The Journal of Open Source Education
The Journal of Open Source Education (JOSE) is an educator friendly journal for publishing computational learning modules and educational software.
JOSE, pronounced [hoe-zay], is a sibling journal to the
Journal of Open Source Software
(JOSS), which publishes open research software. JOSE relies on the journal management
infrastructure and tools developed for JOSS.
JOSE publishes two types of articles that describe:
- open educational software tools
- open-source learning modules
Why is this journal needed?
Currently, academia lacks a mechanism for crediting efforts to develop software for
assisting teaching and learning or open-source educational content.
As a result, beyond personal motivation, there is little incentive to develop and share such material.
The Journal of Open Source Education (JOSE) is a scholarly journal with a formal peer
review process designed to improve the quality of the software or content submitted.
Upon acceptance into JOSE, a CrossRef DOI is minted and we list your paper on the JOSE website.
Who is behind this journal?
This is an initiative led directly by the Editorial Board on a purely volunteer basis.
There is no publisher seeking revenue through the journal. JOSE runs on the efforts
of the editors, authors, and reviewers, to communicate scholarly work to the open-source community without intermediaries.
What do you mean by "open-source educational materials"?
Examples include Jupyter notebooks or plaintext/markup language documents like LaTeX,
R Markdown, and ReST for course/lesson content and associated notes, with embedded
or associated code snippets/programs.
We do not mean openly available slides, lecture notes, or YouTube videos,
though these may be acceptable as supplementary materials. In addition, course syllabi
by themselves are not suitable for submission
(Syllabus may be more appropriate).
tl;dr: your course or lesson content must contain or use code to teach.
We are not focused exclusively on learning to code, but coding to learn.
What do you mean by "educational software tools"?
Open-source software that serves as educational technology; examples include
(but are not limited to) alternatives to learning management systems, autograders,
cloud systems for lesson delivery, student collaboration tools.
For these tools, peer review will follow a similar process as
We consider submissions from all areas of academia, although our computational focus
may result in more natural submissions from STEM fields—but all are welcome!
Submissions must be "feature complete" to the extent that another educator could adopt,
reuse, and/or extend for their purposes.
The ideal submission size is a course module, although entire courses are also acceptable.
Code of Conduct
Although spaces may feel informal at times, we want to remind authors and
reviewers (and anyone else) that this is a professional space. As such, the
JOSE community adheres to a code of conduct adapted
from the Contributor Covenant
code of conduct.
Authors and reviewers will be required to confirm they have read our
code of conduct,
and are expected to adhere to it in all JOSE
spaces and associated interactions.
Thank you for agreeing to review for JOSE! Follow this guide to help you complete your review,
and feel free to ask editors for more help using any medium (email, Twitter, comments on review
JOSE review principles
JOSE accepts two types of submissions, and your role as reviewer will be different depending on
the type. For software submissions, you will download, build, test and assess the software quality.
For learning modules, you will download and read, test code components, and assess content and
For both types of submissions, your goal as reviewer is to help authors improve the quality
of the submission to the standard for acceptance into JOSE. Categorical rejections are expected
only in cases of out-of-scope or otherwise ineligible submissions.
If authors decide they cannot meet your requests for improvements, however, they can withdraw
JOSE provides a checklist for review. You will check off each item, as you proceed with the
review, adding comments and suggestions in the Review issue thread. You may also post specific
issues on the main repository of the submitted software or module. Be sure to post links between
the JOSE Review issue and the submission repository's issue tracker, as needed.
JOSE aim and scope
We're witnessing a swelling of communities that develop and share tools and practices in
computationally enabled teaching and learning.
The founding editors of JOSE have been participating in these communities, and recognized
a need for a publication to house these scholarly products in a citable form.
Several journals already exist that publish academic papers reporting on education research:
the systematic collection and analysis of data on teaching methods and student learning, and
related qualitative studies.
JOSE has a different scope.
We're focused on the rich and growing work applying computational methods to enhance teaching
For example, a whole new genre of open educational resources (OER) has sprouted out of creating
and sharing Jupyter notebooks, in a variety of subjects benefitting from a computational treatment.
At the same time, members of open-source communities are creating software tools to automate
processes (like grading), facilitate access to computing for learning (via cloud systems), or
otherwise enhance teaching and learning with computing.
These are valuable contributions, independently of their possible use in education research,
and their creators merit publication and citation credit for them.
JOSE also aims to disseminate the best practices in creating these scholarly objects, and
increase quality via peer review.
We want to be a formal, yet open and collegial vehicle for sharing accumulated knowledge
in using computing to teach and learn.
The JOSE paper
Authors will submit a paper to accompany their software or learning module, consisting
of the following minimum items:
- Title, and author list with affiliations
- Description of the software or learning module
- Statement of need
- Key references, including the submission archive
Detailed documentation should be present in the repository of the submitted software or
module, is reviewed there, and does not need to be included in the paper.
The submission should be open, under the
Any text content or graphical objects should be under a Creative Commons license (ideally CC-BY)
and code components should be under an
License information must be clearly visible in the submission's online repository, which must
include a plain-text LICENSE file.
Acceptable: A plain-text LICENSE file with the contents of an OSI-approved license
Not acceptable: A phrase such as 'MIT license' in a README file
Statement of need
A key component of the JOSE paper is a statement by the authors, explaining the contribution
made by the submitted artifacts to computationally enabled teaching and learning, and
describing how they might be used by others.
The criterion is less one of novelty, than need: submissions targeting subjects or
applications already addressed by other resources are eligible, if the authors make
a case for why they might be adopted by learners or other instructors.
