RLum.Network - A scientific network to analyse luminescence data with R

A project funded by the DFG

Thematic classification

Luminescence dating is one of the most important numeric dating methods of modern quaternary science. Methodological and technical improvements of the last decades allow complex and extensive data analysis today. A deficit is, however, seen in the availability of a flexible and scalable software solution for data analysis. With the release of the software package "Luminescence" in 2012, based on the statistical programming environment R, a comprehensive set of routines for the analysis of luminescence data was successfully provided for the first time. The software is understood both as a user-friendly tool for efficient use of scientific resources (e.g. human) by established methods for data analysis and as a tool for visualization, without the need of self-made software solutions.
Secondly, the R package "Luminescence" should help increaseing the transparency of generated luminescence data (age), by open source code and comprehensible algorithms. Also it should ensure the reproducibility and comparability of results from different laboratories. The latter one is of high relevance in matters of the parallelization and correlation of geoscientific and archaeological archives.

Orientation and composition of the network

The network consists of seven to eight graduate and post-doctoral young researchers which are active at various universities in Germany (Bayreuth, Gießen, Dresden, Freiberg and Cologne). They have come together informally during their graduation in the context of luminescence data analysis with R. The product of this cooperation is the R-package "Luminescence", whose maintenance and enhancement is done voluntarily by the authors.
On the one hand a broad expertise in geochronological respects (especially in luminescence dosimetry) is necessary, on the other hand a fundamental knowledge in dealing with the programming environment R is indispensable. The education (geology, geography, physics, computer science) and therefore the individual expertise of the network members complement each other perfectly to meet this demand. At the upcoming network meetings, technical aspects (e.g. in the sense of theory and measurement methods in luminescence dating) will be discussed, and the maintenance of the software as well as the implementation of new ideas into the existing R-Package "Luminescence" shall be enhanced.


1) Maintenance and further development of the R-package "Luminescence”
This includes, inter alia, the analysis and discussion of new scientific developments in luminescence dating and their possible implementation into the existing software, the ongoing documentation of all new developments, ensuring the transparency, and the training of young scientists in relation to the package "Luminescence". In addition a user-oriented monograph shall be elaborated.

2) Application
This includes the use of the package in one’s own scientific environment, the global support of users through the forum which can be accessed by the existing website "www.r-luminescence.de" as well as the presentation of new functions at national and international conferences to extend the distribution of the software. In addition a certain degree of formalization in the analysis and presentation of luminescence measurement results shall be achieved.


Summary of workshops:

# Date Place
1 19. - 21.07.2013 Stauf / Rheinland-Pfalz
2 28. - 30.03.2014 Oberweißenbach bei Selb / Oberfranken
3 23. - 26.04.2015 Caputh / Brandenburg
4 17. - 20.09.2015 Arcachon / Bordeaux