I chose to add an R version of this course for a handful of reasons including:

  1. R is used widely in a number of disciplines, like ecology, and provides a
    solid platform for beginner scientific programmers. Many graphing and statistical operations are built right into the language.
  2. It is a broadly useful language. This means that you should be able to do most anything you want to do using R, and it should be relatively easy to accomplish.
  3. It’s free. Funding rates for scientific research are extremely low at the moment and this means that expensive software licences are often untenable, especially for students conducting their own research. This also allows students in the class to program on any computer they want without dealing with licensing hassles, and guarantees that anyone can take advantage of the online resources that are being developed.
  4. It runs on all major operating systems.
  5. It is used by many scientific programmers and taught in many research science departments. This makes collaborating with experts on large or complex projects much easier.
  6. Data Carpentry ‘lecture’ materials are available in R, which provides a resource for students to learn more advanced topics on their own and allows me to avoid duplicating effort. I also contribute material that I have developed back to Data Carpentry.
  7. R is the most common statistics platform in Ecology.