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Reproducible posters with R, LaTeX, tikz and Sweave

rOpenGov is all about reproducible research, so preparing a reproducible poster became our mission after having the chance to present at International Conference on Computational Social Science (ICCSS 2015) in Helsinki, June 8-11, 2015 (poster 36 in Monday session 15:30-17:00).

We blended R code and output with the standard poster contents. The poster sources download data with our eurostat R package and automatically generates the final figures and the overall layout.

Whereas several ready-made layouts, such as baposter, beamerposter, tikzposter, latextemplates.com and other options were available and could be useful for fast poster design, they also limit the available options as the graphical elements are laid out as tightly defined text boxes. This is not suitable for all purposes, and mixing ready-made styles with free design is potentially confusing. I also bumped into some problems in incorporating R code with some of these templates.

Therefore we ended up using the plain LaTeX/tikz combination which allows reproducible design of arbitrary poster layouts and schematic figures, as well as automated numbering of figures and references. The R/Sweave allows incorporation of R code and output (figures, tables, text). The a0poster style provided appropriate font sizes and other LaTeX utilities for posters. If you are a frequent LaTeX user, we warmly recommend familiarizing with tikz. For further details, see the poster sources.

To reproduce the A0 poster (PDF), clone the rOpenGov poster repository and run the following commands in R:

library(knitr)
knit2pdf("poster/2015-ICCSS/poster.Rnw")

poster