Peer Review Guidelines & Policies#

Review Process Guidelines#

pyOpenSci packages are reviewed for quality, fit, scope, documentation and usability. The review process is similar to a manuscript review, however it has a stronger focus on Python packaging best practices.

Unlike a manuscript review, our peer review process is an ongoing conversation. Once all major issues and questions are addressed, the review editor package will make a decision to accept, hold, or reject the package.

Rejections are usually done early in the process, before the review process begins. In rare cases a package may also not be on-boarded into the pyOpenSci ecosystem after review & revision.

It is ultimately the editor’s decision on whether or not to reject the package based on how the reviews are addressed.

Review communication approach#

Communication between authors, reviewers and editors takes place on GitHub. You can, however choose to contact the editor by email if needed.

When submitting a package, please make sure that your GitHub notification settings are setup to notify you when you receive feedback on the review issue.

Submitting your package for review in other venues#

We recommend submitting your package for review with pyOpenSci before:

  • publishing to a package repository, such as PyPI and conda-forge;

  • submitting a software paper describing the package to a journal.

Review feedback may result in major improvements and updates to your package, including changes that could be break package functionality.

Applying reviewer or editor recommendations to your package can improve your user’s experience with future versions of your package even if your package is already published on PyPI or conda-forge.

Please do not submit your package for review while it or an associated manuscript is also under review at another venue, as this may result on conflicting requests for changes from two sets of reviewers.

Publication with Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS)#

If you have previously published your software package with JOSS, you can still submit it to pyOpenSci for review. This provides:

  • Increased visibility of your package as a vetted tool within the scientific python ecosystem

  • We will also keep in touch with you as a maintainer to support long term maintenance. If you need to step down from maintaining your package we will help find a new maintainer and/or help sunset the tool.

Conflict of interest for reviews and editors#

Following criteria are meant to be a guide for what constitutes a conflict of interest for an editor or reviewer. The potential editor or reviewer has a conflict of interest if:

  • The authors with a major role are from the potential reviewer/editor’s institution or institutional component (e.g., department)

  • Within in the past three years, the potential reviewer/editor has been a collaborator or has had any other professional relationship with any person on the package who has a major role

  • The potential reviewer/editor serves as a member of the advisory board for the project under review

  • The potential reviewer/editor would receive a direct or indirect financial benefit if the package is accepted

  • The potential reviewer/editor has significantly contributed to a competitor project.

  • There is also a lifetime COI for the family members, business partners, and thesis student/advisor or mentor.

In the case where none of the associate editors can serve as editor, an external guest editor will be recruited to lead the package review.

After Acceptance: Package Ownership and Maintenance#

Package authors are expected to maintain and develop their software and retain ownership of it after acceptance into pyOpenSci, as per the peer review agreement acknowledged upon submission. This maintenance commitment should last for at least two years. The pyOpenSci team will not interfere with day-to-day tool maintenance unless explicitly added as collaborators.

If you need to step down from maintaining your accepted pyOpenSci package, please promptly notify the pyOpenSci Editor-in-Chief or Software Review Lead. pyOpenSci will collaborate with you to either:

  • Find a new maintainer or

  • Archive the tool, depending on what best suits your specific scientific Python package.

We will reach out to our package maintainers each year to verify the package is actively maintained and to see if there are any updates we can highlight through our social channels.

Maintenance Tracking#

pyOpenSci is building a system to track package metrics and activity, including issues, pull requests, and dates of the last release and last commit to the package repository. Activity is defined as a repository commit, pull request or release.

We will flag packages that haven’t been updated within a 1 year/ 12 month time period based on activity. Packages with no activity after 12 months will be flagged. At that time, pyOpenSci editorial team member will contact the package maintainers to evaluate the maintenance status of their package.

Package Maintenance and Maintainer Responsiveness#

If, after one year, package maintainers are unresponsive to requests for package fixes or messages from the pyOpenSci team, we will initiate discussions about the package’s ongoing inclusion within the pyOpenSci ecosystem.

In cases where a package is heavily used by the community, we may collaborate with the community to identify reasonable next steps, such as assisting in finding a new maintainer. If a solution for ongoing package maintenance is not found, the package will be archived within the pyOpenSci ecosystem.

If a sub-community decides to fork and maintain the package, we are open to working with the new maintainers to register the newly forked package within our ecosystem. The original package will be archived with a link to the new fork.

Quality Commitment#

pyOpenSci strives to develop and promote high quality research software. To ensure that your software meets our criteria, we review all of our submissions as part of the Software Peer Review process. We expect that you will continue to maintain a package that has been accepted continually.

Despite our best efforts to support contributed software, errors are the responsibility of individual maintainers. Buggy, unmaintained software may be removed from our suite at any time. We also ask maintainers that they get in touch with us if they do need to step down from maintaining a tool.

Requesting package removal from the pyOpenSci ecosystem#

In the unlikely scenario that a contributor of a package requests removal of their package from our ecosystem, we retain the right offer the last / most recently released version of that package in our ecosystem for archival purposes only.