conference organizers. There can be dedicated slots for some short sponsored talks and these are going to be duely promoted as such.

2.5 useR! Program Format

The standard in-person format for useR! conferences comprises three days of conference with plenary sessions, ~6 parallel sessions of regular talks, poster session(s), one day of tutorials, and a conference dinner.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, useR! 2020 and 2021 were 100% online. useR! 2020 was spread in time along several weeks and useR! 2021 returned to the one-week format.

You can find more information about the formats of the conference in the Program and Content chapter.

2.6 The useR! Infoboard

At the same time this knowledgebase project began, our sister project The useR! infoboard also launched as a tool to provide resources, facts, and figures on past useR! conferences. The information board gathers data about useR!’s programs, participants, venues, locations, speakers, fees, and sponsors.

As you work on your event, or afterwards, please remember to update the infoboard’s data with your useR! information, from the organizing teams to ticket prices. It is a simple process and will help future organizers.