How to Set up R/DataSHIELD Client Profiles

Following the possibility to have different R/DataSHIELD server profiles (see How to Set up R Server Profiles and How to Set up DataSHIELD Server Profiles), it may be necessary to have different R environment on the client side as well. This is mandatory in the case of DataSHIELD where a server-side package only works with a specific client-side package version.

This concept of R environment is covered by the renv R package which intends to provide isolated, portable and reproducible R projects. Using renv gives full control of the user on its R exection environment, without depending on an IT infrastructure (different interfaces for different profiles).

In order to help with setting up such project, you can start with the DSProjectTemplate.

Adding a Dependency on an R Package from GitHub

As an example some of the DataSHIELD R packages are not available in the official CRAN repository. For R packages saved on GitHub you can use the following procedure to include a new dependency:


  1. Run renv::install() to retrieve a specific version of a R package from GitHub; for example renv::install("neelsoumya/dsSurvivalClient@v1.0.0") to install a released version of dsSurvivalClient
  2. Edit your analysis script to make use of this package; for example library(dsSurvivalClient)
  3. Run renv::snapshot() to register this package as part of your project environment

Removing a Dependency on an R Package

This is as simple as:


  1. Edit your analysis script and remove the library() load statement of the package
  2. Run renv::snapshot() to unregister this package from your project environment