Chapter 3. R Packages

Perhaps the biggest reason for R’s phenomenally ascendant popularity is its collection of user-contributed packages. As of mid-September 2013, there were 4,845 packages available on CRAN1, written by an estimated 2,000 different people. Odds are good that if a statistical technique exists, it has been written in R and contributed to CRAN. Not only are there an incredibly large number of packages, many are written by the authorities in the field such as Andrew Gelman, Trevor Hastie, Dirk Eddelbuettel and Hadley Wickham.


A package is essentially a library of prewritten code designed to accomplish some task or a collection of tasks. The survival package is used for survival analysis, ...

Get R for Everyone: Advanced Analytics and Graphics now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.