Davis R Users' Group

Welcome to the Davis R Users’ Group (DRUG)! We are a community of R users at UC Davis who support each other in using R for science. Our focus is providing a space for beginning and intermediate users to learn from each other.

Help us pick a meeting time for next quarter!

  • Come to our weekly work sessions: This is the core purpose of DRUG. We have weekly, 2-hour work sessions where people bring their computers to work on their own projects, and ask each other questions as needed. We have no TAs - just mutual support in R, statistics, and related topics. Group members sometimes give short presentations on R methods and best practices or to get feedback on their projects.

For Spring Quarter 2014, work sessions will be held at 3PM on Mondays in Wickson 2124.

  • Join the mailing list: The mailing list is an online supplement to our in-person work sessions.

  • Use the resources below: We’ve compiled a list of resources to help you get started using R and find answers to your questions.

We’re fortunate have sponsorship from Revolution Analytics for our snacks and speaker prizes.

Resources for R Help

Getting Started | D-RUG Resources |Web Resources | Mailing Lists | Books | Courses | Misc | Stats at UCD

Please Add Additional Resources in the Comments! I will add them to the page.

Some tips on getting started:

  • Download R here
  • After you install R, I recommend you install RStudio. RStudio is a program that makes R easier to use, and is being widely adopted by both beginning and advanced R users. Importantly, it works across most computer platforms, and has features that make it easy to share your work, collaborate, and do proper version control.
  • Google is your first stop for most questions. You’ll most likely reach most of the resources below while searching for your specific question.
  • Our regular R work sessions and listserv are great places to ask questions, especially if you are not sure what you are looking for.

D-RUG tutorials from our meetings

Sometimes D-RUG members put together useful resources and tutorials for our meetings which we post on the blog under the “D-RUG” tag:

Web Resources

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Here are lists of beginner’s resources which others have compiled


  • R in a nutshell by Joseph Adler is a good book that’s available in the Davis library and online for Davis users.
  • A Primer of Ecology with R by M. Henry H. Stevens is also available online

Other Mailing Lists

These mailing list are very useful not just as a place to ask questions. They are probably where you will find your answers when you search on Google.

R Courses

There are a few courses at UC Davis that use R.

  • Duncan Temple Lang (one of the developers of R) teaches Statistical Computing (STA141), a course mostly about R but also more general topics in computer science for statistics. He also organizes an informal seminar series on statistical computing. STA 242 is a more advanced version of the course. He also will teach STA 135 - Multivariate Data Analysis this year, which is not about R but uses R for data exploration, data mining, and regression.
  • Richard McElreath’s Statistical Rethinking (ANT298) is a course in Bayesian statistical methods which doesn’t focus on R but teaches enough for the applications in the course.
  • Marissa Baskett and Sebastian Schreiber teach Computational methods in population biology (ECL298) in alternate years. This course also isn’t explicitly about R but teaches enough basics so as to be able to use it for the applications in the course. They also created this handy cheat sheet
  • Design, Analysis, and Interpretation of Experiments (PLS 205) has in the past provided an optional extra section to learn techniques in R in addition to SAS
  • Carole Hom teaches Introduction to Dynamic Models in Modern Biology (BIS 132) where R is used for differential and difference equation modeling.
  • There are occasional paid workshops offered on campus
  • At least one section of STA100 uses R
  • Robert Hijmans teaches Quantitative Geography (GEO200CN). It is a survey course about spatial data analysis and modeling using R, including subjects such as point pattern analysis, kriging, inference, cellular automata and Markov chains. It has lectures, disussions, and a intensive lab.
  • Jim Fadel teaches ABG250: Mathematical Modeling in Biological Systems, which uses R and teaches enough for the applications in class
  • Anna Steel taught ECL298: R for Dummies: Basics of data manipulation in R Winter Quarter 2013. The course may be taught by someone else in the future, but is still up in the air.
  • The political science methods sequence (POL211, POL212, POL213) uses R.
  • Andrew Latimer’s Applied Statistical Modeling for Environmental Science (PLS298) uses R in addition to JAGS and OPENBugs. It assumes familiarity with R.


General Statistics Resources at UC Davis

  • Here is a page compiling stats and modeling courses that Ecology students can take at UC Davis
  • The UC Davis Department of Statistics has a consulting service that is free for disseration-related statistical advice. You get a 1-hour meeting with a statistician to discuss your research and they will send you a write-up of their recommendations.