On 16 August, 2021, Github’s Tech for Good and Social Impact teams featured the Epidemiologist R Handbook in a blog post. The Epi R Handbook had recently gone viral across the open-source tech community as an excellent resource for learning R - even for people not in the field of public health.

Github is a code hosting platform for version control and collaboration, used by 73 million developers. At its core is the open-source ethos - promoting code that anyone can access, inspect, and build upon themselves. The collaborative, grassroots nature of the Epi R Handbook team was particularly appealing.

The R code that produces the Epi R Handbook is stored in Applied Epi’s Github repository, where anyone can download the code and suggest an improvement. Over 50 people collaborated via Github to write the Epi R Handbook.

Github supports the Epi R Handbook through its skills-based volunteering program, in which Github experts can support promising community initiatives. Here’s what Bassem Dghaidi, a Github Senior Solutions Architect, said about the Epi R Handbook:

“The Epi R Handbook is an ‘open source unicorn’ in that it received immediate recognition by the community. It’s very well polished. It has been a privilege to connect with its maintainers and share the experience of GitHub’s Professional Services team to make the handbook as impactful as possible!”

Github is helping Applied Epi to streamline its code repository and connect it to partners. Applied Epi is incredibly grateful for Github’s support, and looks forward to future collaboration.