2.4 Open Source Journal Software

As with institutional repository software, there are various open source platforms available to publish Open Access journal titles. If an institution –e.g. the library – should decide to investigate the possibility of hosting online journals, it would be a good idea to start with an audit of possible journal titles affiliated with that institution. At the same time, needs analysis can be conducted to determine whether there is a need for such a service, and what the service should offer. Often the rationale for keeping a journal title as close as possible to “home”, is because journal editors and journal managers feel more comfortable to work with an established organisation within easy reach, instead of with a third party that might be dependent on funding and therefore a less sustainable option. More and more universities are now setting up their own journal hosting and publishing services, and because of the expertise within the library, it is often driven by the library. If a service beyond hosting is needed, e.g. a service should also include publishing support (reviewing, editing etc.) the library might need to acquire additional expertise and for example work with the university press. Once the need for an Open Access journal service has been established, open source software systems can be evaluated to identify a system that best addresses the needs of the journal community. According to the Online guide to Open Access journal publishing35 the system should allow the managementand tracking of the submission of manuscripts, the peer review process, and once peer review is finalized, the finalizing of the material through copyediting, layout editing/typesetting and finally actual publication. It is also useful to maintain a database of reviewers, submitting authors, and other key information. Although a manually updated overview of all transactions may suffice for a low-volume journal, a web-based system is a must for larger journals and even for smaller publications will be time-saving and facilitate the easy generation of reports and statistics. The possibility for authors to submit their manuscripts through an online system also adds an element of professionalism to the overall look and feel of a journal.

2.4.1 Open Source Journal Systems

Journal publishing software automates many of the processes involved when publishing a journal. Authors are expected to submit a new article online, from where the editor will receive a system generated notification. The editor then assigns reviewers, who will also receive notifications and will submit their reviews online again. From the editor-in-chief, the reviewed article is sent to the copy editor and layout editor. Once the process of preparing an issue has been completed and the journal is ready for publication, the journal issue can be published with the click of a button. Added benefits are:

  • Should an article need to be replaced for some reason (not recommended though), it is quite easy to replace the file.
  • A new article can be published once ready, and the editor does not need to wait until all articles for a specific issue are complete (accelerating the publication process).
  • All actions and communication are tracked, audited and recorded accurately.
  • The reviewing process can be a continuing process, since any potential reader can post comments related to an article and engage into a dialogue with the author/s.
  • The full text is also indexed, which makes it much more visible than what would have been the case if it was only accessible via a bibliographic entry in the library catalogue.
  • Managerial information (usage statistics) can be monitored, demonstrating the impact of the journal.

The Open Access Directory (OAD36) currently lists the following software systems as open journal systems:

  • Ambra37 - Formerly part of Topaz (below), but forked.
  • CLEO38 - In French.
  • DiVA39 - From the Electronic Publishing Centreat Uppsala University Library.
  • DPubS40 - From Cornell University Library and Pennsylvania State University Libraries and Press.
  • E-Journal41 - From Drupal.
  • ePublishing Toolkit42 - From the Max Planck Gesellschaft.
  • GAPworks43 - From German Academic Publishers (GAP).
  • HyperJournal44 - From the University of Pisa.
  • Lodel45 - Lodel is the publishing software behind Revues.org.
  • OpenACS46
  • Open Journal Systems - From the Public Knowledge Project.
  • SOPS48 - From SciX.
  • Topaz49 - From the Public Library of Science. Also see Ambra, above.

According to a survey conducted by Mullins et al. (201250), the most prevalent journal publishing platforms reported were Open Journal Systems (57%), DSpace (36%), and BePress’s Digital Commons (25%).

Alternatively, Open Access journal launch services are available to help launching new Open Access journals (Open Access Directory (OAD):

  • BioMed Central51
  • Duke University Libraries52
  • International Consortium for the Advancement of Academic Publication (ICAAP)53
  • The Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR)54
  • Medknow Publishing55
  • Michigan Publishing56
  • Open Access Press57
  • Open Humanities Alliance58
  • PhysMath Central59
  • PKP Journal Hosting60
  • Resilience Alliance61
  • Scholarly Exchange62
  • Scholastica63

2.4.2 Criteria for the evaluation of Open Journal Software

Cyzyk and Choudhury64 (2008) evaluated open source journal software according to the following criteria:

