Get started with rcompendium

rcompendium makes easier the creation of R packages or research compendia (i.e. a predefined files/folders structure) so that users can focus on the code/analysis instead of wasting time organizing files. A full ready-to-work structure is set up with some additional features: version control, remote repository creation, CI/CD configuration (check package integrity under several OS, test code with testthat, and build and deploy website using pkgdown).


Before using the package rcompendium you must follow these three steps.

GIT configuration

First ensure that GIT is correctly installed on your machine and linked to RStudio. Read the Chapter 6 of Happy Git and GitHub for the useR.

You also need to store your GIT credentials locally (i.e. for the project) or globally (recommended). Run gh::gh_whoami() to see if your git and associated credentials are correctly configured. You should see something like:

  "name": "John Doe",
  "login": "jdoe",
  "html_url": "",

Otherwise you might need to run:

gert::git_config_global_set(name = "",   value = "John Doe")
gert::git_config_global_set(name = "",  value = "")
gert::git_config_global_set(name = "github.user", value = "jdoe")

See ?gert::git_config_global_set for further information.

Creating a GitHub repo

To create the GitHub repository directly from R, the package rcompendium uses the function usethis::use_github(), a client to the GitHub REST API. The interaction with this API required an authentication method: a GITHUB PAT (Personal Access Token).

If you don’t have a GITHUB PAT locally stored, you must:

  1. visit the page and create a new token;
  2. store it in the ~/.Renviron file by using usethis::edit_r_environ() and adding the following line: GITHUB_PAT='ghp_99z9...z9'.

Run usethis::gh_token_help() for more information about getting and configuring a GITHUB PAT.

If everything is well configured, you should see something like this after calling gh::gh_whoami():

  "name": "John Doe",
  "login": "jdoe",
  "html_url": "",
  "scopes": "delete_repo, repo, workflow",
  "token": "ghp_99z9...z9"

Then you will be able to create a GitHub repository directly from R!

Managing credentials

You can use the arguments given, family, email, and orcid directly with the functions new_*() and add_*(). But if you create a lot a projects (packages and/or compendia) it can be frustrating in the long run.

An alternative way is to use ONCE AND FOR ALL the function set_credentials() to permanently store this information in the ~/.Rprofile file. If these arguments are set to NULL while calling any function of the package, rcompendium will search their values in this file. It will save your time (it’s the purpose of this package).

Even if you have stored your credentials in the ~/.Rprofile file you will always be able to modify them on-the-fly (i.e. by using credentials arguments in the functions new_*() and add_*()) or permanently by re-running set_credentials().


The recommended workflow is:

  1. Store your credentials with set_credentials() (if not already done);
  2. IMPORTANT - Create an new empty RStudio project;
  3. Run new_package() to create a new package structure or new_compendium() to create a new research compendium structure;
  4. Edit some metadata in DESCRIPTION, CITATION, and README.Rmd;
  5. Start working (add data, write and document R functions, etc.);
  6. And do not forget to commit your changes.

In addition to these three setup functions (set_credentials(), new_package(), new_compendium()), the package rcompendium offers 29 other functions. These can be grouped as:

Visit the Reference page for further details.

To sum up

## Define ONCE FOR ALL your credentials ----

rcompendium::set_credentials(given = "John", family = "Doe", 
                             email = "", 
                             orcid = "9999-9999-9999-9999", protocol = "ssh")


## Create an R package structure ----


## Then... 
## ... edit metadata in DESCRIPTION, CITATION, README.Rmd, etc.
## ... implement and document R functions in R/

## Update functions documentation and NAMESPACE ----


## Update list of dependencies in DESCRIPTION ----


## Check package ----


## Example: use of an add_*() function ...
## ... update 'Number of Dependencies Badge' in README.Rmd ----


N.B. Users can also use functions from the package usethis to add some missing features (e.g. data/ and package release tools).



You are welcome to contribute to the rcompendium project. Please read our Contribution Guidelines.

Please note that the rcompendium project is released with a Contributor Code of Conduct. By contributing to this project, you agree to abide by its terms.


This package is the result of intense discussions and feedback from the training course Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology.

rcompendium is largely inspired by the package rrtools developed by Ben Marwick et al. and tries to respect the standard defined by the community. Special thanks to these developers!