Automation of Publications in Official Statistics using R

Guido Schulz (
Federal Statistical Office of Germany (Destatis)


A key task of official statistical authorities is to collect and disseminate indicators periodically. Automation using a wide range of R packages bears massive potential to cut down the resources necessary for the creation of publications. Furthermore, automation in R has the potential to improve transparency, punctuality and coherence of statistical products. The dynamic reporting engine knitr in particular allows for an efficient combination of R’s functionalities of data retrieval, data manipulation and customizable plotting on the one hand, and the layout and typesetting flexibility of LaTex or other markup languages on the other. This allows official statistical authorities to produce either ready-to-print PDFs or interactive websites while adhering to their corporate design requirements. Furthermore, dynamic reporting makes it possible to update periodic publications automatically. A work in progress example of automated statistical country profiles – a product the German Federal Statistical Office regularly publishes based on a wide range of official international sources – will be presented to illustrate both advantages and challenges in the practical use of dynamic reporting using R and knitr in particular.

Keywords: R, Automation, Dynamic Reporting, Official Statistics, knitr
JEL Classification: Y10, Y50

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Romanian Statistical Review 1/2018