There are whole journals based primarily around publishing open source tools. The primary example of that is "Bioinformatics", where a lot of the open-source tools are published. We've also had luck publishing in the Nucleic Acids Research yearly special webservers issue, since we make Galaxy wrappers around our tools.
You can also publish on tools in venues like Nature Methods, but it's vastly more difficult to get in there if your paper is purely on a tool and it's not something game-changing like
Regarding what's actually needed to publish a tool, you will typically need the following:
- Decent documentation. I ask for this as a reviewer and am asked about it when I submit things.
- Easy installation. No one wants to spend two hours trying to compile your tool, so make sure there's a conda package or at least a docker container for it.
- Test data. Without this your reviewers and users will likely not be happy since they won't be able to try it out on something small.
For the actual submission you'll tend to need comparisons to other tools. I'm generally not a big fan of this, but you will find that some reviewers will demand it (assuming there are other tools that do something similarish to yours).