A special thanks to our most dedicated reviewers

JOSS is an adventure in next generation publishing, made possible by the volunteer work of many people. Our editors, of course, guide the style and the content of the journal. And our reviewers make a uniquely valuable contribution, both to the software they’ve reviewed and to the broader community of open-source research software. Some reviewers have been extra generous in contributing. Today, we want to say thank you to all our reviewers, but especially our most prolific ones.

Two reviewers take the top spot for the number of reviews they have contributed to JOSS: Bryce Mecum and Luiz Irber, who have each completed nine JOSS reviews!

Bryce (@amoeba on GitHub; @brycem on Twitter) is a scientific software engineer at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). He works on linked open data, semantics, ontologies, science metadata, and reproducible research. He has a B.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Fisheries, he dotes on his dog, and he lives in Juneau, Alaska. Thank you, Bryce!

Luiz (@luizirber on GitHub; @luizirber on Twitter) is a PhD student in computer science at UC Davis. He works at the Lab for Data Intensive Biology with C. Titus Brown, focusing on sketches, streaming, and online approaches for biological data analysis. Luiz is from Brazil, where he worked for more than three years at the National Institute for Space Research, developing tools for a coupled general circulation model. Obrigado, Luiz!

Both Bryce and Luiz are hereby named Top JOSS Reviewers for our first three years of existence. They are being rewarded with a cozy and geeky JOSS hoodie.

We also would like to acknowledge with an honorable mention the following JOSS reviewers, each of whom has contributed 5 or 6 software reviews: Kristian Rother (@krother, Maurizio Tomasi (@ziotom78), Philipp S. Sommer (@Chilipp), Kevin Mattheus Moerman (@Kevin-Mattheus-Moerman), and Nicolás Guarín-Zapata (@nicoguaro).

On a not-so-celebratory note, we have to acknowledge the lack of diversity on this list: not a single woman is among the group of highlighted reviewers. We understand that women and members of minority groups are asked to take on an outsized workload when it comes to contributing to diversity in technology. But we nevertheless want to extend an invitation to everyone to join our reviewer team, and let us know how we can support you. We will be happy to connect you with an experienced reviewer who can be your onboarding “buddy.”

Lorena A Barba, Associate Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Open Source Software

Editor’s note: JOSS recently had its third birthday. In the first three years we’ve published 557 papers (now 570 at the time of writing). I’m hugely grateful to all of our volunteer editors and reviewers for making this experiment in low-cost community-run journals possible! – Arfon Smith

Call for editors

JOSS is expanding its editorial board and we’re opening this opportunity to the open source research software community at large. If you think you might be interested, take a look at our editorial guide which describes the editorial workflow at JOSS and also some of the reviews for recently accepted papers. Between these two, you should be able to get a good overview of what editing for JOSS looks like.

Further background about JOSS can be found in our PeerJ paper which summarizes our first year and my original blog post announcing the journal describes the core motivations for starting the journal.

Over the past ~30 months, our existing editorial team has handled over 500 submissions to JOSS (448 accepted at the time of writing, 84 under review).

How to apply

We especially welcome applications from prospective editors who will contribute to the diversity of our board.

If you’re interested in applying please email me ([email protected]) with the words "JOSS editor application" in the title and include:

  • A short statement of interest
  • Your specialist subject domains/research topics
  • Links to any past JOSS reviews you’ve carried out (not required)
  • A summary of your experience with open source software including any links to projects on e.g. GitHub

✨✨✨ Please submit your applications before the 18th January, 2019. ✨✨✨

Selection process

The JOSS editorial team will review your applications and make their recommendations. Candidates ranking highly will then have a short (~30 minute) phone call/video conference interview with the editor-in-chief(s). Successful candidates will then join the JOSS editorial team for a probational period of 3 months before becoming a full member of the editorial team.

Changes to the JOSS editorial board

It’s been a busy couple of years and so we’re making a few changes to our editorial team to help us scale our editorial process.

Introducing our three new associate editors in chief

Lorena A Barba
Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the George Washington University, leading a research group in computational fluid dynamics, computational physics and high-performance computing. Member of the Board for NumFOCUS, a non-profit in support of open-source scientific software.

Daniel S. Katz
Works on computer, computational, and data research at NCSA, CS, ECE, and the iSchool at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has a strong interest in studying common elements of how research is done by people using software and data.

Kyle Niemeyer
Mechanical engineer in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University. Computational researcher in combustion, fluid dynamics, and chemical kinetics, with an interest in numerical methods and GPU computing strategies.

