The Foundation for Open Access Statistics

April 23, 2013
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(This article was first published on OpenCPU » R-bloggers, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Earlier this month we blogged about Harvard Professors Gary King and Stuart Shieber providing advice to graduate students about open access, dissertations, and journal publishing. We also mentioned some of the great initiatives that facilitate open access publishing in the statistics community, like the Journal of Statistical Software (JSS), The R Journal and arxiv.org.

The importance of open access publishing is increasingly recognized by students, faculty and scholars in statistics. Perhaps less well understood is how such open access resources are managed and sustained. JSS for example is home to an impressive editorial board and peer review community, publishing many articles, reviews and software packages every month. It has grown rapidly into an invaluable resource for the statistical software community, which is confirmed by the highest TR impact factor of all journals in statistics and probability. Yet JSS is completely free: all material is publicly accessible, and it does not charge any author fees either as many commercial “open access” journals do. If you have ever submitted a paper to JSS, you might have gotten a glimpse of the work that goes into the editorial process, organizing peer review, communications, styling, website maintenance, etc. So who is pushing all of this? Well… as it currently stands things highly depend on volunteers. In particular a few individuals who over the last years have invested an unimaginable amount of time, energy and more to get the journal where it is today.

This week, Jan de Leeuw (Founder and Editor in Chief of JSS) announced a new initiative: The Foundation for Open Access Statistics. The mission of FOAS is to promote free software, open access publishing, and reproducible research in statistics. One immediate goal is to develop a more stable support structure for JSS to guarantee its continued existence and growth. Perhaps in the future, activities can be extended beyond JSS. Membership of FOAS is free, donations are appreciated. Readers of JSS are highly recommended to pay a visit to the FOAS website, and perhaps consider joining and/or making a contribution in one way or another. This can be the first step in shaping a more sustainable and scalable future for JSS. Thereby, the journal can continue to grow, and our community can stay a leader and role model in accessible, reproducible research.

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