Skip to contents

Find R packages used in a project, create a BibTeX file of references, and generate a document with formatted package citations. Alternatively, cite_packages can be run directly within an 'R Markdown' or 'Quarto' document to automatically include a paragraph citing all used packages and generate a bibliography.


  output = c("file", "paragraph", "table", "citekeys"),
  out.dir = NULL,
  out.format = c("html", "docx", "pdf", "Rmd", "md"), = NULL,
  pkgs = "All",
  omit = c("grateful"),
  cite.tidyverse = TRUE,
  dependencies = FALSE,
  include.RStudio = FALSE,
  passive.voice = FALSE,
  out.file = "grateful-report",
  bib.file = "grateful-refs",




  • "file" to generate a separate document with formatted citations for all packages;

  • "paragraph" to return a paragraph with in-text citations of used packages, suitable to be used within an 'R Markdown' or 'Quarto' document;

  • "table" to return a table with package name, version, and citations, to be used in 'R Markdown' or 'Quarto';

  • "citekeys" to return a vector with citation keys.

In all cases, a BibTeX file with package references is saved on disk (see bib.file).


Directory to save the output document and a BibTeX file with the references. It is recommended to set out.dir = getwd().


Output format when output = "file": either "html" (the default), "docx" (Word), "pdf", "Rmd", or "md" (markdown). (Note that choosing "pdf" requires a working installation of LaTeX, see

Optional. Citation style to format references for a particular journal (see If the CSL is not available in out.dir, it will be downloaded automatically from the official GitHub repository using get_csl(). If using cite_packages() within an R Markdown or Quarto document, should be NULL (the default). The citation style should instead be defined in the YAML metadata of the document (see


Character. Either "All" to include all packages used in scripts within the project/folder (the default), or "Session" to include only packages used in the current session. Alternatively, pkgs can also be a character vector of package names to get citations for. To cite R as well as the given packages, include "base" in pkgs (see examples).


Character vector of package names to be omitted from the citation report. grateful is omitted by default. Use omit = NULL to include all packages.


Logical. If TRUE, all tidyverse packages (dplyr, ggplot2, etc) will be collapsed into a single citation of the 'tidyverse', as recommended by the tidyverse team.


Logical. Include the dependencies of your used packages? If TRUE, will include all the packages that your used packages depend on.


Logical. If TRUE, adds a citation for the current version of RStudio.


Logical. If TRUE, uses passive voice in any paragraph generated for citations.


Desired name of the citation report to be created if output = "file". Default is "grateful-report" (without extension).


Desired name for the BibTeX file containing packages references ("grateful-refs" by default).


Other parameters passed to renv::dependencies().


If output = "file", cite_packages will save two files in out.dir: a BibTeX file containing package references and a citation report with formatted citations. cite_packages will return the path to the citation report invisibly. If output = "table" or output = "paragraph", cite_packages will return a table or paragraph with package citations suitable to be used within 'R Markdown' or 'Quarto' documents.


cite_packages is a wrapper function that collects package names and versions and saves their citation information in a BibTeX file (using get_pkgs_info()).

Then, the function is designed to handle different use cases:

If output = "file", cite_packages() will generate an 'R Markdown' file which includes a paragraph with in-text citations of all packages, as well as a references list. This document can be knitted to various formats via out.format. References can be formatted for a particular journal using Thus, output = "file" is best for obtaining a document separate from R, to just cut and paste citations.

If output = "paragraph", cite_packages() will return a paragraph with in-text citations of all packages, suitable to be used directly in an 'R Markdown' or 'Quarto' document. To do so, include a reference to the generated bib.file bibliography file in the YAML header of the document (see

Alternatively, if output = "table", cite_packages() will return a table with package names, versions, and citations. Thus, if using 'R Markdown' or 'Quarto', you can choose between getting a table or a text paragraph citing all packages.

Finally, you can use output = "citekeys" to obtain a vector of citation keys, and then call nocite_references() within an 'R Markdown' or 'Quarto' document to cite these packages in the reference list without mentioning them in the text.


Citation keys are not guaranteed to be preserved when regenerated, particularly when packages are updated. This instability is not an issue when citations are used programmatically, as in the example below. But if references are put into the text manually, they may need to be updated periodically.


if (FALSE) { # interactive()

# To build a standalone document for citations
cite_packages(out.dir = tempdir())

# Format references for a particular journal:
cite_packages( = "peerj", out.dir = tempdir())

# Choose different output format:
cite_packages(out.format = "docx", out.dir = tempdir())

# Cite only packages currently loaded:
cite_packages(pkgs = "Session", out.dir = tempdir())

# Cite only user-provided packages:
cite_packages(pkgs = c("renv", "remotes", "knitr"), out.dir = tempdir())

# Cite R as well as user-provided packages
cite_packages(pkgs = c("base", "renv", "remotes", "knitr"), out.dir = tempdir())

# To include citations in an R Markdown or Quarto file

# include this in YAML header:
# bibliography: grateful-refs.bib

# then call cite_packages within an R chunk:
cite_packages(output = "paragraph", out.dir = tempdir())

# To include package citations in the reference list of an Rmarkdown document
# without citing them in the text, include this in a chunk:
nocite_references(cite_packages(output = "citekeys", out.dir = tempdir()))