R is a free of charge and open-source software. Given that all data and documentation of international (and national) large-scale assessments is provided at no cost, the software for its analysis shall be provided for free (free of charge and free as in freedom) to the researchers and analysts.
Although myriad of other free and open-source solutions exist (e.g. Python, Java, Hadoop, Octave, PSPP, etc.), R combines the features of being specialized in mathematics and statistics, popular among large variety of scientists, rich in features, flexible, scalable and extensible, and community driven through its repository of contributed packages. It turned into a lingua franca of statistical computing allowing researchers to communicate methods and ideas. All of these, along with its growing popularity and user base, made R our choice of a platform to build RALSA.
RALSA is written entirely in R, including its interface, and will remain free and open source. We believe that this will provide greater support for ongoing reforms in education and will promote further reforms and evidence-based policy-making in education.
RALSA will remain free of charge and open-source, that’s a promise! Users are invited to suggest changes, request features, suggest large-scale assessments (national or international) to be included, report bugs they may find, and even contribute with code. We believe that building a community around this software will make it a better analytical tool which will benefit everyone. Thus, your input is important.