Using R Markdown and papaja with a LaTeX class to submit a conference proposal: A few notes


With my colleagues Emily Bovee (who had the idea for the project and is the first author) and John Ranellucci, I worked on a conference proposal for a conference that provided either a Word Document template or a LaTeX class. Since I had just used (that’s a generous way to put it - I really had struggled through it) LaTeX, I proposed that we see whether we could (continue to) use R and R Markdown, which we used to analyze the data, to prepare the manuscript.

It basically worked. Thus this post, which is really just a few notes - and is certainly not any authoritative source on this topic.

Here’s what we did:

  1. We installed the papaja R package, which right now is still in the development phase (so you have to install it with the following lines instead of the usual install.packages() way):
  1. Using R Studio, we created a new R Markdown document (just using the File -> New File menu, and then selected “R Markdown”), and then navigated to “From Template”, where we selected “APA Article (6th edition)”. This resulted in an R Markdown document with the papaja template and in the APA format.

  2. We downloaded the LaTeX class (i.e., the text file that ends in .cls) file from the conference website. Then, we moved it to the same directory as the new R Markdown document we created in the prior step.

  3. We changed the following line in the front matter of the R Markdown document from the following:

class : "man"

… to the following, where conference-template.cls is the (renamed) name of file we downloaded in the prior step:

class : "conference-template.cls"

  1. We wrote the manuscript (and embedded the R code to create the output and the plots) and then clicked “Knit” at the top of the document to create the PDF. And then we uploaded that PDF.

Of course, there were some challenges along the way - but, nothing that required a huge amount of troubleshooting. Things basically worked! So, this post is a snapshot of this experience. It’s a testimony to the creators of papaja (and R Markdown - and the LaTeX class for the conference) that things just worked and so that we could be successful on our first try.

As one sidenote, with John’s input and contributions, we wrote this entire manuscript using the tools describe here - and GitHub. There were challenges, but, it basically worked - pretty neat!