Getting Started With OJS

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Introduction to OJS

Open Journal Systems (OJS) is a journal management and publishing system that has been developed by the Public Knowledge Project (PKP).

OJS assists the user with each step of the refereed publishing process. OJS supports each step of the submission, review, editing, formatting, publication, and indexing processes. Furthermore, OJS is an open source software made freely available to journals and currently supports over thirty languages. OJS offers journals the option of considering online open access publishing, but also supports subscription-based or partial-subscription publication models.

With OJS, users can manage many aspects of the serial publishing workflow, including managing submissions, editing and indexing content, maintaining subscriptions, among others. OJS also uses a comprehensive User Role system to determine what tasks users can do in the platform and defines a suggested workflow for Journal Managers starting out using OJS. However, OJS is flexible in their workflow and required User Roles so that Journal Managers, regardless of staff size or journal type, can still use OJS. For example, a smaller journal might assign an Editor to guide submissions through the entire editing process whereas a larger journal might assign multiple users to Copyeditor, Layout Editor, and Proofreader roles.

Additionally, just because OJS enables the user to guide submissions through the entire process of review, editing, and publication, one can choose to use OJS for some or one of these stages. For example, one might decide to use OJS only to organize submissions and start the review process. Alternatively, one might decide to manage the submission, review, and editing processes outside of OJS and merely use OJS as a publication platform.

Finally, if you have been using a different online journal publishing platform and wish to migrate your journal into OJS, you can import any Back, Current, or Future volumes or issues into your OJS instance. Please note, however, that this does require some familiarity with XML (consult here for more information).

Northeastern University Libraries and the Digital Scholarship Group (DSG) supports OJS. If you wish to inquire about starting your own journal using OJS at Northeastern, please contact us by filling out the form located here.

There are quite a few resources that can guide a user through the various steps of using and managing an OJS installation:

User Roles

“OJS uses a comprehensive roles system to divide work between users, assign workflows, and limit access to different parts of the system” (Roles in OJS). Users of OJS can be assigned multiple roles within the same journal or assigned different roles for multiple journals within the same installation. Please note that for many journals Editors or Section Editors often fill the roles of Copyeditors, Layout Editors, and/or Proofreaders depending on the individual journal’s task assignment and policies directing workflow.

For more information on User Roles in OJS, please consult: User Roles in OJS

Creating and Setting Up Your Journal

Creating a New Journal

Creating a new journal in OJS is a fairly simple process but only the Site Administrator has permission to do so. If you are interested in creating a new journal but are not the Site Administrator, please contact them.

For step-by-step instructions on how to create a new journal in OJS, consult: Creating a New Journal

Setting Up Your Journal

Once a journal has been created by the Site Administrator, the Journal Manager can begin the 5-Step process for setting up a new journal. There are two easy ways to navigate to the Setup page. Sign in to an account that has been assigned the Journal Manager role, and click on “User Home” in the navigation bar. There is a quick link to “Setup” on the User Home screen next to “Journal Manager.” Alternatively, if one clicks the “Journal Manager” link, one can choose “Setup” on the next page.

For a more detailed look at the 5-Step Setup Process in OJS, consult our Journal Setup Guide.

Managing Users and Creating Accounts

OJS supports multiple ways for creating user accounts. Depending on your journal’s registration settings (Step 4.3 Management, Journal Setup) some users (Readers, Reviewers, Authors) can self-register for your journal content or you may require the Journal Manager to create and register each user account.

For more detailed instructions on User Management, consult: User Management

Designing your Journal Site

Theme Options

OJS supports a several preset themes that will change how your journal website looks. In Step 5. “The Look” of the Journal Setup, you can select your theme using the drop-down menu in 5.6 Journal Management.

For screenshots of each OJS theme, please consult: Theme Guide

You can also upload a custom CSS stylesheet if you wish, but that will require more extensive knowledge of HTML and CSS. If you are interested in uploading a custom stylesheet please consult with your Site Administrator and OJS’s Documentation for making Stylesheet Modifications.

The Submission Process

OJS allows users to submit articles or other submission types (defined by the journal) directly into the journal site. These submissions are then organized and assigned to Editors or Section Editors, who then direct accepted submission into the Review process.

For more detailed instructions on the Submission Process, consult: The Submission Process

The Review Process

Once the Editor has assigned a submission to another Editor, a Section Editor, or to themself, they can begin guiding the submission through the review process. The steps involved in the Review Process include assigning a Reviewer, creating a Review Form, reviewing submissions, and making decisions on reviewed submissions.

For more detailed instructions on the Review Process, please consult: The Review Process

For quick video tutorials on the Review Process, please consult Modules 9, 10, and 11 in PKP School’s “OJS for Editors” course (“Assigning a Reviewer,” “The Reviewer’s Steps,” and “Responding to the Reviews”).

The Editorial Process

In OJS, journals can manage and complete the entire Editorial Process on site, including Copyediting, Layout Editing, and Proofreading. OJS defines separate user roles for Copyeditors, Layout Editors, and Proofreading (see “User Roles” for more information on the responsibilities and capabilities of each user role) and this guide will walk you through each step of the editing process.

For detailed instructions on the Editorial Process in OJS, please consult: The Editorial Process.

The Publication Process

One of the main features of OJS, in addition to overseeing the entire submission, review, and editing processes in platform, is that it has a relatively simple system for publishing and displaying articles on your OJS Site. It is the Editor’s responsibility, working closely with the Journal Manager, to create issues. The Editor can create “Back Issues,” “Current Issues” and “Future Issues,” then assigns submissions to the appropriate issue as they complete the submission, review, and editing processes.

For more on the publication process, consult: The Publication Process