Live-blogging the 2009 Vancouver PKP Conference

Customizing OJS for Magazine Publishers: The Session Blog

Presenter: John Maxwell

July 9, 2009 at12:00 noon

John Maxwell

John Maxwell


John Maxwell is currently with the Canadian Center for Studies in Publishing at Simon Fraser Universtiy in Vancouver, British Columbia.  John’s work specifically focuses on the advantages of open journal system (OJS) software models to be used as a framework for the Online Magazine Management Models (OMMM) project that applies to use in the area of publishing small cultural magazines (Maxwell, 2008).

Session Overview

John Maxwell reported on the very recent initiatives of a new model for small magazine editorial publishing.  The OMMM) project based its creation on the Open Journal Systems (OJS) with what Maxwell describes as a process with a more collaborative approach but at the same time keeps within the intent of the OJS overall concepts.

Small cultural magazines do not have the exact purpose of journal publishing but there are similarities to moving from text based publishing systems into online management systems.  The OMMM project is not at a stage of online publishing but is using the OJS concepts and applying that process to the electronic management of submissions as a starting point.

With the specifics of the OJS, Maxwell’s work centers around taking some of the same ideas of OJS and applying those systems to fit into a version that would be streamlined for magazine publishing.

What the OMMM project essentially produced was a translation of user interface from OJS into a more user friendly language for magazine publishing.  As the project evolved two models of editorial governance were designed:

  • Discrete delegation of responsibilities
  • Collaborative, task-based, process management

One of the key concerns while working on the OMMM project was to capture a workflow model that would capture the essence of a wide variety of small cultural magazines.  Currently the project is using PLONE as the Web platform – designed as a “miniature OJS.”  PLONE houses the Editorial Submission Management (EMS) that includes the following aspects:

  • System of buckets for organizing content
  • 3 stage workflow (red, yellow, green)
  • Basic notification
  • Word.doc – Web based content
  • Relies on collaboration and trust among the editorial group

Although this new concept is in its infancy the concept of using OJS framework has moved the publishing of small scale magazines into the cyber world and has started a ground level development in the first steps toward newer developments of online publishing for the future.

Audience Input

The overall sense from those audience members who spoke – were complimentary to the project or any project that uses online open access; however, access to the technology remained the major issue for users of any place across the world….not just remote areas.  There still remains key issues around access to the technology and infrastructure in order  to access these online programs for the publishing and reading of open source knowledge.


Maxwell, J.W. (2008). OMMM Project: Toward a collaborative editorial workflow. Blog. Retrieved July 7, 2009, from

Related Links

BC Association of Magazine Publishers

Workshop: Web Content Management for Publishers – August 4,5 and 6


1 TWAIN lover { 09.24.09 at 9:18 pm }

Thanks for sharing.

2 How To Be An Online Magazine Publisher. | { 09.30.09 at 7:04 am }

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