Introducing our editors emeritus

A few of our editors are stepping down from the day-to-day editorial duties at JOSS. Abigail Cabunoc Mayes, Tracy Teal, and Jake Vanderplas were amongst the earliest members of our editorial team and have been a huge positive influence on JOSS: their input and guidance on the journal as we scoped it in the early days was invaluable. Thomas Leeper and George Githinji joined us more recently and between them edited nearly 40 JOSS submissions.

We thank Abby, George, Tracy, Jake, and Thomas for all their contributions to JOSS!

Arfon Smith, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Open Source Software.

A new collaboration with AAS publishing

Today we’re starting something new at JOSS: we’re collaborating with American Astronomical Society (AAS) Journals to offer software reviews for some of the papers submitted to their journals. As part of this process, AAS Publishing will make a small contribution to our parent organization NumFOCUS to support the running costs of JOSS. We’re excited about raising the standard of research software in astronomy and astrophysics, and want to use this blog post as an opportunity to give a little background on the collaboration and how we plan to operate.

Ever since I announced JOSS back in May of 2016, I’ve always been clear that the primary purpose of a JOSS paper is to enable citation credit to be given to authors of research software. Raising the bar on the expected quality of research software has always been a strong motivation for the journal too.

After 30 months, with over 500 JOSS submissions (448 published at the time of writing) by more than 400 amazing volunteers, I think it’s safe to say it’s working1. One of my favorite things about working on JOSS is watching authors, reviewers, and editors all working together to improve a piece of software. Some of my favorite comments from the past couple of years:

Reviewing for @JOSS_TheOJ and #JOSE_theOJ (of the Open Journals: https://github.com/openjournals ) is an exercise in restoration of faith in the “scientific process”. Both times it has felt like I’m doing something worthwhile through a collaborative conversation with the author · @drvinceknight

@bovee Done! Thanks for all your feedback and for helping with this submission. I never thought publishing something could be so enjoyable · JOSS Review

Awesome, thanks everyone, the review process really made this package better! · JOSS Review

Some of you might know that my background is in the astronomical sciences, and over the past couple of years I’ve been delighted to see that the AAS has been working to open their journals to ‘software paper’ submissions https://journals.aas.org/policy-statement-on-software/. Take a moment to read this policy – it’s excellent. In many ways, AAS journals are among the most progressive of society-run journals out there, and have demonstrated a commitment to authors of research software with this policy. There’s a problem though: even though software papers are possible in many AAS publications, the AAS Journals don’t instruct their referees to review the software itself; there’s nothing like the formal JOSS review, and there’s no requirement for an open source license.

In discussions with the AAS team over the past year, we realized there was an opportunity to work together to improve the quality of the software associated with their submissions by giving authors of AAS papers a chance to publish with JOSS too.

How this works

Under this new collaboration, authors will submit their paper to one of the AAS journals as usual (https://journals.aas.org), if their submission includes a substantial software component to the paper, they can choose to submit a JOSS paper to accompany their AAS submission.

If they decide to follow this route, the authors will prepare and submit a JOSS paper as usual at http://joss.theoj.org and the software will go through the standard JOSS editorial and review process, in the open on GitHub https://github.com/openjournals/joss-reviews. As part of this review, it will be made transparent to all parties involved that the JOSS paper is associated with a submission to a AAS publication.

We’ll ask the reviewers to acknowledge that this is happening and if they’re not comfortable with this arrangement, then we will find an alternative reviewer.

Upon successful peer review of the AAS journal article and the JOSS submission, each paper will cite and link to the other.

The income

JOSS is a volunteer, community-run journal and we try to keep our running costs as low as possible. They’re not zero, however, and we’re always making small infrastructure changes to our toolchain that require real money to support development costs. We recognize, though, that adding money into any volunteer project like JOSS is not without risk and so we’re taking a few proactive steps to make the process as transparent as possible:

  • We’re keeping an open ledger showing the income we’ve received from this partnership, together with a summary of how the money has been spent (e.g. server costs, DOI registration fees with Crossref).
  • Any submission to JOSS that has come via AAS will be clearly marked as such in the review process. We’ll create some additional documentation on https://joss.readthedocs.io explaining what’s going on.
  • Should any of the reviewers not be comfortable with a contribution being made to JOSS/NumFOCUS based on their review, we will find an alternative reviewer.

What’s next?

Honestly, I’m not exactly sure. At this point, I consider this collaboration with AAS an experiment in sustainability and an opportunity to extend the reach of JOSS to a new audience. The JOSS review is designed to improve the quality of the software submitted, and increasingly I believe JOSS represents a badge of quality that has value in the wider community. Collaborating with AAS on this project is our first attempt at exploring this.

Arfon Smith, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Open Source Software.

  1. If you’d like more information about how JOSS works then our paper describing the first year is available here: https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj-cs.147