Transferring ownership to the rOpenSci GitHub organization

I am eager to submit a package to rOpenSci, and I am wondering if it is standard practice to transfer ownership to the rOpenSci Github organization if the package is accepted. The onboarding documentation states that I will retain ownership and control, but I wonder if that refers only to admin privileges.

Glad that you are excited about submitting a package!

Yes, it is standard practice to transfer ownership to the rOpenSci organization. This is because we view our role as more expansive than only putting the “stamp of approval” on the package. Once we accept a package into our suite, we become distributors of the package, as well. We act as maintainers of last resort if packages are abandoned by authors and we deem them worth continuing. (In the case of packages on CRAN, we would request transfer of maintainership at this point.) We test all the packages nightly and intervene with authors if there are compatibility issues, and provide maintenance support if authors have some issue. We also think it enhances discoverability.

Authors have admin privledges for their package in under the rOpenSci GitHub organization. Some authors choose to keep a development fork under their own name or organization. We are not listed as authors or maintainers in DESCRIPTION files or on CRAN (though some authors choose to acknowledge reviewers this way). Authors are listed on our packages page. I think we can do a little better by authors by encouraging a README format where the author name is visible right at the top.

We have made exceptions when a package was hosted under an organization with a similar infrastructure and setup for long-term maintenance, but this is a rare, case-by-case thing.

Hope that’s helpful!

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Great summary Noam! @wlandau-lilly we think of this kinda like a journal, where after successful peer review you ‘transfer’ your work so it appears under the journal, (or for that matter submitting to CRAN, where your package is then available from a CRAN url). This has the practical benefits @noamross discusses, but hope the analogies make this seem less weird. Though we now have badges and footer-banners, in practice being “in ropensci” remains the clearest indication of this.

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Thank you, @noamross! Your response is extremely helpful, and this prospect is exciting.