OJS: How to publish article online prior to publication of issue


I use OJS for a journal and have a question regarding early publication/release date.

We have two files which needs to be published now, months before our next issue is published. However, we would also like to have these files featured in the upcoming issue. They have already been copyedited and typeset as the first 20 pages of the next issue and saved as PDFs.

How can i publish these two files now, as free standing files, and then have them appear in the same way (same URL) in November when the issue is released?

It’s very important for the URL to remain the same, as the file will be shared on multiple platforms and websites.

Thank you!

I know that some create an issue with a title like “Forthcoming” and add the articles first there. Then, when the actual issue is published they remove the article from the “Forthcoming” issue and move it to the actual one. The problem here is that this affects the journal metadata, meaning that the “Forthcoming” issue is visible in the OAI-PMH feed.

For this reason I tried to solve this with a plugin, but I am not sure whether it meets you demands: https://github.com/ajnyga/preprints

edit: and the use of term “preprint” is actually a bit misleading there, I probably should rename the plugin.

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Thank you for your reply, ajnyga.

That’s a good point. Could i not just publish the forthcoming issue as it will appear in November, but simply populate with the two articles for the moment and make other edits/add additional articles at a later date?

Yes, I think that some journals actually publish an issue and then add the articles one by one over time. Metadata wise this is definitely better, because you do not have a “ghost” issue visible in OAI-PMH.

we have been doing the same as @ajnyga has mentioned above. We publish an issue and name it as “ahead of print” and keep adding articles. When it is time to make it an print issue, we remove the “ahead of print” and add proper page numbers to all the articles.

You can visit https://jlmc.edu.np to see what I mean.

We will be doing the same until we get a proper way. I will check the plugin as @ajnyga has mentioned above.


Thank you so much for your insights.
Very helpful.


Refuge: Canada’s Journal on RefugeesWebsite: www.yorku.ca/refuge
Email: refuge@yorku.ca

Christina Clark-Kazak, Editor-in-Chief
Johanna Reynolds, Managing Editor
Dianna Shandy, Book Review Editor

Hello @anupent, Your https://jlmc.edu.np/ Journal looks very nice, Can you please tell me how you make HTML view of articles. Please suggest me the steps to do that.

Hi @mohdwaseem,

I used jatsParser plugin in past and now I use oldGregg theme by @Vitaliy. This theme itself contains the plugin.

But, I make JATS xml first. This xml file is rendered by jatsParser into html page.

For more info about oldGregg theme, you can visit

I use docs2xml converter to convert .docx to Jats.XML file. You can see this for more info:

Best regards,

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I am also writing the code for JATS XML online editor, which will give the opportunity for OJS users to edit JATS XML with TinyMCE.
Then planning to add DOCX - > JATS XML converter into the OJS as a plugin. It will be better than any other existing :slight_smile:


Like cureus.com? Thats the most important thing what I have been waiting for!

Maybe, I don’t know how they are handling JATS XML editing.

I am refactoring the code of JATS Parser (want to make it more easy for other developers to add the support for new JATS tags there). JATS Parser plugin is near a halfway to the online editor. As you can see from this schema, we already have first and last transformations.

JATS XML → PHP Objects → tinyMCE → PHP Objects → front-end to the user.

Dear ajnyga, we have installed your forthcoming plugin in OJS 3.1.0-1. However, the option “Show as forthcoming” does not show up in the Schedule for publication form as described in the readme. Any suggestions?


I think that the plugin is currently only compatible with 3.0.2. I will upload a compatible version within a few hours and let you know.

See Release OJS3.1.0.1 · ajnyga/forthcoming · GitHub

Thanks for this superquick update. We’ll test it and I will let you know if it works on our installation.

I have had similar situation. Editorial board call it On line first.
I created issue with that name and created menu that links to link of that issue:
You can easily assign those articles to real issue which will be published in the future.
Maybe this helps. Please feel free if you need further help for that.

Two of our journals used that method earlier. The problem was that the “online first” issue was messing up the metadata visible in OAI-PMH because the “online first” issue showed up as an ordinary issue there. Our platform sends the article metadata to the national library using OAI-PMH so we had to solve “online first” in a different way. That is why I wrote the plugin above.

I will try it and let you know hot it goes? Can I translate it?

Of course. I suggest that you test it on another server first. There were a couple of problems I had. Firstly, I could not use the default article page templates because those require that issue data is available. That could probably be solved somehow. The other was that the PDF.js plugin has hardcoded return links to the article abstract page.

When OJS adopts the “publish as you go” model and the issue data is not required anymore for published articles, this kind of plugin is probably a lot easier to create.

edit: probably there could be many enhancements possible at the moment. I think that the new navigation menu feature for example enables to add custom menu items from plugins, meaning that the plugin could automatically add the Forthcoming-link as an option.

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My colleagues asked me whether they can start publish OnlineFirst forthcoming articles. I wonder whether @vvucic had a chance to try the plugin and whether it worked fine. The second question is for @ajnyga - will it work on 3.1.1-4? I am upgrading from 3.0.2 next week and if the plugin works, but for, then maybe I should upgrade to that and not to the very latest one?