rOpenSci | Enhancing Software Peer Review with GitHub Automation · Community Call
December 7, 2021

Enhancing Software Peer Review with GitHub Automation

Software peer-review involves coordinating and tracking many moving parts: software submissions, testing and diagnostics, assignment of editors and reviewers, and logging the progression of submissions through revisions and acceptance.

On this call we will discuss how rOpenSci has worked with The Journal of Open Source Software to extend JOSS’s approach of chatops-driven publishing into a new GitHub chat-bot that manages our editorial process: assigning tasks, tagging issues, running tests on software submissions, and returning reports to reviewers and editors, logging reviews in an external (Airtable) database, all from the comfort of a GitHub issue comment. Chat-ops automation has been critical to JOSS’s success, and shows huge promise for automating even more tedious tasks like frequent software checks and compliance with best practices.

We will show how our new review bot improves the author and editor experience, demonstrate how other teams can use and customize the bot, and discuss how this approach can be extended to tackle other automation, code review, and reproducibility challenges.

See below for speaker bios and resources.

Index of video:

  • 0:00 Stefanie Butland, introduction
  • 4:03 Karthik Ram
  • 9:50 Arfon Smith
  • 20:42 Maëlle Salmon
  • 31:39 Noam Ross
  • 42:48 Q & A


Portrait of Karthik Ram
Karthik Ram

Karthik Ram is a Senior Research Scientist with the Berkeley Institute for Data Science, Director and Co-founder of rOpenSci, and Editor for rOpenSci Software Peer Review. He has a PhD in Ecology and Evolution. Karthik on GitHub, Twitter, Website, rOpenSci

Portrait of Arfon Smith
Arfon Smith

Arfon Smith is a Staff Product Manager for Data at GitHub and Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Open Source Software, a developer friendly, open access journal for research software packages. He has a PhD in Astrochemistry. Arfon on GitHub, Twitter, Website

Portrait of Maëlle Salmon
Maëlle Salmon

Maëlle Salmon is a R(esearch) Software Engineer, part-time with rOpenSci where she, among other things, maintains the guide rOpenSci Packages: Development, Maintenance, and Peer Review. She also created the R-hub blog and co-wrote the book HTTP testing in R with Scott Chamberlain. She lives in Nancy, France. Maëlle has a PhD in Statistics. Maëlle on GitHub, Twitter, Website, rOpenSci.

Portrait of Noam Ross
Noam Ross

Noam Ross is Principal Scientist for Computational Research at EcoHealth Alliance and rOpenSci Software Review Lead. He co-leads the rOpenSci Statistical Software Testing and Peer Review project. Noam has a PhD in Ecology. Noam on GitHub, Twitter, Website