I ran my data analysis and created my graphs in RStudio, but RStudio is just a platform for R. In my paper should I cite R or RStudio?

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    I have never seen anyone cite Rstudio. It would be like citing Word Feb 25, 2019 at 21:26
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    Just to be clear to readers who don't know R, the OP didn't "create their graphs in RStudio," there is no functionality to do that in RStudio besides using R and its packages. Yes, it displays them for you, but that's it. Feb 26, 2019 at 18:37

3 Answers 3


RStudio is an IDE for R — essentially an editor and debugger packed together. Your work is made possible by statisticians who developed the language R and graphical packages for it. If you want to cite R in your publication, here is the explanation how to do it.

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    You can also type citation() in the console to get the current citation information: It works for packages too -- citation("packagename")
    – pep
    Jul 6, 2021 at 22:31

Google Scholar is probably not doing a great job of tracking these software citations compared to journal articles that fit standard citation formatting better, but RStudio has ~1,800 citations whereas R has over 100,000 using the most common citation aggregate for each.

Many people cite neither and instead cite particular packages that they use, but by far it is more common to cite R which includes all of the base libraries, etc. RStudio is only an IDE, and although it could be useful and you are free to cite it as having been helpful in your development, anyone can take your R code written with the help of RStudio and run it with only R and get the same result.

  • To follow on, if my PI and I collaborate on an R script, and I use RStudio and she uses emacs, should we cite both? It would seem wrong to cite emacs, so by extension, I see little reason to cite Rstudio. Feb 26, 2019 at 0:27
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    @AzorAhai I agree that it is not typical to cite text editors, IDEs are a bit more involved but you don't typically cite those either. When someone cites something like Matlab or SAS or Stata, they aren't just citing the IDE and GUI but the underlying algorithms that have been tested, validated etc; the equivalent for that would be R, not RStudio.
    – Bryan Krause
    Feb 26, 2019 at 0:50

Cite what you use. RStudio has a collection of developers who have made your work possible. Cite them. R is a language so it is, perhaps, less important to cite it. But if it has features that are important to your work, cite it. If you had used Python to do data analysis it might not be necessary to name it if there was nothing special about Python, but R is specialized for statistics so more likely that it should be cited.

Cite what you use. It is a courtesy to those who enable your work if nothing else. Citing RStudio

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    @JeremyC Probably coming from the suggestion that citing R is less important and perhaps the misunderstanding that R is "just" a language whereas RStudio is what "made your work possible."
    – Bryan Krause
    Feb 25, 2019 at 23:00
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    I did not downvote this, but I 100% defend the right to downvote if one thinks that the content of an answer is wrong / unwise, without need for further comments. Feb 25, 2019 at 23:41
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    @Buffy To make more clear, I think the thing that's wrong/dangerous in your answer possibly is that it makes it sound like RStudio is the thing that brings all the code and R is just the language, which is not the case. People that are "using" RStudio are mostly only using it as a text editor/for debugging tools. It is almost certainly more important to cite R than to cite RStudio. OP understands all this, but someone else might not.
    – Bryan Krause
    Feb 26, 2019 at 1:49
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    @Buffy Have you used R? Your answer makes it sound like you have not. Feb 26, 2019 at 3:43
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    @Buffy In my personal opinion, this and many your other answers sound like someone forced you to answer a question on a topic you know very little about. SE is not an exam. If you are not sure of a right/helpful answer to a question, it is quite appropriate to refrain from answering it. Feb 26, 2019 at 7:43

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