Offer Various Subscription Options (Year-Based, Single Issue, and Back Issues)

I believe there is a much needed feature missing in Open Journal Systems, and it is the way subscriptions are handled. I know that people have requested the year-based subscription in the old forum.

Journals need a way to raise money to support itself. When journals are successful, they give back. While some academic journals that use OJS are not subsidized, what seems to be missing is a way for journals to offer various subscription options to their users. With the current workflow, if an institution or a person subscribes to a journal, they have access to the journal and all its back issues. While OJS is built on an open-access model, it would be great if journals can offer different subscription options whether if the journal content is open access, delayed access, paid access, or a combination of all.

Here is what I believe will benefit many (feel free to chime in)

A year-based subscription that limits access to the contents published in a year. In other words, if someone or an institution subscribes in 2016, they will only have access to issues published in 2016. A year-based subscription is really a subscription for current issues.

Subscribe to an issue and have access only to that issue. This option gives a user the ability to subscribe to an issue they want. Not all journals sell their issue, and giving them the option to issue subscription present another opportunity.

Subscribe to back issues. With this option, a user can select multiple back issues and subscribe to it.

In keeping faith to the OJS model, I am suggesting that we expand current option, while allowing OJS to continue giving an institution access to all issues. This ensures that journal managers can continue adding institutions that want access to back issues, while providing options for those institutions that want to choose what issues they subscribe to.

Is this something that can be done?


Hi @newone,

Thank you for the detailed outline and suggestions.

We’ve had a chance to review and discuss these feature requests and at this time we do not plan to include them in a future release of OJS. Unfortunately our resources are limited and priority is given to feature requests that will benefit a significant proportion of the user community. While your suggestions are interesting, they seem more appropriate to other content formats, e.g. magazines, and we have not seen much interest for these models from actual academic journals.

The existing functionality within OJS, which includes individual and institutional subscriptions, support for delayed open access, article processing fees, as well as article and issue purchase options, provides a diverse array of support options for academic journals.


Sorry to hear that you do not plan to include these features in a future release of OJS. One of our most downloaded journals is missing exactly that feature.
Niels Erik

Hello to all. I would like readers may subscribe a single issue. Is it popsicle with OJS?

I tried to simulate a purchase of a single issue but it does not work. The single sucbrsciption allow in case case to see all the contents.

How can i resolve this problem?

Thank you.

Hi @Matteo_Gulino,

Could you post that question as a new thread?

Alec Smecher
Public Knowledge Project Team

Hi Niels, i am having the extractly the same problem like yours, have you found a solution already?



I wholeheartedly agree with @newone. This really needs to be a feature. We have some back issue content that will cost more to secure online permissions and a catalogue of over 34 issues. Placing all this content online for the cost of one subscription is a bad financial decision. We continue to sell print copies of back issue content, placing it online without this feature doesn’t make sense. I imagine that we are not alone in our desire for this feature. Even creating a two-tier model would enable this. Create a regular subscription and allow us to specify which content fits into this first-level price and then allow us to create a second price point. It could be as simple as choosing between open-access, regular access, and premium access. Or as @newone suggested, make it contingent on the date of publication.