The Editors of the Journal of Statistical Software on Its Success

Journal Interview, December 2011

Journal of Statistical Software

Journal of Statistical Software logo.

Recent analyses of Essential Science IndicatorsSM from Thomson Reuters show that the Journal of Statistical Software is having a growing influence in the field of Computer Science. Its current record in this field includes 325 papers cited a total of 865 times between January 1, 2001 and August 31, 2011. The journal's 2010 Impact Factor in Journal Citation Reports® from Thomson Reuters is 2.647.

The Journal of Statistical Software was founded in 1996 by Dr. Jan de Leeuw of the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Its current Editors-in-Chief are de Leeuw and Dr. Achim Zeileis of the Department of Statistics at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.

Below, ScienceWatch.com talks with de Leeuw and Zeileis about the journal's history and citation achievements.


SW: Did you expect the Journal of Statistical Software to become highly cited, or is this surprising to you?

This trend has been ongoing for at least five years, so it is not that surprising.

SW: How would you account for the high citation rate of the Journal of Statistical Software?

The popularity of topics such as Data Analysis, R, Open Source, Open Access, and Reproducibility.

SW: Would you give us a brief history of the journal?

We started JSS as a UCLA Statistics project in 1996. The motivation was promoting open source, and providing a peer-reviewed outlet for academic software oriented publications (so they could be used in merits and promotions). Although the journal (which is a Rails application, with an in-house editorial system in Rails) is housed and administered on the UCLA servers, we became an ASA (American Statistical Association) publication in 2006, at least in name.

Growth has been stunning—we went from one volume with four articles per year to six volumes with twelve articles per year. The JSS server gets about 15,000 hits per day, and articles are downloaded thousands of times. Volume 44, a special volume on "Magnetic Resonance Imaging in R," has just been published.

Journal of Statistical Software
"An image from the October 2011 Special Volume on "Magnetic Resonance Imaging in R."

SW: What historical factors have contributed to the success of the Journal of Statistical Software? Have there been specific developments in the fields served by the journal that may have contributed?

The rising popularity of (under various names) Statistics, Data Analytics, Visualization, and Machine Learning; the importance of computational statistics in statistics and in computer science; and the popularity of the R statistics system/language have all played a role.

In addition, there has been a change in attitude towards software, which is now being accepted as scholarly work that should be peer-reviewed, published, and cited. The willingness of the community to invest extra effort in an open-access journal, where more editing work than usual is done by the authors and the editorial board, is also a factor.

SW: What, in your view, is this journal's main significance or contribution in the field of Computer Science?

The boundary between Computer Science and Statistics is vague—especially in the computational area. So providing a publication and quick distribution medium for data analysis software along with reproducible applications—for R packages in particular—is the main contribution.

SW: How do you see your field(s) evolving in the next few years?

The sky is the limit. Data analytics (statistics, machine learning, visualization, cloud computing, large data sets, etc.) is growing exponentially fast.

SW: What role do you see for your journal?

I hope we can keep up, but there are resource/financial problems at the horizon. We have no business model to speak of, and relying on volunteer contributions as we do, we may not be able to keep up with the growth.End

Journal of Statistical Software
Jan de Leeuw and Achim Zeileis, Editors-in-Chief
American Statistical Association, publishers


JOURNAL OF STATISTICAL SOFTWARE MOST CURRENT MOST-CITED PAPER IN ESSENTIAL SCIENCE INDICATORS:

Baddeley A, Turner R, “spatstat: An R package for analyzing spatial point patterns,” J. Stat. Softw. 12(6): 1-42, January 2005 with 173 cites. Source: Essential Science Indicators from Clarivate Analytics.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

KEYWORDS: JOURNAL OF STATISTICAL SOFTWARE, DATA ANALYSIS, R, OPEN SOURCE, OPEN ACCESS, REPRODUCIBILITY, RAILS, AMERICAN STATISTICAL ASSOCIATION, GROWTH, SERVER, HITS, MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING, STATISTICS, DATA ANALYTICS, VISUALIZATION, MACHINE LEARNING, COMPUTATIONAL STATISTICS, CLOUD COMPUTING, LARGE DATA SETS.

 
 

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