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York Digital Journals  

This guide describes the York Digital Journals initiative, and provides links to related resources.
Last Updated: Jul 17, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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About the York Digital Journals program

York University Libraries provide an electronic journal hosting service for York-afiliated journals. This service is called York Digital Journals (YDJ).

York University uses Open Journal Systems (OJS), an open source software platform developed by the Public Knowledge Project which is now in use by over 7,500 journals worldwide. OJS differs from other web platforms as it is specially designed to manage articles through author submission, peer review, editing and publication. This online submission and tracking workflow simplifies the administrative aspects of the journal editorial process, allowing designated users to view the status of their article at any given time. 

The YDJ team is happy to work with York community members to create new journals or migrate existing journals to an online environment. The libraries can provide hosting space, training documentation and troubleshooting help with the OJS software, as well as advice on dissemination and exposure.

Please be advised that an embargo is in place with respect to YDJ taking on new journals as of January 2017 due to perparations for software migration for our 46 journals. The embargo will be re-evaluated January 2018.

Getting started

Help pages and documentation

FAQ and links to resources

Contact for more information about York Digital Journals.



Open Journal Systems at York

About Open Journal Systems

Open Journal Systems (OJS) is a journal management and publishing system that has been developed by the Public Knowledge Project through its federally funded efforts to expand and improve access to research.

Currently over 7500 titles are using OJS (as of December 2010) in many languages. Browse some of these journals here:

Why Open Journal Systems?

Open Journal Systems (OJS) software is unique because it was developed to assist with every stage of the refereed publishing process, from submissions through to online publication and indexing by way of its online interface. This can be helpful for those who find that they require a more organized and automated workflow for online journal publication, or for those who are new to the journal publishing process. A quick upload option that bypasses this system also exists for publishers that are in favour of their current workflow or would like to mount archival issues.

OJS is not a regular website! OJS has been built with discovery and interoperability at front of mind. It has an OAI-PMH gateway built into the system, allowing different systems to harvest and disseminate your journal materials. In contrast, those using a non-specialized website format (i.e. WordPress), would need to re-invent the wheeel to ensure decent indexing. For example, note the work required to be harvested by Google Scholar: This functionality is built into OJS, but one would have to re-invent the wheel if using a typical website.

Users of the Open Journal Software system are able to handle subscriptions and limit access to different levels of information within the journal, such as openly displaying the table of contents but limiting the full text of articles to subscribers.

Data stored within the Open Journal Software system is exportable, allowing for journal portability and integration with larger databases such as Scholar’s Portal. This opens up the journal to a very large potential online readership.

For more information about OJS, visit the site at:

About Open Journal Systems at York University Libraries

York University Libraries (YUL) are working with journal publishers to bring journals to the web. Using Open Journal Systems (OJS) software, an open source application developed at Simon Fraser University, journal creators are able to publish their journals online quickly and easily.

What is the role of York University Libraries with respect to Open Journal Systems?

  • YUL is committed to promoting the dissemination of Canadian scholarly information to a global audience.
  • YUL is not a publisher. We provide the storage, the software and the expertise/training required for journals help them host their materials online.

How will York University Libraries help me put my journal online?

  • York University Libraries will provide the server space to host your journal.
  • We will create your journal using OJS software, and help you with some basic design. You will be given complete access to control the look and content of your journal.
  • We will help you to load your previous issues into the system to get you started.
  • We will train you and your staff in the use of OJS software. The goal is that eventually you will be self sufficient and will be able to publish future issues independently.
  • We will be available to help you with any questions or provide any assistance you may need.

Who To Contact

York University Libraries is available to help you update your scholarly journal with the use of Open Journal Software. For more information about getting started with OJS, contact



Creating a New Journal

I would like to create a new journal using Open Journal Systems. How do I get started?

It is suggested that you look over the list of questions in the Journal Planning Checklist below to get an idea of the types of decisions you will need to make about your journal.

Here is an excellent introductory page about starting a new journal from the Open Access Sourcebook. David Solomon's book Developing Open Access Journals: A Practical Guide is also very instructive.  An abridged version is available here.

We recommend finding a mentor who is involved with an established journal in your subject area. A mentor can help guide you through the various steps of creating a journal such as assembling a board of directors and a pool of peer reviewers. Volunteering with an existing academic journal is an ideal mentorship opportuinity.

Note: We do host some graduate student-run journals. For a student journal proposal to be considered by YDJ, we require that at least at least one faculty advisor/sponsor be associated with the journal.

Please contact for more information.

Administrative Details

You will need to register for an ISSN. Registration is quick, an ISSN is usually received with 24 hours. Here is a link to the ISSN registration site.

Note: A separate ISSN is required for print and electronic versions. See these links for details: and

Registering with Ulrich’s Periodical Directory will help your journal gain exposure. Ulrich’s is the most authoritative and comprehensive online database of journals, magazines, newspapers, and full-text electronic resources from over 200 countries. By exploring this site, you will be able to see which databases should be indexing your journal. This is also a great place to search to determine if the name you are considering for your journal is unique.

Journal Planning Checklist

The following is a list of questions to consider when planning 

New journals

Preliminary questions

  • What will your journal be about? Mandate? Scope and content?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • How will you solicit new content? Is your journal tied to an annual event?
  • Do you have funding? Is it required, or will all work be done in-kind?

Startup and sustainability

  • Who will be on your advisory editorial board? Who will be in your pool of reviewers?
  • How many faculty advisors? How to ensure sustainability?
  • How many editors will you have? Will there be a separate editor for each section?
  • Do you have any copyeditors and layout editors in mind?

Publication cycle and frequency

  • How many articles per issue?
  • How many issues per year?
  • Journal sections – book reviews, articles, commentaries, letters to the editor, news and announcements?
  • Estimated turnaround time from call for papers to article submissions?
  • Are you interested in an in-press issue idea – as manuscripts are completed they appear on the site until an issue is “closed”?


  • Peer review model? Double blind?
  • How many reviewers per article?
  • Do you have a list of questions or guidelines for peer reviewers?
  • Estimated turnaround time for review and author revisions?

Stylistic publishing requirements

  • What citation style and format?
  • What are your submission guidelines? Font, borders, style guide?
  • Specifics for manuscript preparations and online submissions?

Copyright and access policy

Evaluative sources and criteria to determine the journal’s impact and progress

  • AWStats
  • Counter
  • Google analytics
  • DOI (Crossref statistics)
  • ISI and Scopus (impact factor)

How to get noticed

  • Abstracts and indexes
  • Google Scholar
  • Ulrich’s
  • Directory of Open Access Journals

Existing journals

  • When was your journal created? How many issues/volumes exist?
  • Do you have all of your archives in digital format? If not, could you acquire a copy from your publisher?
  • Do you have copyright clearance to post your journal issues/articles online?
  • Were you hoping to make your contents available open access? If this is not entirely possible, do you want to employ an embargo period where your latest issues are available to subscribers only? How long would you like this embargo to be?
  • Do you have a list of your subscribers? To register subscribers with OJS, a name and email address are required.
  • Do you have a publisher? If not, are you affiliated with an association?

For all journals

  • Do you have a current design scheme/logo that we can use for your website?
  • Is your journal bilingual?
  • Do you have your own domain registered? Here’s where to get one at York:
  • Do you have an ISSN for the electronic version of your journal?
  • Will you be hosting multimedia content?
  • Do you have a permanent staff member that we can train, or do you have a revolving staff?
  • Are you exploring changes to your editorial workflow? Would you be interested in a system to manage the publishing process?

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