FOAS is working to ensure the continued success of the Journal of Statistical Software (JSS). Established in 1996, the JSS has become the preeminent journal for the publication of articles on new statistical software. As discussed in a lecture at The R User Conference, useR! 2014, presentation at The R User Conference, useR! 2014, keeping up with the growth of the journal is a challenge. To ensure that the JSS continues to thrive and expand, FOAS will raise funds to help pay for editorial assistants and other support staff.
JSS is free for readers and authors (i.e., both those who initially submit articles and those who finally publish in the journal) because almost all the labor is volunteer: starting from extra formatting done by the authors, over the review process carried out by the board and reviewers, to the final editing and publication by the journal. The only expenditures of the JSS are for the services of an associate editor who coordinates some aspects of the review process, the services of a programmer who periodically works on the web interface, and web hosting costs. These expenses have historically totaled about $20,000/year, and have been paid by the UCLA Statistics Department since the journal's inception. FOAS will help JSS diversify the sources of its financial support.
The modest financial requirements of JSS are in sharp contrast to those of the vast majority of the rest of the science publishing universe, and even the vast majority of the open access universe. According to a recent Nature news article,
the largest open-access publishers — BioMed Central and PLoS — charge $1,350–2,250 to publish peer-reviewed articles in many of their journals, although their most selective offerings charge $2,700–2,900 ... the average per-article charge for open-access publishers in 2011 was $660 ... Diane Sullenberger, executive editor for Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC, says that the journal would need to charge about $3,700 per paper to cover costs if it went open-access. But Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Nature, estimates his journal's internal costs at £20,000–30,000 ($30,000–40,000) per paper.
How can JSS publish a year's worth of papers for half of what it costs Nature to publish a single article? First, only free-as-in-beer software is used to produce JSS articles. Authors format their papers in the document preparation system LaTeX. Editors and reviewers are volunteer. Technical editing is volunteer. And finally, papers (and the software that accompanies them) are distributed only online, saving printing and mailing costs.
JSS is of great value to the computational statistics community for its unique format -- publishing articles alongside the statistical software that they describe -- as well as for the $0 price-tag it puts on access for readers and authors. FOAS will work to ensure that it continues to be a premier forum for the publication of new results in statistical computing in the years to come.