Setting up Open Journal System for CVCE – Part I

This post gives an overview of the peculiarities of Open Journal System, an open source publication tool and might be of help when considered together with OJS’s documentation. OJS is developed by the Public Knowledge Project has become the chosen publishing platform for CVCE. OJS sports a variety of features which are of relevance for us: Multi-language support, xml integration and a clean and customizable look to it.

In this blog post I describe the process of setting up Transactions in Digital Humanities, the first publication by CVCE which publishes papers from last year’s DHLU conference.

I cannot really comment on the installation process itself since thankfully a colleague of mine in the IT department took on this task. There were a few hickups at first: some of the labels were not displayed correctly as shown in the screenshot below (not that this is not the final design).

OJS features a range of different user profiles, each with associated rights and access levels. Starting with “reader” and “author”, the roles include section editors, layout editors, proofreaders, editors, a journal manager and finally an admin. OJS explain their respective roles rather well. In an ideal world you would have a team of people, each with their respective task working on such a project who would seamlessly interact with each other and pass on tasks from one step to the next. In the real world, one person needs to manage a range of tasks. Thankfully, OJS lets users take on more than one role.

This can get confusing however: Once logged in you put on your author hat and submit an article using a detailed and nicely configurable submission process. This process includes the acknowledgement of copyright issues, metadata self-classification, file upload etc. Once an article is submitted, a section editor or an editor needs to assign a reviewer to the article. To do this, you need to click (in my mind: counter intuitively) on “My Journals” in the right navigation pane.

This brings you back to an overview page which bundles the different roles associated with your user id and provides handy updates on the progress of different publications.

As an editor you are free to assign reviewers, add their respective recommendations (accept/reject) and forward the task to layouters and proof-readers who are able to upload the edited versions of the files they have been working on. OJS stores these versions separately, albeit only the admin has access to the quite rudimentary file browser. OJS offers a quite handy, yet easily overlooked navigation through the publishing process:

You might find it hard to find the “Complete” commands which are associated with each task in the user interface, again in my mind counter intuitively, they are positioned in the middle of the page and are easily overlooked.

Once everything is proof-read and layouted, OJS asks you upload the final version of the file. I chose to edit an HTML file and to upload it directly in the Layout section, selecting the “Galley” option. Not that there seems to be an annoying bug which causes problems when parsing H2 (second level) captions. Replacing them with H3 (third level) captions in an editor solves this.

The test file I worked with came in ODT format. Images embedded in the text and exported to HTML will contain machine-created filenames which will not be recognized by OJS. Instead I embedded images manually in an editor, for example:

IMG SRC=”figure_1.jpg” NAME=”graphics1 WIDTH=741 HEIGHT=536>

The file will be uploaded and displayed above. Click “Edit” next to the uploaded file to change the label of the link to the uploaded file (I stick with “HTML”. Albeit a bit hidden, this editing section is quite useful for any revisions. Here you can replace the uploaded file in case you run into formatting problems and crucially: Upload pictures which accompany the text.

Note that once you close this editing section, you will jump back to the previous page but end up in the deviously similarly looking Copyediting section above the Layout section.

Continue by “Completing” the Proofreading section and the article should be published.

Helpful links:

Detailed User Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

OJS Forum


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