R Package Helps Scientific Software Developers Track and Monitor Usage

If you’re developing software for the cancer research community, you know the value of tracking how people use and engage said software. In other words, you understand the power of metrics! And understanding metrics can help justify funding for further software development, encourage more community engagement, reveal unexpected use cases, and identify areas that need improvement.

Introducing “metricminer”—an R package with an associated template dashboard that allows cancer software developers (like you) to efficiently measure the impact of software. ITCR Training Network (ITN) developers created the metricminer package using input from NCI Informatics Technology for Cancer Research (ITCR) program investigators.

Currently, metricminer mines data from the following applications:

  • Calendly
  • GitHub
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Scholar Citations 
  • YouTube
  • Slido

The dashboard is still in a very early phase of development, but if you’re interested in being a beta tester, contact the lead developer of metricminer, Candace Savonen. She shares, “We hope metricminer is a time saver that empowers the cancer informatics community with valuable insights while they spend their time applying their unique skillsets to unique problems in cancer research.”

A collaborative manuscript between ITCR investigators and ITN developers inspired the inception of metricminer. The manuscript details how folks identified a critical gap in the cancer informatics community’s metric collection due to time and resource constraints. Tools like metricminer can help track powerful insights beyond citation count alone and improve the effectiveness of software evaluations.

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