Dan Quintana Profile picture
May 7, 2018 23 tweets 8 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
If you’re an academic you need a website so that people can easily find info about your research and publications. Here’s how to make your own website for free in an under an hour using the blogdown package in #Rstats [THREAD]
So why use blogdown? Sure, there are several free options available to start your own blog (e.g., Medium). However, you generally can’t list your publications or other information easily on these services. Also, who knows where these services will be in a few years?
There are also some great point-and-click services available (e.g., Squarespace). However, you need to pay about $10 a month for these services, and they’re generally not well suited for academic webpages.
Alternatively, R + blogdown is free and can integrate with the Hugo framework, which provides a ton of templates. It also uses Markdown, which is a straightforward markup language.
Install blogdown in R using this command:


Then start a new project, entering “gcushen/hugo-academic” as the Hugo theme. Keep the other options ticked. This will download all the necessary files.
This website theme has been specifically designed for academics, as there are sections for info on publications, teaching, and upcoming talks etc...
To build and view your site, run these two commands:


The viewer window will render a mobile version of your site, but you can also see a desktop version in your browser
So now you can see what your website will look like. All you have to do is to change the information in your scripts. Let’s start with basic configuration in the config.toml file. You’ll want to change the website title, name details, and organisation info
In the config file you can also change the colour theme and font style of your website, so have a play around with these options.
Your main homepage is made up of a set of widgets, which you can customise or remove entirely. For example, let’s say we want to remove the big header image, called the “hero” widget. Go to the Files tab, and then navigate to content > home > "hero"
Just change the “true” command after “active”, to “false”. Once you save the updated "hero" script, your website will automatically update, with the hero widget removed.
Let’s now update the profile photo. Just save your profile in the “img” folder, calling the file portrait.jpg. This will automatically update your profile picture.
The home folder contains scripts for all your home page widgets. Edit the “about” file to edit your education and biography details. Have a look through the other widgets and edit or remove.

Not sure what something does? Just edit your script and see what happens!
If your website isn’t updating, this could mean that one of your files has an error. Unfortunately, blogdown sometimes won’t reveal the source of the error. You can get more info by accessing Hugo in Terminal.
In RStudio, select the Terminal tab, then run the following command

hugo -v

If there’s an error, this command will reveal which file is the cause of the problem. If there are no problems, you’ll get info about your webpage
Here’s an example of an error. Looks there’s an error with the author names in the ‘wallaby’ file. Once you address this, run the “hugo -v” command again in Terminal.
To edit your publications, go to the files found in the content > publication folder. Select the “clothing-search” file for editing. Edit your publication’s details accordingly, then save it with a useful name. It should appear in your publications
To change what appears in your header menu, edit the [params.menus] section of your config file. Just edit or delete sections as you wish.
So now that you’ve done all your edits and your happy with your page, it’s time to put it online. Set up a free account at Netlify netlify.com
One common way to upload your website and keep it updated is by hosting your files on Github. But if you want to get set up quickly, just drag the ‘public’ folder from your blogdown project into Netlify.
You can edit the domain name, which will include “netlify.com” at the end of your address. If you would like a cleaner domain name, you’ll can purchase one for about $10 USD per year (just do some googling, there are many options available for domain name purchase)
For more info about the excellent blogdown package from @xieyihui and team, check out the online blogdown textbook bookdown.org/yihui/blogdown/
Here's the website we just made roo-mcrooface.netlify.com For a completed website, here's mine with a custom domain name dsquintana.com

If you’ve made your own website using this tweetorial, give me a shout!

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More from @dsquintana

Jul 24, 2018
You’ve worked hard putting together a presentation so why limit it to the people sitting in your talk?

Here are a few tips for repurposing your talk for sharing on social media
1. Add your twitter handle on your intro slide and encourage your audience to tweet. Limiting the text on your slides will also encourage tweets. If your text isn’t tweetable then there’s too much text.

Even if people are reading it, they’re not listening to you
What’s better than big blocks of text?


Use @unsplash for a huge library of free and high quality images that don’t require distracting attribution text at the bottom of your slide
Read 11 tweets
May 4, 2018
Every paper has open data if they present a scatterplot.

1) Download WebPlotDigitizer automeris.io/WebPlotDigitiz…
2) Load a scatterplot screenshot
3) Select each datapoint
4) Download the .CSV file with each datapoint
We used this tool in a recent meta-analysis to extract correlation coefficients from papers that didn't report coefficients (only scatterplots), which is a common issue in meta-analysis sciencedirect.com/science/articl…
We validated the use of WebPlotDigitizer in our sample by looking at studies in our meta-analysis that reported BOTH correlation coefficients and scatterplots, finding high precision
Read 6 tweets
May 3, 2018
Funnel plots are often used to assess publication bias in meta-analysis, but these plots only visualise *small study* bias, which may or may not include publication bias. Here's a guide on making contour-enhanced funnel plots in #Rstats, which better visualise publication bias
First, some background.... Publication bias is a well-known source of bias. For instance, researchers might shelve studies that aren’t statistically significant, as journals are unfortunately less likely to publish these kind of results.
Researchers might also use questionable research practices — also known as p-hacking — to nudge an effect across the line to statistical significance
Read 20 tweets
Apr 26, 2018
Here are ten things that I HAVE NOT changed my mind about in the past few years of being a scientist (thanks to @mareberl for the suggestion)
1. Meta-analysis is a useful means of synthesizing research

Meta-analysis cops a lot of flak. But like ANY statistical tool, meta-analysis needs to be correctly applied. It still sits on top of the evidence pyramid osf.io/yq59d/
2. Presentation skills are undervalued

It’s likely that one day your chances of landing a job/grant will ride on a presentation, so take EVERY OPPORTUNITY to practice. Your research won’t “speak for itself”, no matter how good it is.
Read 11 tweets
Apr 24, 2018
Here are ten things I’ve changed my mind about in the last few years of being a scientist
1. P-values are bad.

Nope. P-values are good for what they’re designed to do. Just because they’re (often) misused doesn’t mean that we should abandon them.
2. Bayes factors will save us from the misuse of p-values

No. Bayes factors *can* be useful, but they’re not always the solution to p-value limitations.
Read 13 tweets
Apr 23, 2018
Meta-analyses are often used as a gold standard measure of evidence. But how much trust should you place in a meta-analysis outcome? Here are a few things you should look out for next time you read one [THREAD]
1. Don’t just check whether the authors state they followed PRISMA/MARS reporting guidelines, check whether they ACTUALLY did.


SPOILER ALERT: Very few do. The ones that do *typically* include a checklist in the supplement
2. Was the analysis protocol pre-registered? There is SO much analytical flexibility in meta-analysis, so this is a crucial point. Sometimes all it takes is a small tweak of study exclusion criteria to tip a summary effect size over the line to p = .048 (or closer to p = .05)
Read 20 tweets

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