Open Journal Systems

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Open Journal Systems, or OJS, is an open-source platform that assists scholars, researchers, and publishers in managing the submission, peer review, and publishing operations for academic journals. OJS aims to streamline these critical journal management processes to facilitate more accessible scholarly publishing.

OJS has been widely adopted throughout the academic community. Its intuitive user interface enables authors, reviewers, and editors to collaborate during the publication process easily. The system also provides customizable workflow options to meet the specific needs of journals across various disciplines. Additionally, OJS includes multilingual support for global accessibility.

By understanding OJS’s key capabilities, journal editors can optimize their manuscript management workflows. Likewise, prospective authors can efficiently learn how to submit their work to OJS-based journals. OJS allows journals to publish rigorous scholarship more openly and transparently when appropriately implemented.

User-friendly Interface

Open Journal Systems offers an intuitive, web-based interface that streamlines communication between authors, reviewers, and editors. Users can conveniently track submissions, provide feedback, and make editorial decisions from a centralized dashboard.

Customizable Workflows

The platform enables journals to configure editorial workflows aligned with their policies and best practices. This includes customizable tasks, roles, access controls, email notifications, and more.

Multilingual Support

OJS includes translations for user interfaces, documentation, and email templates in several major world languages. This facilitates global manuscript submissions and readership.

Academic Journals and Their Importance in Academia

Academic journals are periodical publications that serve as forums for introducing and disseminating new research findings, scholarly articles, and the critique of existing research. Journal publishing is a crucial component in communicating academic scholarship across many disciplines. These journals’ primary purpose is to advance knowledge within a particular field.

The importance of academic journals in academia can be summarized through several vital functions:

Peer Review Process

Academic journals typically employ a rigorous peer review process, which involves subjecting an author’s scholarly work to the scrutiny of other experts in the same field. This process ensures the quality and integrity of the research by validating the methodology, accuracy, and relevance of the results.

Knowledge Dissemination

Journals provide a platform for researchers to share their findings with the wider academic community. By publishing their work, scholars contribute to the collective knowledge base of their discipline, facilitating further research and innovation.

Academic Record

Published articles are a permanent academic record of scientific inquiry and advancement. They provide a historical account of research developments and intellectual progress over time.

Professional Development

For individual researchers, publication in academic journals is often a critical factor in career development, contributing to reputation, promotion, and tenure within academic institutions.

Benchmarking Standards

The existence of high-quality academic journals sets standards for research and scholarship. It encourages researchers to produce work that meets the stringent academic rigor and ethical practice requirements.

Cross-disciplinary Engagement

Through interdisciplinary journals or themed issues, academic journals also promote cross-disciplinary engagement, enabling the exchange of ideas between different fields and fostering collaborative research efforts.

Academic journals are indispensable to the ecosystem of academia, underpinning the advancement of knowledge, the professional growth of scholars, and the integrity of scholarly communication. Open Journal Systems supports these crucial roles by providing a robust and accessible platform for managing the complex processes of submitting, reviewing, and publishing academic work.

What are Manuscript Management Systems?

Manuscript management systems refer to the online platforms that handle scholarly articles from submission to publication, including peer review, revision, and editorial decision-making.

The manuscript management process involves organizing incoming submissions, facilitating peer review, and ensuring timely communication between authors, reviewers, and editors throughout the publication workflow.

Organizing Submissions

Effective manuscript management starts with properly organizing new submissions to a journal. This includes logging critical information about each manuscript, including author names and contact details, article title and abstract, subject areas or keywords, submission date, and more.

Proper organization of submissions enables editors to efficiently track the status of articles as they progress through peer review and revision. Some manuscript management systems, like Open Journal Systems, have built-in tools to catalog submissions and generate custom reports for analysis.

Facilitating Peer Review

A core component of manuscript management is overseeing the peer review process. This involves identifying qualified reviewers, sending invitations to review, monitoring responses, assessing reviews for quality and timeliness, adjudicating conflicting reviews, communicating decisions to authors, and more.

