Review Guidelines

This document describes the set of review criteria for packages applying to become PlanetaryPy-affiliated, and is intended for reviewers.

If you are reading this because you have accepted to review an affiliated package submission, thank you for taking the time to do this!

Note that unlike for a paper where the reviews from the referee are passed on to the authors, one of the coordinators will also review the package and will create a combined report from the submitted reviews, so the report you write may not be seen by the authors as-is. Reports should be emailed privately back to the coordinator that contacted you.

Reviewing a package involves assessing how well the package does in several areas, which we outline below. As a reviewer it is is expected that you review on these criteria, and it is sufficient to solely use these criteria. However, feel free to bring up any other aspect which you think is important. For the categories below, you can let us know which of the 'traffic light' levels you think the package should be rated as, in addition to providing comments in cases where things aren't perfect.

In general we use the following color-coding, which also determines if a package is accepted after its first review:

Red Affiliated packages can only be accepted into the list if there are no red scores. Existing affiliated packages that have one category that drops down to red don’t get automatically kicked out, but they should resolve this, otherwise the package will be de-listed.
Orange Having orange scores is fine, but is both a warning to the user that not all is perfect about the package, and an incentive for developers to improve and reach green.
Green This is the standard we want all packages to aim for. Packages that have all-green scores may be featured in a separate table for well-maintained and supported packages.

The document also includes monospaced keywords for the categories and levels. These are the keywords and values to be used in the registry.json file that is the canonical source for affiliated package information.

The categories in which we assess the package are the following:

  • Functionality (functionality)

  • Integration with the PlanetaryPy ecosystem (ecointegration)

  • Documentation (documentation)

  • Testing (testing)

  • Development status (devstatus)

  • Python version compatibility (pythonver)

Functionality (functionality)

We first need to make sure that the scope of the package is relevant for the affiliated package system. The scopes are:

Out Not useful for planetary work, or specific to one project/collaboration.
Specialized Useful to planetary scientists and engineers working in a very specific domain/field, or with a specific instrument and usable not just by a single collaboration but anyone within that domain.
General Package that is useful for planetary researchers across more than just a single field or instrument.

Note that general is not necessary better than specific, it’s just a way to make sure we can present these separately.

Integration with the PlanetaryPy ecosystem (ecointegration)

Next up, we need to check how well the package fits in to the existing PlanetaryPy ecosystem - does it make use of existing functionality, or does it duplicate it?

This factor is about what integration is possible given the current state of the PlanetaryPy project. If some functionality exists in PlanetaryPy core or affiliated packages, that is the yardstick for comparison here. During the early stages of the PlanetaryPy project, there is not much existing functionality, and most packages will be Good against this criteria (because there simply isn't much existant functionality to integate with).

None" Does not use PlanetaryPy core or affiliated packages anywhere where it should be possible, and/or uses other libraries instead.
Partial" Makes an effort to use PlanetaryPy core or affiliated packages in places, but still has other places where this could be done but isn’t.
Good" Uses PlanetaryPy core or affiliated packages wherever possible. Usage is not required, but if there is reasonable existing functionality, it should be used.

Documentation (documentation)

No code is complete without documentation! Take a look at the documentation (if it exists) and see how the package fares:

Insufficient" No documentation or some documentation, but very bare bones/minimal and incomplete or incorrect in a number of places. Governance documents that significantly diverge from those of the PlanetaryPy Project.
Partial" Reasonable documentation (which could be a very well written README), installation instructions and at least one usage example, but some parts missing.
Good" Extensive documentation, including at least: motivation/scope of package, installation instructions, usage examples, and API documentation. In terms of infrastructure, the documentation should be automatically built on or similar. If appropriate, one or more tutorials should be included.

This is also a good point to examine what 'governance documents', if any, exist for the submitted package. If they do exist, they should be compared with the PlaneatryPy Project governance documents, and any major divergences should be noted.

Testing (testing)

In our terminology, “tests” refer to those that can be run in an automated way, and we do not consider examples that need to be run and/or checked manually to be acceptable as the primary way of satisfying “tests”.

Insufficient" No tests or tests that are not trivial to run or don’t use a standard testing framework, or low test coverage (no exact threshold for coverage since this is not always easy to measure, but in this category most of the code is not covered).
Partial" A reasonable fraction of the code is covered by tests (approximately 50%), but still some parts of the code that are missing tests. To be in this category, packages should use a standard framework (unittest, pytest, nose, etc.) and be runnable with a single command.
Good" Test coverage is very high (approximately 90% or more), tests use a standard framework (unittest, pytest, nose, etc.) and are easy to run and continuous integration is used to ensure package stability over time.

Test coverage can be tricky to measure, so this will be carefully assessed for each package. The main idea is to determine whether it is low, medium or high compared to what one might realistically achieve.

Development status (devstatus)

Nonfunctional" Package is not or no longer fully functional, even if stable releases exist.
Heavy Stable releases exist, but still under heavy development (so API changes can be frequent).
Functional Stable releases exist and there are no active developers/maintainers but package remains mostly functional.
Functional Stable releases exist but the maintainers only make occasional comments/commits (and package is not in excellent condition, because otherwise it’s fine to have a completely stable package with little activity if it can be considered 'finished')
Good" Package has stable releases, and package is actively developed (as needed). A metric for active development is whether most recently-opened issues have some kind of reply from maintainers.

Python version compatibility (pythonver)

The PlanetaryPy Project requires that packages be compatible with Python version 3.6. Being compatible with later versions of Python is great, too, but must be compatible with at least 3.6.

Incompatible Not compatible with Python 3.6.
3.6 Compatible with Python 3.6.