Quarto Keynote at the RStudio Conference

By Julie Lowndes | August 10, 2022

This is a brief post summarizing my co-keynote at rstudio::conf(2022), with Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel titled Hello Quarto: share, collaborate, teach, reimagine.

All slides, demos, art, are available for reuse and remix!

At rstudio::conf(2022), I had the distinct honor to welcome folks to Quarto, which Openscapes has been using to collaborate and reimagine how we tackle inclusive environmental science & the climate crisis. Openscapes was the first external user of Quarto, collaborating with the Quarto developer team and NASA Earthdata Openscapes Mentors for the last year to develop and teach tutorials to help researchers migrate their workflows to the cloud. We’ve primarily used Quarto as Python users, creating beautiful collections of Jupyter notebooks that are Quarto websites, including the 2021 Cloud Hackathon and the Earthdata Cloud Cookbook. Learn more through A Quarto Chat with NASA Openscapes, co-hosted with R-Ladies Santa Barbara with Catalina Oaida, Aaron Friesz, Amy Steiker, and J.J. Allaire.

One penguin standing on another penguin's shoulders in a snowscape, looking through a telescope at a Quarto logo
Artwork from “Hello, Quarto” keynote by Julia Lowndes and Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel, presented at RStudio Conference 2022. Illustration by Allison Horst.

What is Quarto? Quarto is software that unifies & extends the RMarkdown ecosystem. Quarto builds from 10 years of lessons and development from RMarkdown - which has been transformative for the R community - streamlining reproducibility across coding languages (R, Python, Julia) and comfort levels (new and seasoned coders of all career levels). It is a new open source system supporting publishing scientific and technical writing, and one place that this shows up is as an absolute game-changer for citations, which will dramatically help scientists and research teams focus on their science. An audible “wow” came from the audience when I demoed how to insert citations in-line by typing @, which lets you select from your existing Zotero references or paste in a DOI.

This was a co-keynote with Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel, where we introduced Quarto through stories and demos in 4 parts: share, collaborate, teach, reimagine. We collaborated for months on this talk, pushing our/my knowledge of Quarto, designing the talk structure, practicing, working with @allison_horst on beautiful art that is available for reuse. I talked about how Quarto helped our NASA Openscapes team collaborate across coding languages, giving us a place for Python and R users to create beautiful teaching materials together. And I pushed folks to reimagine open source and open science as part of the climate movement. Quoting All We Can Save, “we need every solution and every solver”, I shared an example of a Quarto site for culture change created by the Fay lab, which studies marine fisheries, food systems, and climate change. They are radically reimagining inclusion and open data science through making the implicit explicit, onboarding learners as contributors, and prioritizing psychological safety and a growth mindset. Learn about the process of migrating this guide to Quarto from Bookdown (blog).

Screenshot of tweet from \@fishiintheC
Tweet from Catherine Kim, PhD at rstudio::conf

This keynote was an enormous honor, having grown up professionally in the R (#rstats) community and first welcomed by groups like rOpenSci, R-Ladies, RStudio, the Carpentries, and Mozilla - I’ve written about this quite a bit in the past: RStudio Conference culture, RStudio Conference 2020, rOpenSci’s leadership in #rstats culture. And I continue to grow so much through support and collaborations from so many, first and foremost Erin Robinson, who brought Openscapes and NASA together and developed our flywheel.

This keynote was a big deal, and I *struggled* to clearly scope the reimagine part. So grateful to so many people who listened, coached, inspired me, including @minebocek, @allison_horst, @connector_erin, @StefanieButland, @LizNeeley, @_ileanaf, @eeholm, @CieraReports, @hfcfrick, @adyadyan, @gavin_fay, @tararobertson, @deepseadawn, @katharine_mach, @apreshill. I could go on for much longer, but to close -

I am so grateful to J.J. Allaire for his mentorship and friendship and the opportunity to collaborate with Quarto. And I also appreciate J.J., Hadley Wickham, Joe Cheng, Jenny Bryan, and Hannah Frick for their support throughout the years and as well as helping me build confidence in the days before the keynote. And of course Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel on co-creating the keynote and reading Ileana Fenwick’s quote, as I reimagined what I could do :)

Two excited penguins diving off of an iceberg into the ocean. A Quarto logo
Artwork from “Hello, Quarto” keynote by Julia Lowndes and Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel, presented at RStudio Conference 2022. Illustrated by Allison Horst.