New package workflow

Goal: You developed a package in GitHub, following the Bioconductor new package Contributions README guidelines, submitted it to Bioconductor, and your package has been moderated. As part of moderation process, the package to be reviewed has been added as a repository on the [Bioconductor git server][1].

During and after the review process, package authors must push changes that include a version number ‘bump’ to the Bioconductor git repository. This causes the package to be built and checked on Linux, macOS, and Windows operating systems, and forms the basis for the review process.

In this document, package authors will learn best practices for pushing to the Bioconductor git repository.


  1. SSH keys. As part of the initial moderation step, Bioconductor will use SSH ‘public key’ keys available in<your-github-id>.keys.

    After the review process is over, additional SSH keys can be added and contact information edited using the BiocCredentials application.

  2. Configure the “remotes” of your local git repository. You will need to push any future changes to your package to the Bioconductor git repository to issue a new build of your package.

    Add a remote named upstream to your package’s local git repository using:

     git remote add upstream<YOUR-REPOSITORY-NAME>.git

    Check that you have updated the remotes in your repository; you’ll see an origin remote pointing to, and an upstream remote pointing to

     $ git remote -v
     origin  <link to your github> (fetch)
     origin  <link to your github> (push)
     upstream<YOUR-REPOSITORY-NAME>.git (fetch)
     upstream<YOUR-REPOSITORY-NAME>.git (push)

    NOTE: As a package developer, you must use the SSH protocol (as in the above command) to gain read/write access to your package in the Bioconductor git repository.

  3. Add and commit changes to your local repository. During the review process you will likely need to update your package. Do this in your local repository by first making sure your repository is up-to-date with your and repositories.

     git fetch --all
     git merge upstream/master    # merge changes from
     git merge origin/master      # merge changes from

    Make changes to your package master branch and commit them to your local repository

     git add <files changed>
     git commit -m "<informative commit message>"
  4. ‘Bump’ the package version. Your package version number is in the format ‘major.minor.patch’. When the review process starts, the version number is 0.99.0. Increment the patch version number by 1, e.g., to 0.99.1, 0.99.2, …, 0.99.9, 0.99.10, …

    Bumping the version number before pushing is essential. It ensures that the package is built across platforms.

    Remember to add and commit these changes to your local repository.

  5. Push changes to the Bioconductor and github repositories. Push the changes in your local repository to the Bioconductor and github repositories.

     git push upstream master    # push to
     git push origin master      # push to your github repository
  6. Check the updated build report. If your push to included a version bump, you’ll receive an email directing you to visit your issue on,; a comment is also posted on the issue indicating that a build has started.

    After several minutes a second email and comment will indicate that the build has completed, and that the build report is available. The comment includes a link to the build report. Follow the link to see whether further changes are necessary.

  7. See other scenarios for working with Bioconductor and GitHub repositories, in particular: