In a nutshell

The Journal of Open Source Software is a developer friendly, open access journal for research software packages. JOSS is designed to make it as easy as possible to create a software paper for your work. If a piece of software is already well documented, then paper preparation (and submission) should take no more than an hour.

The JOSS paper is deliberately extremely short and only allowed to include:

  • A summary describing the high-level functionality and purpose of the software for a diverse, non-specialist audience.
  • A clear Statement of Need that illustrates the research purpose of the software.
  • A list of key references, including to other software addressing related needs.
  • Mention (if applicable) of any past or ongoing research projects using the software and recent scholarly publications enabled by it.

JOSS papers are not permitted to contain novel results.

Our checklist-driven review process is completely open, happens on GitHub, is assisted by our editorial robot Whedon, and is designed to improve the quality of the software being submitted. The JOSS review process is an extension of the practices developed by the rOpenSci project.

Goals and intentions

The primary goal of JOSS is to provide a mechanism for receiving career credit as an author of open source research software through citations to JOSS papers. A secondary (but very important) motivation is to improve the quality of open source research software available.

Project status
Review process
  • Review requested by
  • Reviewer selected by
  • Public interaction
  • Author response
  • Decision
    Binary decision
Review policy
  • Review coverage
    Complete paper, Specific aspects
  • Reviewer identity known to
    Editor or service
  • Competing interests
    Not included
Social Networks
Review features
  • Manuscript hosting
  • Review of code or data
  • Criteria for inclusion

    JOSS publishes articles about research software. This definition includes software that: solves complex modeling problems in a scientific context (physics, mathematics, biology, medicine, social science, neuroscience, engineering); supports the functioning of research instruments or the execution of research experiments; extracts knowledge from large data sets; offers a mathematical library, or similar.

    In addition, we have the following criteria for 'in-scope' submissions:

    • The software should be open source as per the OSI definition.
    • The software should have an obvious research application.
    • The software should be a significant contribution to the available open source software that either enables some new research challenges to be addressed or makes addressing research challenges significantly better (e.g., faster, easier, simpler).
    • The software should be feature-complete (no half-baked solutions) and designed for maintainable extension (not one-off modifications). Minor ‘utility’ packages, including ‘thin’ API clients, are not acceptable.
  • Number of scholarly outputs commented on
  • Metrics
  • Results summary

    In the past three years we have published close to 750 papers.

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