About the Journal

Focus and Scope

The Journal of Spatial Information Science (JOSIS) is an international, interdisciplinary, open-access journal dedicated to publishing high-quality, original research articles in spatial information science. The journal aims to publish research spanning the theoretical foundations of spatial and geographical information science, through computation with geospatial information, to technologies for geographical information use.

JOSIS encourages submissions from topics including, but not limited to spatial and spatiotemporal information systems; computational geometry, geocomputation, spatial algorithms; geovisualization, cartography, and geographical user interfaces; computing with spatiotemporal information under uncertainty; spatial cognition and qualitative spatial reasoning; spatial data models and structures; conceptual models of space and geoontology; distributed and parallel spatial computing, web-based GIS, and interoperability; context- and location-aware computing; and applications to GIS, spatial databases, location-based services, geosensor networks, and geosensor web. The journal publishes full-length original research articles, as well as survey-style review papers. In addition, the journal publishes shorter articles in three sections: reports from community activities, letters to the editors, and book reviews.

Peer review process

JOSIS aims to publish the highest quality papers in the field of geographic information science, within the shortest possible time in review. The journal aims to provide the most rapid reviews possible, without compromising quality. Currently, our average time from submission to first review is 57 days, and we aim for no paper to require more than 3 months for a first review. Submissions to JOSIS are double-blind peer reviewed by at least two anonymous reviewers. In addition, the editors may take into account comments on submissions in review made through the discussion module of the JOSIS web site, especially in cases where reviews are delayed. To avoid reviewer fatigue and excessively lengthy revision processes, all JOSIS submissions undergo at most two rounds of review. If, following revision, a paper is deemed not to have met the standard for acceptance, the submissions is automatically rejected. This policy is applies in all cases, even if further revisions might raise the submission to a publishable standard. For more information on the JOSIS reviewing process, see the Review Criteria below.

Open access policy

This journal provides immediate open access to all its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge, as well as helping to combat plagiarism. Authors retain copyright to their work, granting the Journal of Spatial Information Science (JOSIS) permission to publish your submission under a Creative Commons license. Articles are made freely available in PDF format for readers. Readers are not required to register in order to download and read articles.

Donations to JOSIS

JOSIS is non-fee, non-commercial, free to authors and to readers. However, even today, publishing is not free, and running JOSIS does incur some unavoidable costs (typically about $500 per year in costs for web hosting, domain name, and DOI registration). These costs are met entirely by volunteer donations. We gratefully accept donations of any size. Donations can be made via PayPal using any major credit card. Thank you.

Special features

JOSIS encourages researchers to propose topics for special feature issues. Special feature editors are expected to provide suggestions of appropriate reviewers, and are consulted by the EIC for advice on decisions for special issue papers. However, to ensure JOSIS standards are consistently applied, it is JOSIS policy that special feature submissions undergo exactly the same peer review process as regular JOSIS submissions, with the JOSIS EIC overseeing and making final decisions on acceptance of papers. As a consequence, it should be noted that the number of papers in a special feature is never a consideration in acceptance or rejection of submissions to a special feature issue (i.e., there is no minimum number of accepted papers in a special feature). Assuming at least one paper is accepted for a special feature issue, special feature editors are also invited to provide brief editorial introductions to the special feature article(s).

Review criteria

Reviewers are asked to consider the following six criteria when assessing submitted research articles.

  1. Scientific and technical quality: Is the submission technically sound? Are the submission's claims and conclusions adequately supported?
  2. Evaluation: Does the paper present an objective (experimental or theoretical) evaluation of its results? If not, how are the results evaluated, and is the evaluation convincing?
  3. Significance: How important is the work reported? Does the submission address a challenging theoretical or practical issue? Does the work integrate ideas from, or have interesting implications across multiple disciplines?
  4. Originality: Does the submission address a new issue, present a new approach to an issue, or put forward a novel combination of existing ideas or techniques? Does the submission correctly situate itself within the context of existing research literature?
  5. Style and presentation: Is the submission clearly written and logically structured? Does the submission provide adequate motivation and interesting conclusions? Are the results clearly described and critically evaluated?
  6. Scope and relevance to JOSIS: Is the paper closely related to the themes of the journal? Is the content interesting to the journal readership? Is the submission written in a form readable for a multi-disciplinary audience?

Prior publications

In keeping with common practice in computer science (e.g., see ACM Prior Publication Policy http://www.acm.org/publications/policies/sim_submissions/) JOSIS does allow the submission of revised or extended versions of papers that have appeared previously in refereed or formally reviewed publications elsewhere if:

  • The paper has been substantially revised and/or extended, and there is significant additional benefit from republication. As a rule of thumb, at least 1/3 of the material in the paper should be original and not previously published.
  • Upon submission, the author notifies the EIC that the paper has been previously published. Authors must also include with their submission a copy of the previously published article and a summary of the important differences along with their submission (which will be made available to reviewers).
  • The submitted paper cites the prior publication in section 1 of the paper, clearly identifying the relationship to the previous work.
  • The policies of the conference or publication involved in the prior publication do not prohibit its publication in JOSIS.

Where applicable, it is the authors' responsibility to ensure permission for publication is obtained from copyright holder of the prior publication. Simultaneous submissions, where the publication is currently under review for another outlet, are under no circumstances permitted, even if the submission would otherwise fulfill the criteria above. Issuing the paper as a technical report, posting the paper on a web site, or presenting the paper at a workshop or conference that does not publish formally reviewed proceedings does not disqualify it from JOSIS publication.

DigitalCommons respository

All published JOSIS articles (i.e., not submissions under review on the discussion forum) are archived on a institutional repository at the University of Maine: http://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/josis/. This repository is maintained entirely independently of JOSIS or indeed any single organization. Using the LOCKSS archiving system, the repository ensures that whatever the future holds, published JOSIS articles will remain open, online, and accessible in perpetuity.

Publication ethics

JOSIS is a member of COPE, the Committee on Publication Ethics. We endeavor to promote the highest standards of publication ethics, for authors, reviewers, and editors, and are committed to the COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Editors.

Two round review

A key component of the JOSIS review policy is that all JOSIS submissions undergo at most two rounds of review. This policy to helps avoid excessively-long review/revise cycles and reviewer fatigue. Submissions that are deemed not to be of acceptable standard after revision are automatically rejected from JOSIS. This policy is applied without exception, even in cases where it is likely that further revisions could raise the submission to a publishable standard.

Author and reader charges

JOSIS is non-fee, non-commercial, free to authors and to readers. We have no article processing charges (APC), and all published articles are immediately and freely available to readers.


Plagiarism involves misrepresenting another's ideas, words, or work as one's own. Self-plagiarism involves substantially reusing one's own work and writing without appropriate references.

Plagiarism and self-plagiarism are in clear violation of the ethical principles upheld by JOSIS. JOSIS is a member of COPE, the Committee on Publication Ethics.

In combatting plagiarism, in addition to our expert peer review process, all submitted articles under review but not yet accepted are available online in the discussion forum. We encourage readers who believe an article under review has been plagiarised or self-plagiarised to contact the Editors-in-Chief directly, and/or to comment on the discussion forum.

Reports of plagiarism and subsequent investigations will be handled in keeping with the COPE Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines, with the aim of supporting authors whose copyright has been breached or who have been the victims of plagiarism. Our Prior publications policy also makes clear the expectations for the level of original material in JOSIS articles and mechanisms for appropriate referencing of previously published work.