New role (permission level) to to solve a central problem in OJS

ojs3

#1

One thing that many of our journals are concerned about is the way how editors get to see basically anything in the system - including the reviews of their own articles. This is a very common problem and often asked, because the editors of a journal are in many cases users that used to write to the same journal.

A year ago I tried to solve this problem with a plugin, but it is not possible. Even if there would be some kind of way to confirm that the editor and the author of an article are the same person, an editor would still have the possibility of creating a totally new user with editor rights and use that user account to access the article reviews.

I have instructed our journals to use the section editor role as much as possible, but you always need at least one editor to do the assignment of incoming submissions and manage the issues. Many journals hope to have multiple users doing the same thing.

So, I have a suggestion which would solve the problem (at least I think so):

You would introduce a whole new role (and permission level) to OJS3. I will call it an Assigning Editor.

Assigning Editor can:

  • See all incoming submissions and get notifications
  • Assign section editors and work in the submission stage
  • Assign users and work in the copyediting stage
  • Assign users and work in the production stage
  • Schedule publications
  • Publish issues and edit issues

Assigning Editor cannot:

  • Log in as another user
  • Create new users or enter the users section
  • Enter the review stage in any submission except the ones that are allowed through another role (section editor)
  • Enter the tools section

Just a thought, opinions are welcome. And I know that this would mean a lot of changes.


OJS 3.1 Authors can see the activity log
New Editor and privacy of previous peer reviews
#2

I think we will implement a restriction so that Journal Managers can only view the author dashboard on their own submissions. When that’s in place, the following approach might suffice:

  • Journal Managers can only access author dashboard of articles they’ve submitted.
  • Journal Managers can not create other users of the Journal Manager role.
  • Journal Managers can not log in as other users (perhaps this could be a config option since many JMs rely on this feature).

Just brainstorming…


#3

Hi,

Just a few questions.

  1. With Journal Managers you mean the permission level which includes editor and journal manager roles, right?
  2. What about accessing the Review view/tab of own submissions from the editors perspective?

#4

With Journal Managers you mean the permission level which includes editor and journal manager roles, right?

Any user role which maps to the Journal Manager role under-the-hood. It looks like by default maybe that’s Journal Manager, Journal Editor and Production Editor.

What about accessing the Review view/tab of own submissions from the editors perspective?

I would think if any user is an author on a submission, they should only be able to view the author workflow for that submission.


#5

I would think if any user is an author on a submission, they should only be able to view the author workflow for that submission.

That sounds like a good starting point. Few questions:

  • What prevents an editor from removing an author from the participants list?
  • What if the editor is one of the co-authors, not in the participant list, but just in the article metadata
  • Would the editor be able to create a section editor account and assign that to the submission
  • If we remove the editor’s ability to assign Journal Manager level roles, the Site Admins of larger installations have a lot of work to do.

Great that you are considering fixing this problem!


#6

What prevents an editor from removing an author from the participants list?

I’m not sure why we would want to prevent that.

What if the editor is one of the co-authors, not in the participant list, but just in the article metadata

I don’t think there’s much we can do about that, because co-authors don’t have any role-based function in the system. They don’t even have user accounts in some (all?) cases, I think. Alec might know better.

Would the editor be able to create a section editor account and assign that to the submission

I believe they’d be able to create the user account, but would not be able to assign an editor to a submission for which they are the author.

If we remove the editor’s ability to assign Journal Manager level roles, the Site Admins of larger installations have a lot of work to do.

Yeah, I imagine we would need to do some research on this change. But without this change, it will be effectively impossible to limit Journal Managers from accessing anything in the editorial workflow.


#7

What prevents an editor from removing an author from the participants list?
I’m not sure why we would want to prevent that.

I was just thinking if there is a loophole there, but was not thinking logically, this is of course not an issue if the editor can not access the submission workflow at all.

What if the editor is one of the co-authors, not in the participant list, but just in the article metadata
I don’t think there’s much we can do about that, because co-authors don’t have any role-based function in the system. They don’t even have user accounts in some (all?) cases, I think. Alec might know better.

With the exception of the submitting author, they do not have accounts.
I think that this is the main issue here. I tried to solve this here https://github.com/ajnyga/hideEditorOwnArticles but the problem is that there is no identifier that could link an user account to an author account/metadata. And even if there was (Orcid), the editor can always remove the Orcid id from the user profile and access the submission then. But I think that the assigning editor model above solves this as well.

Would the editor be able to create a section editor account and assign that to the submission
I believe they’d be able to create the user account, but would not be able to assign an editor to a submission for which they are the author.

Again, the same logical error I made above. Not an issue because the editor does not have access to the whole submission workflow in this case.

Yeah, I imagine we would need to do some research on this change. But without this change, it will be effectively impossible to limit Journal Managers from accessing anything in the editorial workflow.

Agreed, or at least creating new Journal manager accounts would have to be something that the other editorial staff would be automatically notified about?

New questions:

  • if the editor is the only editor in the journal (others are section editors), who assigns the editor’s own submission to the section editors? Many journals do not use the automatic assigning of submissions based on sections.
  • Also, in the scenario above, who does the “schedule for publication” part. I think that is something section editors can not do?

ps. sorry for being annoying, that is not my intention here :slight_smile:


#8

Hi all,

Just a note that there are a couple of relevant github entries with some recent discussion:

@ajnyga, you often ask tough but necessary/interesting questions. It’s never annoying!

Regards,
Alec Smecher
Public Knowledge Project Team