OJS 3.1 how to get an author to update metadata in submission or review phase?

The author has forgotten to add items to the metadata, so how to get the author to fix the metadata without making a new submission? I’ve looked in the submission and review stages logged in as the author and I don’t seem to be able to find a way for the author to edit the metadata. Also, I need the author to add the bio for the other authors and similarly cannot find how to do this when logged in as the author.

Help appreciated.

Bump, this is a serious issue, we find that every article uploaded has metadata that is not complete in some way, but the authors cannot edit the metadata before the paper is sent to review. Can this be fixed please, it is a major impediment to OJS being usable.

Hi @MarkAGregory

Yes, the metadata editing is at some point disabled for author, but you could add/change the metadata as editor…


I do hope you’re joking - it is not very funny. This is a major problem that should be fixed urgently. There is enough work for the editor to do without fixing the metadata for every paper submitted.

How can this be fixed in the next revision of OJS?

Mark Gregory


we have the same problem. I am aware that the metadata are locked once the author finishes the submission and that this has been the case for all previous versions of OJS.
In my experience, authors regularly oversee the ‘add contributor’ button and we have to ask them via email to send us names and contact details of all their co-authors and enter them ourselves, which is quite time consuming. It would be nice if the author would be able to edit the metadata until the actual review process begins (maybe with the event ‘send to review’), so the editor can request a completion of the metadata by the author.


Hi all,

@MarkAGregory, please be respectful – OJS is free, open-source software, and is community-owned. There are many ways to improve it, including code contributions, respectful suggestions for improvement, financial support, etc.

We haven’t received a lot of requests for permitting authors to edit metadata, and of course that capability would need to be controlled.

@heike_riegler, your suggestion of tying the author’s ability to edit metadata to review decisions is interesting. I would imagine the editor would probably want to be notified of metadata changes, in case they had already looked over (or even edited) the metadata and would not otherwise notice a change.

On the plus side, this would hopefully “work” intuitively without requiring additional journal configuration or effort from the Editor.

On the minus side, this would restrict metadata edits to the submission and review phases; edits at later points (e.g. during copyediting) would not be available. Do you foresee a need for later editing by the author?

Alec Smecher
Public Knowledge Project Team

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Rather than responding with flippant remarks, requests for improvements should be taken seriously. I would not have made the request unless it was serious and important.

I’m quite happy to make a donation when this change is made.

I agree that there is an urgent need for the editor to ask authors to fix the metadata before the copyedit phase.

In my case, I do not send out articles for review until the metadata is fixed. It is too much work for the editor to fix the metadata for authors, especially when they should do this themselves. What this means currently is that authors must submit the paper twice so that they can fix the metadata and in many cases it still requires work from the section editors.

If the metadata was editable by authors before papers were reviewed or sent to copyedit would be a very positive outcome.

Mark Gregory

Hi @MarkAGregory,

I think you’re misreading the tone of the earlier response – I don’t think it was flippant, it was a confirmation of what you suspected but weren’t sure of, i.e. that the author wasn’t able to edit metadata after the submission was completed.

It sounds like in your case metadata is edited in the Submission stage, but perhaps not in the Review stage. In @heike_riegler’s suggestion, it would be editable also in the Review stage. Would this cause problems, i.e. if the metadata was reviewed by an Editor in Submission and then edited by the Author in Review?

Alec Smecher
Public Knowledge Project Team

I think that we have had one journal asking about the feature. I suggested to them that they could check the metadata using the discussion feature. But if OJS would let the author to edit the metadata after the submissions, it can not be as it was in OJS2 where the author (if I recall correctly) could edit the data at any point freely.

So maybe there could be a feature where an editor could do a metadata review request (is that a word?) to the author. After hitting save on the metadata form, it would be locked again for the author and that same save would send the editor a confirmation that the review has been done. This process could be tracked down in the discussion feature.

The stages where this feature could be available are probably submission, copyediting and production.

Or for a simpler solution, just allow authors to edit the metadata during the submission and copyediting stage and instruct the authors using the discussion feature.

Interesting question. After the peer review process and based on the comments, it is easy to imagine that an author may decide in revising the paper to change the title, abstract, and indexing terms; she might even add an author to cover some missing aspects with the stats perhaps. So the simple approach would be to enable the author to revise the metadata in the review stage, ideally alerting the editor or better requiring editor sign off, much as the author’s revised submission after the review is approved by the editor on accepting the article. After that acceptance, the metadata could be closed to the author.

