Documentation of the state of “Submission Checkboxes” at time of submission

  • Application Version: OJS 3.1.2 and above
  • Description of issue (feature request, discussion of implementation)

During the submission process authors have to agree to certain conditions for their submission to be accepted for consideration in the journal. Currently the information which checkboxes where active at the time when an author submits a manuscript is not stored in the OJS database.

As to our knowledge, neither editors nor authors have any documentation about which of the checkboxes have been selected at time of submission. Complications could arise in case a journal at a later time decides to change the terms and conditions (checkboxes) authors are required to agree to. In this case no means are available of proofing which checkboxes had been selected (which terms were agreed to) at the time of submission.

The state of the submission checkboxes at time of submission should be documented for both the editorial side and the author at the time of submission.

This could be achieved in different ways:

Including the state of the checkboxes in the submission acknowledgement mail sent to the author and to the editor.

Different ways of implementing this feature can be envisaged:

  • Implementation in the pkp-lib or ojs core classes for mail template handling
  • Implementation as a plugin
  • Storing checkbox state in the “submission_settings” table and logging state at time of submission

For the implementation as a plugin a hook for dynamic alteration of the “Submission Acknowledgement” mail template would be required. Screening the code of the current OJS 3.x releases we didn’t find any hooks that could suit this purpose.


  • Which of the above mentioned ways of implementation would be the more suitable one from the viewpoint of PKP? Or can you suggest alternative approaches?
  • For the implementation as a plugin, does a hook exist to attach to for adding the information to the mail template (submission acknowledgement) ?
  • If no hook exists, can a hook be provided for this purpose?

We would be happy to contribute to the implementation of this feature or develop a plugin ourselves.

Kind regards,

Cedis e-Publishing Team, FU Berlin

@asmecher, @ctgraham

Hi @ronste1,

Yes, this would be a great addition!

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Rather than doing this as a plugin, I’d recommend submitting the change directly to OJS/pkp-lib.
  • I’d recommend storing a copy of the journal’s submission checklist in the submission_settings as you propose.
  • I suggest checking the checklist contents stored in the submission against the checklist contents in journal settings when the user confirms the final submission step. That way if the checklist has changed in the meantime, they can be asked to review it. If they do match, the submission is complete and you can use the existing date_submitted column as the date of agreement.

Do you have something in mind for notifying the editor during the workflow process if the checklist that the author agreed to is no longer the current checklist in the journal settings?

Alec Smecher
Public Knowledge Project Team

That sounds great and submission_settings would work well. A fourth option would be to add an entry to the submission’s activity log. In addition to having the terms that were agreed to, you’d also get the date of agreement (which may differ from the date of submission).

Thanks for the feedback!

I’ll look into the details and see what I can come up with. It will take some time however since I’m currently only working 20% on this project.