1)Institutional affiliation and other indicators of the viability of the open-source project

  • Name of system
  • Current version of system
  • Tested version of system
  • URL of project homepage
  • Institutional affiliation
  • Age of project
  • Notes on long-term viability of project
  • Degree of deployment
  • Type of open-source license
  • Licensing notes
  • Other documentation (Webliography)

2) Technical requirements, maintenance, scalability, and documented APIs

  • Local install or ASP?
  • Operating system requirements
  • Hardware requirements
  • Application server requirements
  • Primary programming language
  • Auxiliary programming language
  • Application framework
  • Database server requirements
  • Other software requirements
  • Required skills
  • Internal backup and restore functions
  • Scalability: Application
  • Scalability: Data
  • API: Batch ingest
  • API: Batch ingest formats
  • API: Batch export
  • API: Batch export formats
  • API: Support for JSR 170
  • API: Support for OAI harvesting
  • API: Support for eduSource Communication Layer (ECL)
  • API: Support for other Web services
  • Security note

3)Submission, peer review management, and administrative functions

  • Support for multiple, discrete publications
  • Multiple administrative roles
  • Administrative roles configurable
  • Submission into system initiated by authors
  • Editorial workflow configurable per publication
  • Automated email alerts to authors
  • Automated email alerts to editors
  • Automated email alerts to reviewers
  • Stylesheets, customizable look and feel per publication
  • Versioning
  • Archiving

4)Access, formats, and electronic commerce functions

  • Accessibility of system
  • Accessibility of document output
  • Internationalization support
  • Output in multiple document formats
  • Document formats supported
  • Plug-in requirements
  • Usability notes
  • Citation linking
  • OpenURL resolver
  • RSS feed
  • Digital rights management
  • Full-text search and retrieval
  • Federated searching
  • Authentication mechanisms
  • Subscription services
  • Electronic commerce functions
  • Context-sensitive Help support

The results of the evaluation are available from a survey by Cyzyk and Sayeed65 (2008), commissioned by the Open Society Institute (OSI).

2.4.3Open Access Journal Business Models

With an Open Access journal, the aim is to provide Open Access to all content for all readers, free of charge. Since certain costs are still involved when publishing in an Open Access format, the journal have to identify other revenue resources to remain financially sustainable. The Open Access Directory (OAD) describes the following business models that can be adopted by journal titles in order to remain financially sustainable, and also provides some examples. Some revenue sources are supplementary and not sufficient, and are used supplementary to larger business models.

  • Advertising: sell advertising space to companies, use a service such as Google AdSense (places ads on pages based on an algorithmic reading of the content).
  • Auction: publishers bid on articles at auction to publish.
  • Crowd-funding: potential projects are pitched online; the broader community—the “crowd” —may then choose to fund the submitted work with financial donations, which cover production costs. With enough financial backing from the crowd, the project goes into production.
  • E-commerce: the journal offers branded products for sale, either internally or through a vendor.
  • Endowments: the journal builds an endowment and use the annual interest to cover its expenses.
  • Fund -raising: Solicit donations.
  • Hybrid Open Access journals: In addition to the standard page fee, an additional fee is charged for an article to be published in the open. The costs can be covered by the author self, or by a sponsor or the institution the author is affiliated with. In some instances this lead to institutions putting in place Open Access Funds.
  • Institutional subsidies: An institution subsidises an OA journal.
  • Membership dues: The membership organization (learned society) use membership dues to support an OA journal, in whole or part.
  • Priced editions: The journal provide OA to one edition and sell access to another edition. The OA edition should contain the full text and other information (charts, illustrations, links, etc.), but the priced edition may appear earlier in time or include extra features, such as print.
  • Publication fees (Article Processing Charge/APC): Journal charges a fee upon acceptance of article for publication, to cover costs involved.
  • Submission fees: Charge a fee for evaluating a submitted paper, whether or not the paper is later accepted.
  • Temporary OA: The publisher offers free online access to a work for a restricted period, after which the work becomes toll access.
  • Value-added services: The journal offers extra services on top of OA content. A range of services is possible, for example, article alert services and site customization.
  • Volunteer effort: Use unpaid volunteers for some of the work in producing the journal.

Last modified: Friday, 26 March 2021, 3:41 PM