Survey of Statistical Analysis Software Use in Horticultural Research: Trends during the Last Decade

Marina Curtis

Authors:  Marina Curtis, Gerardo H. Nunez

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Gerardo H. Nunez

College:  Agricultural and Life Sciences


Horticultural scientists use software in order to quickly and accurately analyze experimental data. Open source software presents an opportunity for scientists to develop and share field-specific programs, access software regardless of academic affiliation, and save on the funding that would be spent on software licenses. Nevertheless, many labs continue to use proprietary statistical analysis software. We aimed to identify trends in statistical software use among horticultural scientists to determine if open source software use has increased in the field. We surveyed articles published in HortTechnology during the decade 2010 to 2019. From each issue, ten original research articles were randomly selected, and the software used was recorded. We found that while proprietary programs such as SAS continue to be mainstays for the industry, open source programs such as R and SPSS became more popular by the end of the decade. These results suggest that open source software use in horticulture will continue to grow in the future. Therefore, horticulture education programs should consider teaching basic coding for open source.

Poster Pitch

Click the video below to view the student's poster pitch.


Click the image to enlarge.
0 0 vote
Presenter Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Marina Curtis
Marina Curtis (@guest_678)
1 year ago

I’ll be on Zoom until 3pm!

Marina Curtis
Marina Curtis (@guest_2062)
Reply to  Marina Curtis
1 year ago

Link failed; here’s a better one

Patricia Perez
Patricia Perez (@guest_2356)
1 year ago

Very Cool!

Patricia Perez
Patricia Perez (@guest_2560)
Reply to  Patricia Perez
1 year ago

Has the trend in the last few years pointed to more open-source programs overall and/or in the other category?

Marina Curtis
Marina Curtis (@guest_4356)
Reply to  Patricia Perez
1 year ago

SPSS was initially the only major open-source competitor, and the rise of R is not solely due to researchers switching from one open-source program to another, so use of open-source seems to have risen.
The amount of programs hasn’t increased; however, the amount of packages for these programs, which makes them more user-friendly and can be tailored for specific tasks, continues to grow.

Catherine Martinez
Catherine Martinez (@guest_2994)
1 year ago

Very interesting. I had no idea that coding was so prominent within the field of horticulture, this study was enlightening!

In the future, do you believe SAS will continue to be the program that most horticulturalists use?

Marina Curtis
Marina Curtis (@guest_3912)
Reply to  Catherine Martinez
1 year ago

In general, senior faculty prefer SAS, and junior faculty prefer R. As the previous generation retires, SAS will probably lose its monopoly in the field. However, it can still remain relevant as long as the company continues to cater to academia, like it did by releasing a free version for university researchers in 2014.

Allen Wysocki - Associate Dean CALS
Allen Wysocki - Associate Dean CALS (@guest_3132)
1 year ago


Nice to Zoom with you about your research. As I mentioned to you, this is a topic of conversation in CALS for our graduate programs, in particular.

Doc W