Introducing the Telethon Kids Institute R-Markdown Templates

The Telethon Kids Institute has a strong sense of brand awareness that is detailed in our internal style guide and is visible in television advertisements, reports, presentations and seminar posters (and elsewhere!). Our branding is important as it contributes to developing a sense of recognition within the local community and helps support our position as a world leader in child health research. Instantaneous brand recognition is especially important for Telethon Kids, as we receive significant funded from the public, either directly from individuals and businesses or through Channel 7’s Telethon.

The Biometrics Group are the internal consultants for the Telethon Kids Institute and Perth Children’s Hospital for all things biostatistics and data management. As we have multiple competing priorities on the go at any one time, it is important for us to have a tool kit that enables us to rapidly provide support our researchers, collaborators, and students while complying with the themes defined in the Institute’s style guide. We achieve this by working in the R environment, as this enables us to leverage the latest developments in open source statistics and data science.

The Biometrics Group has developed a series of R markdown templates, accessed via. the Biometrics R package, that frees us to focus on the task at hand and not to worry about regularly tweaking the visual aspect of our reports and communications. These easy-to-use templates produce stand-alone HTML files for reports and presentations that can be distributed by email and opened in an internet browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, etc.) including on mobile devices. Perhaps most importantly, all members of our group can rapidly create visually stunning documents without the need to learn HTML or CSS.

The Biometrics package also includes custom colour themes, based on those defined in the style guide, that can be applied to categorical and continuous data in ggplot2 graphics and used in any other app that accepts common image file formats.

The Telethon Kids Institute Biometrics package is now available on GitHub and new R markdown documents can be created with these templates in R Studio after package installation:

devtools::install_github("TelethonKids/biometrics", build_vignettes = TRUE)

and are accessed through the menu: New -> R markdown -> From template. A brief introduction to using these templates are found in the package vignettes:

browseVignettes("biometrics")

The usual markdown syntax is used to prepare your documents; a cheat sheet explaining how to use R markdown can be found here.

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