Streamlining communication channels between authors, editors, and reviewers is essential for an effective peer review process. Open Journal Systems enables customizable notification templates, automated reminders, and other features to facilitate peer review.

Timely Communication

Timely responses and updates between editors, authors, and reviewers prevent delays and improve transparency in manuscript evaluation. Setting clear expectations around response times and promptly addressing reviewer comments or author queries supports efficiency.

Some best practices include rapid decisions on initial submissions, reasonable revision deadlines, and regular progress updates. The automated workflows in OJS promote responsiveness through customizable notifications and reminders to support timely communication.

Why Use Open Journal Systems for Manuscript Management?

Open Journal Systems simplifies manuscript management by providing a centralized platform for authors, editors, and reviewers to collaborate and communicate. With its user-friendly interface, customizable workflows, and built-in communication tools, OJS allows academic journals to easily organize submissions, assign reviewers, and make editorial decisions.

Streamlined Editorial Workflow

One of the key benefits of using OJS is that it significantly improves the efficiency of a journal’s editorial workflow. The system offers convenient tools for tracking submissions, routing manuscripts to editors and reviewers, monitoring review progress, and making final publication decisions. Automated notifications and reminders help editors manage deadlines and ensure timely communication throughout the review process.

Enhanced Quality and Transparency

In addition, OJS promotes best practices in scholarly publishing by enabling journals to adhere to ethical peer review policies and make editorial processes more transparent. Journal managers can define detailed author guidelines, customize multiple review stages, and publicly share information on their evaluation criteria and procedures. This commitment to quality and openness enhances the credibility of OJS journals.

Built-in Collaboration Features

With its extensive collaboration capabilities, OJS facilitates constructive feedback between authors, editors, and reviewers during manuscript assessment. Users can exchange comments on submissions, track revised file versions, and engage in online discussions. By centralizing communication on a single platform, OJS makes it easier for stakeholders to work together to improve published research quality.

How to Implement Open Journal Systems for Manuscript Management

Implementing Open Journal Systems (OJS) requires some initial setup, but the process is straightforward. The first step is to install the OJS software on a web server. OJS is built on the PHP and MySQL platforms, so a server with these technologies enabled is required. The OJS developers provide detailed installation instructions to guide administrators through this process.

Once the software is installed, the next step is configuring the journal settings in OJS. This involves entering information about the journal, such as the title, description, contact details, editorial team, and author guidelines. OJS offers flexible options to customize submission requirements, peer review process, notification templates, and more based on a journal’s needs.

Customizing Workflows

One of the key advantages of OJS is the ability to customize workflows to match existing editorial processes. The platform includes configurable roles, standardized review forms, and flexible notification settings.

Journals can define custom sections, article types, and review forms to accommodate different manuscript types. Based on editorial policies, workflows can be adjusted to allow single-blind, double-blind, or open peer review.

Learning to Use OJS

For journals new to OJS, the learning curve can seem daunting initially. It took me at least three months to acclimate to OJS before I could guide others.

However, the OJS community provides extensive training resources to help users learn the system. These include online user guides, interactive tutorials, videos, FAQs, and a community support forum.

Many libraries and university research offices also offer localized OJS training and support. With time invested in learning, editors, authors, reviewers, and readers can quickly leverage OJS to modernize manuscript management.

Integration and Interoperability

A key benefit of Open Journal Systems is its flexibility to integrate with external systems, including bibliographic indexes, digital preservation networks, identifier services, and more. OJS supports exporting article metadata to allow indexing in top journal databases like Scopus or PubMed.

Additionally, OJS enables one-click article deposit to digital archives such as CLOCKSS or Portico for long-term preservation. Moreover, OJS integrates with Crossref and DataCite to provide publishers with Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for published content, increasing discoverability.

With some strategic planning and learning, OJS can provide journals with a flexible, open-source manuscript management system to facilitate accessibility, discoverability, and transparency in scholarly publishing.