The online repository of the software or learning module needs to contain guidelines
for potential contributors who may want to: submit changes, make improvements or report issues.
Specific requirements for software submissions
Documentation: The software repository should contain enough documentation
to understand the functionality of the software, to guide through the build process
(including a list of dependencies), and to complete examples of use.
Tests: Software quality depends on testing. Ideally, the software should
include an automated test suite, but it's also acceptable to include documented manual steps
to test the functionality of the software.
Examples: Potential users of new software rely on well-documented examples
to get started. Reviewers will look for examples of use that illustrate beginner and advanced
Good: A package management file such as a
OK: A list of dependencies to install
Bad (not acceptable): Reliance on other software not listed by the authors
Specific requirements for learning modules
A learning module should cover a substantial portion of material to achieve plainly clear
learning objectives. The ideal module consists of a few lessons, building up a well-rounded
topic, as a full tutorial or part of a term or semester course. This direction follows
trends and recommendations to 'modularize' courses, both online and on-campus—one example is the
2014 report on the Future of MIT Education.
The module should contain well-written and complete presentation of the material, weaved with the
computatational portions and sample output.
Instructional design of the module should be intentional and apparent. For example, the weaving
of text, images, code and output might apply the
worked-example effect, deliberately.
The authors should briefly explain their design in the JOSE paper.
There should be clear guidelines for third-parties wishing to:
- Contribute to the software/module
- Report issues or problems with the software/module
- Seek support
What happens if the submission I'm reviewing doesn't meet the JOSE criteria?
We ask that reviewers grade submissions in one of three categories: 1) Accept 2) Minor Revisions
3) Major Revisions. Unlike some journals, we do not reject outright submissions requiring major
revisions. we like to give the author as long as they need to make these
Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the George Washington University, leading a research group in computational fluid dynamics, computational physics and high-performance computing. Member of the Board for NumFOCUS, a non-profit in support of open-source scientific software.
Ian Hawke is an Associate Professor in Applied Mathematics at the University of Southampton. His research focuses on relativistic fluid dynamics to compute the gravitational waves from neutron star mergers. He teaches numerical methods and mathematical computing across STEM subjects, with particular interest in postgraduate training.
Kathryn Huff is an Assistant Professor in Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on modeling and simulation of advanced nuclear reactors and fuel cycles. She also advocates for best practices in open, reproducible scientific computing.
Attending surgeon at Groote Schuur Hospital, Head of Postgradute Surgical Research. and Head of Surgical Education in the Department of Surgery at The University of Cape Town. He serves as the Health Sciences Faculty member on the University Senate Committee on online education. His research and educational passions include machine learning and data science, open science, open source software, and open educational resource development.
Erin McKiernan is a professor in the Department of Physics, Biomedical Physics Program at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, specializing in experimental and theoretical neuroscience and cellular biophysics. She teaches several courses, including biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, and human physiology. She is currently developing electrophysiology laboratory practicals as open educational resources.
Jason K. Moore is an assistant teaching professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, Davis, with teaching and research interests in multibody dynamics, biomechanics, engineering computation, and engineering education. He is very active in the Scientific Python community where he is a core developer of the SymPy and PyDy projects.
Shannon Quinn is an Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia, jointly appointed in the Departments of Computer Science and Cellular Biology. His research focuses on modeling diseases at the cellular level using a variety of imaging and machine learning techniques. He also advocates for best practices in open and reproducible research and education.
Charles is a Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. He also works on developing standards for teaching and learning technology. Previously, he was the Executive Director of the Sakai Foundation and the Chief Architect of the Sakai Project. He has written several books including Using the Google App Engine, Python for Informatics, High Performance Computing, and Sakai: Free as in Freedom.
Associate Professor in the Mathematics Department at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan USA.
In this position he teaches 2-3 classes a semester, conducts research (mostly in the teaching and learning of undergraduate mathematics, but sometimes in pure mathematics),
and serves the university and broader community in a number of ways.
Executive Director of Data Carpentry and Adjunct Professor in the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action at Michigan State University. Her research background in is microbial metagenomics and bioinformatics, and she has been a developer and contributor to several open source bioinformatics projects. She also focuses on best practices in data analysis software development.
Rachel Thomas is a is a deep learning researcher, and co-founder of fast.ai, which offers free courses in deep learning, a software library and conducts research in AI. She is Director of Center for Applied Data Ethics at the University of San Francisco Data Institute, has developed many popular courses, and is a prolific speaker and writer.
Research Software Engineer at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo working full-time on Project Jupyter; Python Software Foundation Fellow and former Director; core developer on CPython, Jupyter, AnitaB.org’s open source projects, and PyLadies.
Cost and Sustainability Model
The Journal of Open Source Education is an open access journal committed to running at minimal costs, with zero publication fees (article processing charges) or subscription fees.
Under the NumFOCUS nonprofit umbrella, JOSE is now eligible to seek grants for sustaining its future. With an entirely volunteer team, JOSE is seeking to sustain its operations via donations and grants, keeping its low cost of operation and free service for authors.
In the spirit of transparency, below is an outline of our current running costs:
- Annual Crossref membership: $275 / year (shared with JOSS)
- JOSE paper DOIs: $1 / accepted paper
- JOSE website hosting (Heroku): $19 / month
Copyright of JOSE papers is retained by submitting authors and accepted papers are subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Any code snippets included in JOSE papers are subject to the MIT license regardless of the license of the submitted software package under review.