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It is not uncommon to encounter practitioners who scribble down a parametric regression model and then proceed as if their model had generated the data.1 No model selection exercise is attempted, model uncertainty is ignored, and statements are made about the underlying process that generated the data based solely on the model they scribbled down. That is, they proceed as if their ad hoc model is the one true model that faithfully mimics the unknown data generating process (DGP) and therefore could plausibly have generated the data.

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Knowledge transfer and the dissemination of research are vital components of the academic mission, yet sometimes these are afforded no more than an afterthought. I strive to impress upon my students and colleagues the often overlooked importance of replicability, automated backup procedures, and version control. But dissemination of work via academic conferences, being a visible member of the international academic community, and in general “marketing” our research to others often gets short shrift.

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Yesterday I was discussing workflow with a PhD student who I recently started supervising and I encouraged her to get up to speed with GitHub, which she did. I also discussed how I use GitHub when working with co-authors on R packages by adding them as “contributors” to a public GitHub repository (the default repository type on GitHub). I further suggested that this could be an ideal way for me to guide her through the process of writing her dissertation since, for one, tracking changes is trivial and relieves me of having to re-read chapters multiple times (she is writing her dissertation using R Markdown and bookdown, naturally).

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The R package blogdown “is an effort to integrate R Markdown with static website generators” according to its creator, Yihui Xie. He writes “Besides the advantage in website structures, another highlight of blogdown is that it inherited bookdown’s Markdown extensions (based on Pandoc’s Markdown), which means you can easily write technical content on your website, including everything that Pandoc supports (e.g., headings, lists, footnotes, tables, figures, citations, \(\LaTeX\) math, and quotes, etc) and bookdown’s extensions (e.

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This week I became aware of the R package blogdown, which was released on CRAN on 2017-08-22 with the announcement following shortly thereafter. Initially, given the name, I presumed that it was an R package that facilitated the creation of a blog. But it is much more than that. Prior to becoming aware of blogdown, I had been using reproducible tools (coincidentally created by the author of blogdown) which were designed for creating sophisticated products including books, research papers, and websites with an eye on reproducibility (R Markdown and bookdown).

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