The Harvard Data Science Review (HDSR) launched in 2019 with a goal of providing centralized, authoritative, and peer-reviewed content that would help define and shape data science as a scientifically rigorous and globally impactful multidisciplinary field. Less than two years in, the academic community has begun to take notice.

The free, open-access platform recently won the 2021 Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE) Award for best new journal in science, technology, and medicine from the Association of American Publishers. The PROSE awards annually recognize the best published scholarly works and celebrate authors, editors, and publishers whose works have led to significant advancements in their respective fields. This year, a panel of 23 judges selected winners from a total of 130 finalists and an initial pool of 595 entries.

“Data science opens up thrilling possibilities for understanding and shaping the world, and HDSR offers a powerful platform for sharing those possibilities with an increasingly wide readership” said Harvard President Larry Bacow. “The PROSE award is richly deserved, and I am excited to see how the initiative helps the field grow and change in the years to come.”

The Harvard Data Science Review was launched by the Harvard Data Science Initiative (HDSI) and MIT Press as a cross-university initiative working at the nexus of computer science, statistics, and related disciplines from engineering to philosophy to urban science. It features foundational thinking, research milestones, educational innovations, and major data science applications with emphases on reproducibility, replicability, and readability.

The journal combines elements of a premier research journal with those of a cutting-edge educational publication and a popular magazine to educate readers on fundamental data science work that intersects with issues that impact society and highlight innovative applications from industry, governments, NGOs, and others.

“At MIT, we believe data science will become increasingly useful and important to society and will influence every academic discipline,” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Rafael Reif. “HDSR reflects this broad view. The PROSE award is terrific recognition for the MIT Press, for the efforts of [editor in chief] Xiao-Li Meng and HDSR not only to advance understanding of data science, but to explore how it can have the greatest positive impact on the world.”

The online journal is published quarterly. It features research articles, discussion papers, special columns, interviews, conversations, short essays, news, and stories. HDSR has looked at a wide range of topics, highlighting everything from basics of data science to how it can affect K‒12 education and the workplace. Last summer, it published a special issue dedicated to COVID-19 with a goal of fostering innovation and keeping the conversation going about how data science can help meet many COVID-19 challenges.

“As the world continues to examine and tackle complex problems — from personal challenges that impact our own lives to global crises that threaten humanity — it becomes increasingly critical that our decisions are rooted in the most sound and inclusive science possible,” said Rick McCullough, Harvard’s vice provost for research, who oversees HDSI and HDSR. “The HDSR shines a light on the power and potential of such collaborative data.”