OSI Welcomes the Journal of Open Source Software as Affiliate Member

Open Source Initiative Extends Support for Computational Science and Engineering Research and Researchers.

PALO ALTO, Calif. – March 28, 2017 — The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), a global non-profit organization formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source software and communities, announced that the Journal Of Open Source Software (JOSS), a peer-reviewed journal for open source research software packages, is now an OSI affiliate member.

JOSS is a response to the growing demand among academics to directly publish papers on research software. Typically, academic journals and papers related to software focus on lengthy descriptions of software (features and functionality), or original research results generated using the software. JOSS provides a means for researchers to directly publish their open source software as source code: the complete set of software with build, installation, test, and usage instructions.

The primary purpose of a JOSS paper is to enable authors to receive citation credit for research software, while requiring minimal new writing. Within academia, it is critical for researchers to be able to measure the impact of their work. While there are many tools and metrics for tracking research outputs, JOSS fills the gap for software source code, which doesn’t look like traditional academic research papers, allowing it to be treated as another form of research output.

JOSS has a rigorous peer-review process designed to improve the quality of the software product, and a first-class editorial board experienced at building (and reviewing) high-quality research software. Review criteria assess the research statement of need, installation and build instructions, user documentation and contributing guidelines. The software is also required to have an OSI-approved license and a code of conduct. Authors must include examples of use, tests, and suitable API documentation. Reviewers and authors participate in an open and constructive review process focused on improving the quality of the software—and this interaction itself is subject to the JOSS Code of Conduct.

OSI Board Director Stefano Zacchiroli noted, “JOSS is a clever hack. It addresses the idiosyncrasy of traditional academic publishing that still forces researchers to write bogus papers in order to get credit for the impactful research software they write. By requiring that published software be released under an OSI-approved license, and that a third party archive the software and associate the archive with a DOI, JOSS ensures that published research software enters the software commons and that it be always available for anyone to use, modify, and share.”

“On the face of it, writing papers about software is a strange thing to do, especially if there’s a public software repository, documentation and perhaps even a website for users of the software. But writing a paper is currently the most recognized method for academics to gain career credit, as it creates a citable entity that can be referenced by other authors.” said Arfon Smith, JOSS Editor-in-Chief. “The papers JOSS publishes are conventional papers, other than their short length: the journal is registered with the Library of Congress and has an ISSN. Every JOSS paper is automatically assigned a Crossref DOI and is associated with the ORCID profiles of the authors. If software papers are currently the best solution for gaining career credit for software, then shouldn’t we make it as easy as possible to create a software paper?”

In recent years, the OSI has made significant investments in higher education: extending the OSI Affiliate Member Program to institutions of higher education, creating educational materials, sponsoring curriculum development, and even developing a complete online course. Supporting academic research enabled by openly licensed software is a natural progression of the OSI’s work in higher education.

The OSI Affiliate Member Program is available at no-cost to non-profit or educational institutions and government agencies—independent groups with a commitment to open source—that support OSI’s mission to raise awareness and adoption of open source software and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community.

About The Journal Of Open Source Software

Founded in 2016, the Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS) is a developer-friendly peer-reviewed academic journal for research software packages, designed to improve the quality of the submitted software and to make software citable as a research product. JOSS is an open-access journal committed to running at minimal cost, with zero publication fees or subscription fees. With volunteer effort from the editorial board and community reviewers, donations, and minimal infrastructure cost, JOSS can remain a free community service. Learn more about JOSS at: http://joss.theoj.org.

About the Open Source Initiative

Founded in 1998, the Open Source Initiative protects and promotes open source by providing a foundation for community success. It champions open source in society through education, infrastructure and collaboration. The (OSI) is a California public benefit corporation, with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. For more information about the OSI, or to learn how to become an affiliate, please visit: http://opensource.org.

Media Contact
Ed Schauweker