Make notification emails for new announcements and issues optional in OJS3.0.2


I have had some emails from some editorial staff’s inquiring whether they can prevent sending notification emails upon creating a new annoucement or publishing a new issue.

@asmecher, how would you feel about making these optional?

With annoucements, it would be fairly straight forward to add that as a checbox next to “Enable Journal Managers to add journal announcements.”, it would actually require only a couple of lines of code to get that working.

With the new issue, I could not figure out the best place for the setting.

Maybe it would even make sense to have a totally new tab in Settings => Distribution => Notifications and have on/off settings there for all similar cases?

I know that you do not want to bloat the settings section (I think at least @NateWr has brought this up) while it is already now a lot to handle. But I do think that these kinds of notifications most journals would like to have some control over.

Edit: I can see that this has been asked a couple of times: Disable notification Current issue/email notification settings in connection with back issue publication Email notification disabling when publish a new issue?(ojs 3) How to delete/edit the ‘Notifications functionality’

Hmm, I wonder if it would make more sense to put these under Settings > Workflow > Emails. It lists a bunch of prepared emails there and you can enable/disable them. Alec understands this part of the system better than me, though.

In a way that could be a good place for the settings as well. That is if there are not a lot of options. So far the announcement and issue notifications are the only ones that the editors are asking about.

Hi @asmecher and @NateWr One of our journals just published a new issue and right after that the editor also added an annoucement. Because the reply-to address for the notifications is set to the site admin, I am getting the responses from the registered users. These included:

Please stop sending spam.

Please my paper is not part of what you sent to me. Thank you.

Both of these users are old reviewers of that journal.

So I really think that making those two notification email’s (new issue and annoucement) optional would be a good feature. I could do a pr, if you agree and point the right setting page where to put these.

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I affirm the general idea of making it optional to send an email when posting an annoucenment.

On the other hand, it sounds like the concerns you are receiving in response are from folks who do not remember subscribing to notifications (or never actually explicitly subscribed to notifications). This might be another route to tackle the problem.

Do you mean disabling notifications for specific users? I think that it is not possible at the moment when it comes to these two types of notifications, new issue and announcement.

Is it correct to presume that for example reviewers want to have notifications from a journal? I mean, should there be an isolated mailing list for these notifications. I am of course not talking about notifications that are connected to the workflow.

Yes, this is where I think we might want to have more conversation. The real problem is that users need a clear way to control the email they receive. Avoiding sending emails with notifications is not a bad idea itself, but seems to be a workaround for the real issue.

So maybe a unsubscribe function in some of the notifications? I mean a simple link, with a login key and a handler that will cancel the type of notification that the user just got?

This is the latest feedback I got just a minute ago :smiley:
hello, What is that?
That is a response to the very short new issue notification OJS3 is sending (see [OJS] Publish Notify email template not used in OJS 3.0.2 · Issue #2406 · pkp/pkp-lib · GitHub)

Yes, providing clearer text in the email, and providing an unsubscribe link could both be positive.

I’m also thinking that when these reviewer were assigned (perhaps by a journal manager), they were automatically “subscribed” to any number of communications from the software. This should have instead been an opt-in process, and the user’s profile should give them an easy method to change and control the emails of interest.

Maybe @asmecher could comment what it would take to add a unsubscription link to some notifications? I think the main problem here is that the current settings do not even allow the user to cancel these notifications from the user profile. So adding that option would be the first step, then changing the code that sends these notifications and finally add the unsubscribe handler.

We recently migrated our journal to OJS 3.0.2 and the (apparent) lack of control over notifications is also an issue for us. I guess it makes sense that newly registered users by default opt-in to receive announcements and new issue notifications, but there should be an easy and explicit way of opting-out from these notifications. Then people interested in them continue to receive the notifications, which can increase a journal’s visibility, but others aren’t unduly annoyed.

Given the number of past forum posts about disabling announcement and issue emails – as well as the severity of an email sender getting flagged as spam – I think there’s enough to warrant an option for disabling these emails as a high priority issue. @ajnyga, would you be willing to file a GitHub issue for this and bring it to my attention?

I had a look at the Settings > Workflow > Emails tab. I see that there’s an email there for “Publish Notify” that can’t be disabled. Maybe we can just allow the enable/disable toggle to work there, and add a similar entry for Announcements? I’m just guessing, though, as I’m not that well read into the notifications system.


The publish notify template is actually not used at the moment: [OJS] Publish Notify email template not used in OJS 3.0.2 · Issue #2406 · pkp/pkp-lib · GitHub

The system uses the default notification template in all cases.

I can post the issue of course, but what do you think about the discussion we had with @ctgraham above?

Maybe we could do a quick fix now by introducing the option to disable these two types of notifications, but also consider the unsubscribe link option. I really think that @ctgraham had a good idea there and unsubscribe links is something that users are used to.

Many of our journal managers ask for a somewhat contrary option: they need a simple form (email, name) for users to subscribe to notifications for new announcements and issues (without filling out the full registration form). Is it possible?

I just inadvertently e-mailed 500+ registered users of one of our journals with the link to an announcement that I created on our test upgrade of the journal. This was a bit mortifying to have to explain to the journal editor, that this notification went out with her name on it. I’d like to strongly advocate for the quick fix to introduce an option to globally disable notifications for announcements as mentioned by @ajnyga in April, especially since this is a change in behavior from OJS 2.4.x.

(On a related note, in OJS 2.4.x user accounts defaulted to not sending e-mails for notifications, but in 3.0 they default to sending e-mails for everything. One has to opt out of e-mails. Why was this change made in going from 2.4.x to 3.0?)

Hi @hcorbett,

This has been discussed here until very recently: [OJS] Make notification emails for new announcements and issues optional in OJS3 · Issue #2561 · pkp/pkp-lib · GitHub

However, before suggesting any changes to the code I will have to wait for @asmecher comments on the things discussed there. The thing is that they are about to release 3.1 very soon and there are several other issues the developers are probably dealing with at the moment.

However, if this does not make it to 3.1 I will solve this in our installation with an own plugin or a patch, because we constantly get complaints about this from our editors. I can send you the code then as well.

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Thank you! I’m hopeful that the capability to send/not send notifications will be included in 3.1.

Hi @ajnyga and @hcorbett,

Sorry for the wait! I’ve added some comments on that github issue.

Alec Smecher
Public Knowledge Project Team


Thanks @asmecher, no problem! I added a comment here [OJS] Make notification emails for new announcements and issues optional in OJS3 · Issue #2561 · pkp/pkp-lib · GitHub

pretty much what you suggested with small additions.

Hi @ajnyga,

I’ve been following this issue but maybe I missed something.
The discussion is about optional new issue notifications, but this event delivers a typical notification template, and not the PUBLISH_NOTIFY. One of this fixs is for the optional caracteristic of this notifications. Or applying Make new issue notifications optional by ajnyga · Pull Request #1542 · pkp/ojs · GitHub is what we are talking about?
I notice some differences between that code and the one from ojs_stable_302.

Thank you!
Best regards