Hi John, I think this is a good approach, it would be greatly appreciated by all editors that use OJS!

Hi all,

some of the suggestions above sound quite helpful, but I would refrain from implementing something that results in even more emails to the editor and more required button clicking / additional workflows. To keep it simple, just leave the metadata editing open for the author during the submission stage. Once the manuscript is moved to the review stage, lock it. When an editor is assigned, he can use the discussion tool to request completion of the metadata. The author corrects these and sends a note via the discussion. The editor comes back and either decides to decline the submission after editorial review or to move it to the review stage.
We would probably make no use of later author-metadata-editing-ability, although we regularly have to change abstracts and titles of accepted manuscripts in the copy-editing stage (about 20% of accepted manuscripts). The metadata has to undergo a final quality control by an editor (not the scientific one, but the one who puts it online) anyway and possible interference from an author would be counterproductive. Also, by making title or abstract changes themselves (with the accepted and author approved manuscript as template of course), the copy-editor is faster than by contacting the author again.

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One option would be to add mechanism that unlocks/locks the metadata edit for authors at any stage the editor pleases. This could be a button in the metadata form, because the editor has to go there anyway when she checks that the metadata is complete - both before and after the metadata review.

This would fit any workflow, because I have a feeling that different journals could do this in different stages, submission, copyediting and production. I do not know if having this mechanism send emails adds to the overall amount of emails, because the discussion tool does send emails as well for each new message. I think it would be fairly handy if the button would open a ready template for metadata review where the editor could fill the details and send the request to the author. This could of course be saved as a discussion item.

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I think this is a great suggestion. Anything that reduces the editor / copyeditor workload is going to be a great outcome here. As we have strict data collection requirements from Scopus, our government, etc. we must make our metadata accurate and complete. This is taking far too long and it would be better to tell the author to do it. Currently we find that we have to edit nearly 100 per cent of the paper metadata, hence why this is such a concern.

I’m a new user, one month in. Question is basic. WHile I can see you need metadata for harvesting by various services, and we did not have that since 1994 when our journal [journal of political ecology] was founded, why does anything need to be entered at the submission stage? At least in social science you get a mountain of revisions and the final manuscript can be substantially different. I as editor also edit the abstracts quite often. Only at the time of uploading the final manuscript would the metadata be correct. Am i missing something? I have only uploaded some book reviews so far, and most authors are still not uploading anything via OJS.

Hi @sbatterbury,

One of our central goals with OJS is to facilitate open access publishing, and to do that, we attempt to delegate some work from the journal staff onto the authors (and, carefully, the reviewers) so that the journal requires fewer resources to maintain itself. In that way we hope the financial model is less pressing and the journal might be able to consider models other than subscription to support itself. (This is also one of the motivations behind making OJS free software.)

Authors may not know the metadata at the outset, and in many cases can’t be expected to enter it as precisely as an editor might, but requesting the metadata from the author during submission gives the editor something to work with (and correct).

Alec Smecher
Public Knowledge Project Team

Hi @asmecher,

as discussed and hopefully agreed upon, the authors will be able to edit the metadata until the end of the review or copyedit stages. We have too much work to do already without asking editors to fill in all the metadata. I’m concerned that it now appears that nothing is to be done to correct this matter.

We find 100% of papers have little, no or incorrect metadata and would like to be able to force authors to do the metadata before the paper is published. We have indexing companies that use the metadata so this is vital. If the metadata is wrong, it limits the usefulness of OJS, so fixing this would be a major win for OJS as a platform for hosting Journals.

Mark Gregory

I think it is fairly easy to let authors edit metadata. I can check this later today. Not as a final solution for the issue, but something you can do in the meantime.

Ok, so you just need to add ROLE_ID_AUTHOR here: https://github.com/pkp/pkp-lib/blob/master/classes/controllers/modals/submissionMetadata/SubmissionMetadataHandler.inc.php#L53

I tested that with 3.1.1 and tried saving changes as an author, seemed to work. Could be that there are some other issues I did not think of though.

thank you for this fix. We have found a major bug with OJS 3.1.1 and as soon as we find a fix to that bug we will include this fix for our site. It will give us a way forward - thank you again.