ggplot-based graphics and useful functions for GAMs fitted using the mgcv package
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The gratia package for R provides ggplot-based graphics and useful functions for GAMs fitted using the mgcv package.

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The main features of gratia are currently

  • A ggplot2-based replacement for mgcv:::plot.gam(): draw(gam_model).

    Note specialist smoothers (bs %in% c("sos","mrf","so")) are not supported, but univariate, factor and continuous by-variable smooths, simple random effect smooths (bs = 're'), factor-smooth interaction smooths (bs = "fs"), and bivariate tensor product smooths are supported,

  • Estimatation of derivatives of fitted smoothers: fderiv(gam_model),

  • Estimation of point-wise across-the-function confidence intervals and simultaneous intervals for smooths: confint(gam_model).

Installing gratia

gratia is under active development and has not yet had its first release to CRAN. The easiest way to install the package is via the install_github() function from package devtools. Make sure you have devtools installed, then run


to install the package.


gratia grew out of an earlier package, schoenberg, itself a development of the earlier package tsgam, which was originally intended to be used with GAMs fitted to time series. As I was developing tsgam however it became clear that the package could be used more generally and that the name "tsgam" was no longer appropriate. To avoid breaking blog posts I had written using tsgam I decided to copy the git repo and all the history to a new repo for the package under the name schoenberg. At a later date someone released another package called schoenberg to CRAN, so that scuppered that idea. Now I'm calling the package gratia. Hopefully I won't have to change it again…

Why gratia?

In naming his greta package, Nick Golding observed the recent phenomena of naming statistical modelling software, such as Stan or Edward, after individuals that played a prominent role in the development of the field. This lead Nick to name his Tensor Flow-based package greta after Grete Hermann.

In the same spirit, gratia is named in recognition of the contributions of Grace Wahba, who did pioneering work on the penalised spline models that are at the foundation of the way GAMs are estimated in mgcv. I wanted to name the package grace, to explicitly recognise Grace's contributions, but unfortunately there was already a package named Grace on CRAN. So I looked elsewhere for inspiration.

The English word "grace" derives from the Latin gratia, meaning "favor, charm, thanks" (according to Merriam Webster).

The chair that Grace Wabha currently holds is named after Isaac J Schoenberg, a former University Madison-Wisconsin Professor of Mathematics, who in a 1946 paper provided the first mathematical reference to "splines". (Hence the previous name for the package.)