This guide will help you publish a journal with Open Journals System.

Publishing with Open Journal Systems (OJS)

The Planning Process

There are some broad areas that journal managers need to think about, but it's attention to the details that will make setting up and running your journal an easier process.

  • The lists and worksheet below give you an idea of what questions you need to answer.
  • Following best practices ensures that your journal meets the highest standards; this is a must if you want your journal to be included in indexing and abstracting services.
  • The resources and tips provide further examples and help.
Student Journals

Student journals operate on the same guidelines as other journals but with a few extra planning points.

  • Journals must have at least one UTA faculty advisor.
  • Journals must include a plan for continuity, i.e., staff transitions.

We will schedule an annual meeting with student journal manager/editors to ensure that training needs are being met.

Resources & Tips

Journal Management
Editorial Board
  • Editorial Boards. Springer provides a definition and gives objectives and recruiting tips.
  • Stockholm University Press provides information about the role of the editorial board, as well as an explanation of the role of the editor and the editorial team.
  • The PKP School unit on Becoming an Editor includes a module on the editorial board that describes the responsibilities and duties that board members might fulfill.
  • Author guidelines are helpful both to authors and to the journal. Well written, detailed guidelines help authors determine whether your journal is the best fit for their article and ensure that basic content and formatting are in place. Check author guidelines for open access journals and journals in your subject area for ideas.
  • A checklist will help authors ensure that requirements are met and the article is ready to be submitted.
  • Consider including in the author guidelines/checklist a request that the author be mindful of standard guidelines for optimizing their article so it can be easily found. Here's a brief explanation and some tips from Sage.

One way to make the layout process easier is to use a template. This provides consistent formatting (especially when several staff are doing layout) and ensures that boilerplate content you need (e.g., journal information, ISSN, DOI) is included. Check the PDFs of articles from journals in your subject area for ideas. Here are two basic templates for inspiration or adaptation. [Template 1 (Word doc); Template 2 (Word doc)]

Best Practices

User Roles in OJS

  Open Access Model Subscription Model
Required Roles Full OJS submission & review process Manual submission & review process Full OJS submission & review process Manual submission & review process
Journal Manager
Subscription Manager    
Section Editor        
Copy Editor        
Layout Editor        


Journal Workflow

Workflows within OJS can be simple or complex. A few examples:

  • The simplest way to use OJS is as a publishing platform only. This workflow requires only the Journal Manager and Editor roles (i.e., to create an issue, upload PDFs, and publish). All other tasks are performed outside OJS.
  • A more complex workflow might also include author submissions through OJS and perhaps also tracking the review process through OJS.
  • Many journals treat the editor position as a kind of managing editor or editor-in-chief and assign section editors to perform the day-to-day management of an article's progress through the editorial process.
  • Especially for smaller journals, the copyeditor/layout editor/proofreader roles are often handled by the same person, either outside OJS or tracked within the system.
  • Student journals often use a rolling system of editors, i.e., staff from all class years. This ensures that there are always experienced students ready to take over journal management as seniors graduate.

We will work with you to make sure your journal is set up properly in OJS for the workflow you choose. See the OJS workflow chart for more information on ways to determine the workflow for your journal.

Lists & Worksheet to Help with Decision-Making

Creating a New OJS Journal: Decisions (Word file). Use this checklist/worksheet to help you think about some of the major areas involved with journal publishing and make decisions about your journal. Areas include the following:

  • The journal: decisions about policy/content, production, and design.
  • The workflow: first decide on an overall workflow; then decide which tasks will be accomplished within OJS.
  • The people: decisions affecting journal staff (editorial board, managing editor, etc.) as well as other stakeholders (authors, reviewers).
  • Sustainability: how will you keep a steady flow of content and people?

Notes from the Journal Make-Over: Practical Steps to Better Journals webinar (Google doc). If you're starting a journal now, don't wait for a make-over; make your journal better right from the start. (If you already have a journal and want to improve your workflows and other processes, these notes can help you focus on areas for change.)