The rjtools package has implemented some automated checks on style, spelling, and package availability, according to the R Journal format. For a comprehensive instruction on the journal format, we recommend authors to follow instructions for Authors.

This vignette will demonstrate these checks with an example article, paper-with-errors, where the argument path = path_to_article in the checks points to the directory of the .tex file. If you have created the article using create_article() with the default arguments, you can check with path = here::here("rjarticle").

All checks in one function

All the nine checks in rjtools can be completed with initial_check_article(), given a path to the article folder:

initial_check_article(path = path_to_article)

The check result will be saved in an initial_check.log file under the same folder, as well as displayed in the console. This is how it looks like for the sample article:

Initial check results:
ERROR: Submission does not have consistently named tex, bib, and R files
SUCCESS: No problematic file found
SUCCESS: Possible motivation letter found
ERROR: The title is not in title case! Suggest title to be changed to:
ToOoOlTiPs: An R Package for Customizable Tooltips in Interactive Graphics
SUCCESS: All sections are properly formatted in sentence case
SUCCESS: Abstract comes before the introduction section
NOTE: A potential list of spelling to check: tooltips, tooltip, alison, ggplot

Individual check functions

The nine individual checks contained in initial_check_article() are:

and they can all be individually checked on the article.


check_filenames(path = path_to_article)

The .bib file is named Rjreferences.bib when created and we recommend setting a consistent name across the .bib, .tex, and .Rmd file. A fix to this is to rename the Rjreferences.bib as the file name you used when create the article, in our case, paper-with-errors.

Presence of unnecessary files

check_unnecessary_files(path = path_to_article) 

This function checks that the folder doesn’t contain the RJtemplate.tex file, which is included the past R journal template. The authors instruction requires the authors to replace the content of this RJtemplate.tex file with article content and name with the lowercase concatenated author name, so it is essentially the .tex file automatically generated in the previous section. Our article don’t have unnecessary files.

Presence of a motivating letter

check_cover_letter(path = path_to_article) 

Cover letter should be provided for article of type “add-on package” and saved at the same folder as the article. The function checks whether there is a file containing the word “motivation” in its name. Our article passes this check.

Article title is in title case

check_title(path = path_to_article) 

The article title needs to be in the title case and the check is not happy with our title here. Use tools::toTitleCase() to get the correct title case format:

tools::toTitleCase("ToOoOlTiPs: An R package for Customizable Tooltips in Interactive Graphics")
#> [1] "ToOoOlTiPs: An R Package for Customizable Tooltips in Interactive Graphics"

Here we forget to capitalise “P” in the word “package” - better make this change before submission! Also if the title contains the package you’re proposing, i.e ToOoOlTiPs in our article, use the \pkg{.} tag rather than \CRANpkg{.}.

Section title is in sentence case

check_section(path = path_to_article) 

Section titles need to be in the sentence case and we are all good here :)


check_spelling(path = path_to_article) 

The spelling is checked from the abstract to bibliography section and only words with all lowercase letters are checked to avoid picking up on acronyms and names. The underlying checking is done through the hunspell package with US spelling by default. British spelling can be checked with argument dic = "en_GB". The R journal welcomes both the U.S and British spelling, along with other national variation, as long as consistency is maintained.

Notice that the spelling check may pick up some domain specific vocabularies and authors may want to further confirm if these are true spelling mistakes. In our article, “tooltip” is a specialised vocabulary in interactive graphics, rather than a misspell, so we are free to go :)

Package is available on CRAN

The package proposed in an article should already be available on CRAN before article submission. check_proposed_pkg() prompts the following in the console:

What’s the name of package being proposed in the article? If none, please enter 0.

and authors need to enter the exact package name, with proper capitalisation, for an availability check on CRAN download. For our article, enter ToOoOlTiPs in the console and the check would say

NOTE: No CRAN activities detected for package ToOoOlTiPs

Not surprising that CRAN can’t find our package since it is a hypothetical one!

Package availability

check_packages_available(path = path_to_article) 

All the packages mentioned with a \CRANpkg{.} or \BIOpkg{.} tag need to be available on CRAN or Bioconductor and check_packages_available() makes sure this is the case. For our article, we get

! ERROR: 1 of 5 package(s) not available on CRAN: ToOoOlTiPs

which is not really an issue here!


Editors, associate editors and reviewers will routinely check that papers adhere to these criteria:


  • Filenames are sensible such as author-names.XXX
  • Add-on package, and dependent packages, are on CRAN
  • Code runs easily and quickly
  • Examples can be reproduced with the R code provided
  • Code is appropriately indented
  • Contact email address is provided for at least one author


  • Title need to be in title case
  • Section titles should be in sentence case
  • No special formatting can be used in the title


  • Should not have math notation


  • Brackets need to be appropriately paired
  • Punctuation after equations needs to be consistent
  • Mathematical operators (e.g., log) should be roman, not italic


  • Chunks of code in the text of the paper are concise and not overly long, is readable and nicely formatted.
  • Code provided with the paper reproduces the results reported in the paper.

Advice on good coding style can be found in the rjtools article “More details on the R Journal format”.

Figures and tables

  • Figures are readable and clear. Good advice on figure can be found in
  • Tables are constructed effectively, with right-justified numbers, and don’t exceed text margins. See Schwabish (2020) Ten Guidelines for Better Tables for advice on tables.
  • Captions have three parts: (1) what is the plot/table about, (2) specific details of plot/table, like what type of display and how variables are mapped, (3) the most important thing that the reader should learn.


  • All references need to have a DOI where available
  • The default bibliography style needs to be used
  • Inline citations are appropriately “(author, year)” or “author (year)”
  • Consistent capitalisation of reference titles
  • All R packages used in the work are appropriately cited, e.g., ggplot if this is used to create the figures