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January 14, 2010


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hi, i wrote an r journal article on this topic: transitioning to r from sas, stata, and sudaan -- the examples i use are health policy statistics.. but it's perfectly relevant to this material :)


I often turn up my nose at all the poor folks stuck using closed-source SAS, matlab, etc. Just this week, though, I found myself with stuck with SPSS command files.

I was trying to get census microdata into R. They distribute fixed-width data files and separate command files for reading the data for Stata, SAS, and SPSS. Commence google hunt. I stumbled across PSPP, the GNU version of SPSS. This gave me an open-source tool that allowed me to save my data as an SPSS data file, then read it into R with via read.spss (in package foreign).

Diversity saves the day!

Census microdata is at http://usa.ipums.org/usa/, incidentally.

As a SAS user recently taking up R I found http://www.statmethods.net/ invaluable - it is a really great site for the basics.

I don't often self-promote, but for general users, a book I wrote with Nick Horton is effectively a meshed set of documentation for SAS and R. It can be a big help in transitioning if your investment in SAS is deep. See http://www.math.smith.edu/sasr for our book's home page and http://sas-and-r.blogspot.com/ for a blog with examples worked in SAS and R.

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