Project 2 - The Stars of R-Universe

By Yanina Bellini Saibene in Community 100DaysToOffload rOpenSci

June 30, 2024

Rocket taking off.

Picture of Iván Díaz at Unsplash


My first contribution to rOpenSci, even before I became a Community Manager, was a blog post in Spanish about how I created my R-Universe.

R-Universe is rOpenSci’s platform to facilitate the publication, search, development, and use of R packages. Some of its key features include:

  • It acts as a centralized repository for finding and downloading R packages.

  • Its automated system for building and distributing packages makes it easy for developers to publish and update software.

  • It provides documentation, examples, and other useful resources for available packages, helping its users understand and use them.

  • Ensures that packages are compatible and available for different operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux, providing multi-platform support.

  • It allows developers to link their GitHub repositories with R-Universe, facilitating continuous integration and deployment of updates.

When I became Community Manager, Jeroen Ooms, who led R-Universe, shared with me his idea of interviewing platform users to learn more about their work, how they used R-Universe, and their features and needs. It was an excellent opportunity for me to talk and get to know people who are part of the rOpenSci community.

From The Idea To The Multimedia Interview Series.

The final proposal was to generate a multimedia interview series, blog post, and video called “Meeting the Stars of the R universe."

Our primary goal was to give insight into the working groups and people behind the development of software and packages that many people use and that are available through the R universe.

As secondary objectives, we wanted to understand how people use the platform, identify common problems, get feedback on new features, and hear suggestions for improvements.

With these goals in mind and using Jeroen’s initial list as a base, we selected the first interviewees based on their activity, geographic diversity, and use of R-Universe.

We generated an invitation email template and sent it to the first selected interviewees. We expected to be able to do between 4 and 6 interviews.

While waiting for the responses, journalist Alejandra Bellini helped me develop the interview script. We prepared a list of open-ended questions so that the interviewees could freely share their opinions and experiences. These questions aligned with the defined objectives.

Alejandra also led the first interview we did in Spanish so that I could see how the process developed. She also gave me tips on how to interview for the following interviews I conducted in English. Jeroen also participated in some of the interviews.

I generate all the material (email text, interview script) bilingually.

The Interviews

We sent out eight invitations and conducted six interviews. The process for arranging the interviews was as follows:

  1. After receiving confirmation from the interviewee, we coordinated a date and time for the interview. I sent out a Zoom invitation and the questions in advance so people could prepare.

  2. We interviewed using a video conference tool. , I started by explaining the objective and how we would conduct the interview, and then I started recording the meeting. We would start with the scripted questions and follow the conversation thread. On some occasions, the interviewee shared their screen to show us how they use R-Universe in their work or how the packages they develop work. The interviewees also had the opportunity to ask us questions.

  3. At the end of the interview, we thanked the interviewee and explained the following steps: edit the video, write the blog post, and share both with them so they can review it before publishing it.

  4. After the interview, I wrote a summary by selecting relevant content for the text, including quotes from the interviewees, that complements the content chosen for the video.

  5. Alejandra Bellini and Lucio Casalla also supported me in the video editing. The interviews lasted between 60 and 90 minutes, but the final videos were between 10 and 15 minutes long. Selecting the relevant parts was a very interesting task.

  6. I wrote the first draft of the blog post in English on the rOpenSci website, which was edited by Steffi LaZerte, one of our blog editors. I sent the edited version to the interviewees and applied the requested changes until we got their approval. At that stage, we generated the English and Spanish subtitles of the video and translated the blog post into Spanish. In the case of one of the blog posts, the interviewee also translated into French, as it is his native language. For translations we use our package babeldown.

  7. Finally, we published the blog on the rOpenSci website and uploaded the video to our Vimeo channel (for which I wrote a summary). Lucio generated a nice animation of the rOpenSci logo to add to the beginning and end of all our videos.


After publishing the blog post on our website with the videos on our channel, we shared it. The communication plan included:

  1. Write posts about the interview for social networks and share them on Twitter/Mastodon, LinkedIn, and relevant Slack spaces. Both in English and Spanish.

  2. Writing a summary for the rOpenSci newsletter.

  3. Share the material with the interviewees so they can share it on their social networks and with their communities.


The interview process was very interesting and enriching. We learned a lot from the people we interviewed and the projects they led. In addition to the blog posts of each team interviewed, we made a summary of the whole series:

We also generated a diverse and multilingual set of R-Universe use cases, which can be inspirational for other developers and user groups.

I also had the opportunity to work with Jeroen, Alejandra, Lucio, and Steffi on a project that allowed me to learn a lot about the rOpenSci community and about very interesting details of R-Universe.

I want to thank all the interviewees for their time and for sharing their excitement about their work with us.

I hope that at some point, we can resume this kind of interview with more people who are part of rOpenSci.

Posted on:
June 30, 2024
6 minute read, 1087 words
Community 100DaysToOffload rOpenSci
Community 100DaysToOffload rOpenSci
See Also:
Proyecto 2 - Las Estrellas del Universo R
Project 1 - rOpenSci's Code of Conduct and Code of Conduct Committee
El Codigo de Conducta en rOpenSci