Pros and Cons of Open Journal Systems

The Open Journal Systems has its benefits and challenges. Let’s start with the pros:

  • Accessibility and open source: OJS is an open-source platform that is freely available for anyone to use, modify, and distribute. This makes it accessible to many academic journals, including those with limited budgets.
  • Comprehensive workflow management: OJS offers an end-to-end workflow for managing the entire editorial process, from submission to publication. This includes online submissions, peer review, editing, publishing, and indexing of articles.
  • Customization: The system is highly customizable, allowing journals to tailor their workflows, roles, and communication templates to fit their needs and policies.
  • Multilingual support: OJS supports multiple languages, making it suitable for international journals and researchers. This broadens the reach and inclusivity of the platform.
  • Transparency: By facilitating open access publishing, OJS promotes transparency in the research process. It can also be configured to provide detailed information about the peer review process, enhancing trust in published research.
  • Community support: Being open source, OJS has many users and developers contributing to its continuous improvement. There is also a wealth of community-driven documentation and forums for support.
  • Integration capabilities: OJS can integrate with other systems and services, such as CrossRef, ORCID, and LOCKSS/CLOCKSS, for digital archiving, extending functionality and usefulness.

Meanwhile, the cons of Open Journal Systems include the following:

  • Technical requirements: Setting up and maintaining OJS requires technical knowledge, including web server management and an understanding of PHP and MySQL. Smaller journals may find this challenging without dedicated IT support.
  • Initial learning curve: New users may find OJS complex due to its extensive features and customization options. Adequate training and time are needed to become proficient in using the system.
  • Resource intensive: Hosting OJS on a server may require significant resources, especially for larger journals with high traffic and data throughput. This could increase operational costs.
  • Design limitations: While customizable, the look and feel of OJS may not meet the aesthetic expectations of all journals without additional web development work.
  • Performance issues: Journals with many submissions and users may experience performance bottlenecks if OJS is not adequately optimized or hosted on adequate hardware.
  • Upgrades and maintenance: Regular updates are necessary to keep OJS secure and functional. Upgrading the system can sometimes be complicated and might lead to temporary disruptions.
  • Dependency on community: As with any open-source project, the development and maintenance of OJS depend on the community. If the community’s engagement wanes, it could impact the long-term viability and support for the system.

Open Journal Systems offers a robust and flexible platform for manuscript management that can significantly benefit academic journals. However, when deciding to adopt OJS, one should consider its advantages and the potential challenges associated with its deployment and ongoing maintenance.


Open Journal Systems is a pivotal tool in academic publishing, offering a comprehensive suite of features that address the complexities of manuscript management and facilitate scholarly communication. Its user-friendly interface, customizable workflows, multilingual support, and community-driven enhancements make it an appealing choice for academic journals worldwide.

Open Journal Systems - OJS

OJS’s open-source nature ensures it is accessible to many institutions, from well-funded universities to smaller, independent journals with limited resources. By providing tools for streamlined editorial workflow, enhanced quality control, transparency in peer review, and collaboration across the academic community, OJS supports academic journals’ core functions and upholds the publication process’s integrity.

While the advantages of OJS are clear, potential adopters must also recognize and prepare for its challenges. These include the technical expertise required for setup and maintenance, the initial learning curve for users, resource demands for hosting and performance, and the need for ongoing upgrades and community support.

Despite these challenges, the benefits of implementing OJS for manuscript management are substantial. Journals that invest in understanding and optimizing OJS can expect to see improvements in their publication processes, contributing to the broader dissemination of knowledge and fostering the advancement of research within the academic community.

As the academic publishing landscape continues to evolve, platforms like OJS will play a crucial role in supporting open access, transparency, and the efficient management of scholarly work. With the thoughtful implementation and a commitment to continuous learning and improvement, OJS can serve as a foundation for the future of academic journal publishing.

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