R and S-Plus

r logoR, or GNU-S, is free; note that there is no qualification – it is a completely free, statistical package that provides an impressive array of methods for data analysis, interpretation, and graphical display.  Based on the S language first developed by Bell Labs decades ago, it is quite simply the most advanced of what we have access to of the general purpose packages for academic research, and for anyone wanting to keep up with the times it is the package of choice, bar none.

Watch this video: What is R?

R however does take a bit to become comfortable with compared to some packages as it is primarily command line driven.  However, it should be stressed that one can use it in a very applied fashion, only taking from it what is necessary for the data situation at hand and there are many packages that offer dropdown menu capability.  In other words, you do not have to become a computer programmer to take advantage of its functionality.  In the end though, if you want to use methods that have been developed in the last 30 years and take advantage of today's computing power, this is the package for you, and the big packages like SAS and SPSS lag far behind its capabilities for the academic researcher.

S-Plus can be seen as a proprietary version of the S language, with its most noticeable difference being that it comes with a sophisticated gui out of the box.  S-Plus and R are very compatible with one another in most respects, however R has near daily updates and many, many more packages and offerings.

Other Notes

You do not have to come to us to obtain R.  It is free to all.
SPSS, starting with version 16, has the ability to run R scripts as long as R version 2.5 (or newer) is installed on the machine.
Research Computing Services' Do It Yourself Introduction to R course
Research Computing Services' S-plus & R Short Course class materials & links


Download Site for the Latest Binary and R Packages

Free R Books and Tutorials

Attention Mac Users: You should review John Fox's installation page -- the Mac section; located at: http://socserv.socsci.mcmaster.ca/jfox/Misc/Rcmdr/installation-notes.html.

Script editor

  • Tinn-R: don't let the command line get you down, use R's built in script-editor at the very least, but Tinn-R has many more features.

Web Interfaces to R Web Servers and Example R Scripts

  • R Web Interface - Run R programs from any machine through the web
  • Example R Scripts - Some of these scripts run on a server and results are communicated thru a web browser
Research Matters
Articles Using or Regarding R
R and Survey Analysis
R, R(D)COM and Excel
R News
The R Journal



General links

S-PLUS Student Edition Download – Free

  • Student Edition - This version of S-Plus has a 20,000 cell or 1,000 row limitation; is only for educational use; is good for only one year; and is a rather large download (100+ meg).
  • If you prefer a cd, one can be purchased at the bookstore.

S-PLUS Free Experimental Libraries and User Contributed Libraries