I'm in the process of generating a series of choropleth maps for a journal article and am writing this up in R as an .Rmd. My aim is to set this up as reproducible research, that is in a form which can be executed and recompiled by other users. Towards this end, I'm looking for a UK (or ideally Scotland) shapefile with LAU2 level administrative boundaries (i.e. local parishes) that can be downloaded directly to R. I'm already doing this for various CSV POI files using getURL() as shown below:
ecs <- read.csv(text=getURL("http://datashare.is.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/10283/1943/ECS-GIS-Locations_2.9_simplified.csv"))
So I'd like to find something similar which is available as a persistent URL ideally from a reliable repository.
The OS BoundaryLine data would be great, except that it sits behind a request form that has to be filled out and then a download URL is provided via email. As discussed on a related thread, GADM and Natural Earth are terrific resources, but AFAIK don't provide parish or county-level boundaries. Can anyone recommend an alternative, but nonetheless canonical / reliable alternative?