In episode 20, we interviewed Arfon Smith, Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS) and Head of Data Science at the Space Telescope Science Institute. We talked with him about the creation of JOSS and its role in peer reviewed publications of research software. He described to us how to start a peer reviewed scientific journal and the challenges and competition that he faces. We chatted about how, by using automation, reusing existing tools and staying nimble, JOSS manages to publish with low operational costs. We also discussed about the submission process and what is reviewed during the peer review. Finally, we had a discussion about the importance of FLOSS and in science and how science and FLOSS could inspire each other.
Arfon Smith is the Head of the Data Science Mission Office at Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. Previously he was at GitHub, helping to bring open source to academia.
A lapsed academic with a passion for new models of scientific collaboration, he’s used big telescopes to study dust in space, built sequencing pipelines in Cambridge and has engaged millions of people in online citizen science by co-founding the Zooniverse.
He’s also been known to publish the odd paper and has also accidentally built a few academic journals in his time too including, most recently, the Journal of Open Source Software.
The Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS) is an open source, developer-friendly journal for research software packages. It’s 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 primary purpose of a JOSS paper is to enable citation credit to be given to authors of research software and we have a rigorous peer review process and a first-class editorial board (http://joss.theoj.org/about#editorial_board) highly experienced at building (and reviewing) high-quality research software.
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