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BiocPkgTools: Toolkit for Mining the Bioconductor Package Ecosystem

By Shian Su, Vincent J. Carey, Lori Shepherd, Matthew Ritchie, Martin T. Morgan, Sean Davis

Posted 19 May 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/642132 (published DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.19410.1)

Motivation: The Bioconductor project, a large collection of open source software for the comprehension of large-scale biological data, continues to grow with new packages added each week, motivating the development of software tools focused on exposing package metadata to developers and users. The resulting BiocPkgTools package facilitates access to extensive metadata in computable form covering the Bioconductor package ecosystem, facilitating downstream applications such as custom reporting, data and text mining of Bioconductor package text descriptions, graph analytics over package dependencies, and custom search approaches. Results: The BiocPkgTools package has been incorporated into the Bioconductor project, installs using standard procedures, and runs on any system supporting R. It provides functions to load detailed package metadata, longitudinal package download statistics, package dependencies, and Bioconductor build reports, all in "tidy data" form. BiocPkgTools can convert from tidy data structures to graph structures, enabling graph-based analytics and visualization. An end-user-friendly graphical package explorer aids in task-centric package discovery. Full documentation and example use cases are included. Availability: The BiocPkgTools software and complete documentation are available from Bioconductor (https://bioconductor.org/packages/BiocPkgTools).

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