OJS 'How to cite' uses wrong language


I believe there is a problem with ‘How to cite’ in case of multilanguage OJS installation. If you have an article with localized (two different) titles then ‘How to cite’ show different way of referencing, two different titles, depending on the UI language a reader selects. That basically means there are two different references, which I believe is not OK, and has an impact on metrics,…

I believe there should be always the same reference, no matter of selected UI language. And that should be the primary language that is selected for the article.

To continue with this topic - I believe that should be the same with import/export formats (CrossReff, DOAJ,…).

Please let me know your opinion on this.

Regards, Primož

For citation style/translations, it appears that this will depend on the citation style, e.g., see http://www.citethisforme.com/blog/2019/02/20/cite-a-a-foreign-language-source . Some citation styles will want the title in its primary language with an English translation all in the same citation, whereas other styles will not want a translated title.
OJS in general could benefit from great flexibility/options in citation format output. Some journals require a citation style (or variation of a citation style) for their published articles (normally something that is typical/expected for their field) that is not available as a citation output in the reading tools. This does not make sense for readers who use the tool. It would be ideal if a journal could select and arrange the metadata fields included in a citation format (along with the desired punctuation, spacing, and text styling). I’m sure that’s easier said than done!


Hi @vgabler,

We depend on a third party CSL (Citation Style Language) toolkit, GitHub - seboettg/citeproc-php: Full-featured CSL 1.0.1 processor for PHP, which I don’t believe has support for permitting a subset of citation formats to use e.g. translated titles – we provide it with a title, and it’ll format any supported citation using that single title. This would need some work in the CSL toolkit before we could change it in OJS.

Alec Smecher
Public Knowledge Project Team

Dear @asmecher, @vgabler,
Thank you for this topic. I see it’s been 2 years now since posting it - has anything changed since that time?
I agree with @primozs that giving a citation in another language is not the best solution - the main text is one and it could be difficult to find it by other readers using only translated version of the title. (it is similar to translated book title - you won’t find it in any library catalogue by using the translation).
I also understand the differences in citation styles, but please consider that on the multilanguage version of OJS a user can find other versions of the title if it is necessary and fill in this information in the citation.
Is it possible to create citation in a language that depends on the submission language?
Please let me know how it works now. We have still OJS
Best regards

I agree with @primozs and @doridek: A reference must remain the same, no matter which UI language is selected in the OJS frontend. And it’s the title in the primary language of the submission that is relevant for citation purposes.
Title translations in other languages might also be relevant in certain situations, but these have to be considered secondary. If we look at the examples of citation styles illustrated on the web page cited by @vgabler, they have one thing in common: the title in the original language is always required, while translated titles are recommended/added in certain cases.
The problem with the OJS “How to cite” is that it simply does not recognize the original title. It seems incapable of discerning the title in original language from translated titles. But from the metadata available in the system this should be no problem logically. I think that the main problem has to be solved in OJS, not in the Citation Style Language (CSL) toolkit?

PS: There is also a pertinent thread in Github, see [OJS] title in Citation Style Language plugin change with the UI language · Issue #7212 · pkp/pkp-lib · GitHub

Hi all,

OJS will always present “official” metadata, whether or not it’s in translation/transliteration, since it’s not the citing author providing the translation/transliteration – it’s the article’s author or the journal’s editor.

Here are some concrete examples of multilingual citations “from the horse’s mouth” (i.e. APA, MLA, NLM style guides). These are presented for publication in English from multilingual sources but you can imagine similar examples in other languages.

  • APA: Piaget, J. (1966). La psychologie de l’enfant [The psychology of the child]. Paris, France: Presses Universitaires de France.
    • The article title is presented in both English and French.
  • APA: Motoki, S. (Producer), & Kurosawa, A. (Director). (1954). Shichinin no samurai [Seven samurai; motion picture]. Japan: Toho.
    • Individual names are presented in transliteration to Latin characters.
    • The item name is presented in transliteration to Latin and translation to English, but not in e.g. Hiragana script.
  • MLA: Tolstoy, Leo. Дневники 1895, 1896 г [Dnevniki 1895, 1896 g.; Diaries for the years 1895, 1986]. Tolstoy, Лев Толстой [Lev Tolstoĭ], vol. 53, p. 4.
    • The author name is presented in both Cyrillic and Latin transliteration
    • The item name is presented in original, transliteration to Latin, and translation to English
  • NLM (also Vancouver): Wilkniss SM, Hunter RH, Silverstein SM. [Multimodal treatment of aggression and violence in individuals with psychosis]. Sante Ment Que. 2004 Autumn;29(2):143-74. French.
    • The item name is only presented in translation, as indicated with []
  • NLM (also Vancouver): Aouizerate P, Guizard M. Prise en charge des thrombocytopenies induites par l'heparine = Management of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. Therapie. 2002;57(6):577-88. French, English.
    • The item title is included, as per the original, in both languages with a = separator
    • This form is noted as being particularly relevant for Canadian journals

Clearly no single choice of language – original, translated, or transliterated – will meet all of these needs, particularly in the case of transliteration (Japanese, Cyrillic, etc). But right now – unless I’ve missed something big, which is always possible – the CSL toolset we use to generate citations will only accept a single form of submission title, author name, journal title, etc. So we are forced to choose one; as this thread shows, not everyone will be happy with our choice, but choosing another will just cause frustration within a different segment. We could e.g. glue them all together, but that would be worse yet.

Ideally the CSL toolset (https://citationstyles.org/ for the overall project, GitHub - seboettg/citeproc-php: Full-featured CSL 1.0.1 processor for PHP for the PHP implementation we use) would allow us to pass along metadata in whatever combination of languages/character sets we have, and let the style implementations (APA, NLM, MLA, etc) make use of the best combination according to each style guide. However that isn’t yet the case. There are some relevant discussions:

Until the infrastructure allows for us to deliver the best metadata to the citation generation toolset, giving the reader the ability to choose what language to draw their citations in seems like the least-worst approach. But unless we jettison the CSL toolset and go back to writing our own citation extraction code – this would be a huge regression, in my opinion – we’re stuck with what CSL can support.

I’d encourage everyone who’s interested in this to engage with the CSL community (e.g. at https://discourse.citationstyles.org).

Alec Smecher
Public Knowledge Project Team

1 Like

We have also a journal that complained about this.

It’s not a matter of CSL (which just has rules to format the citation) itself, but which data the plugin passes to the CSL toolset.

In OJS, there is a metadata field languages that can be enabled in the workflow settings and can be used to indicate the original language of the article.

If available, the CSL plugin can read this metadata field and then pass the correct title to CSL.
I will make some code changes and share it on my fork of the CSL plugin.

We have instructed the editors of this journal to enable the field and fill it with the language data.