Primary contact not being regarded as primary contact?

Hello, sorry if this has been brought up, but I did some searching and couldn’t find a proper answer to this question.

In our journals, some works get submitted by a research team, and many times the person who does the process of setting up and account and submitting the paper is not the “main” authority/contact for the paper.

In these cases, we want the communication to go to the person listed as the Primary Contact on the system. We have noticed that in regards to stuff like sending editorial decisions, all contributors will be informed of the decision, but for other communications, such as the option to notify the author or starting a review discussion, there is only the option of contacting the submitting author, not any of the other contributors, more specifically, there is no option to actually contact the primary contact themself. We have also noticed that the submission acknowledgement message only gets sent to the submitting author.

This makes the “primary contact” option seem useless to us, are we doing anything wrong, or is this how the system was designed? Is there a way to contact the primary contact and other authors through the system without using the options of editorial decisions?

We are currently running OJS, from what I looked up, it seems that newer versions are more flexible in regards to communication between the journal and its users, but until we do upgrade, is there anything we can do to make our communication better?

Thanks in advance!


I think you’re right that there have been some changes in 3.3 that deal with the issue of contacts differently. What you might want to do is test some things out in our test drive instance to get a sense of how things might work a little differently with respect to this feature:

I don’t know that there would be a whole lot that you would be able to do to adjust this in 3.2 - you may find that upgrading to 3.3 is the better option.

PKP Team

Hello @rcgillis,

Thanks for the demo link, I logged in and am looking around, but in regards to editor-author communication I’m not seeing any practical differences. The “Notify” and “Add discussion” buttons still only let me communicate with the submitting author, even after changing the primary contact to someone else, and I couldn’t find a place to send a message to the primary contact directly through OJS (aside from editorial decisions, but those can’t be used for simple discussions).

I can’t find the exact source right now, but I saw this screenshot on the Github a while ago, which I believe would be the sort of change that we want. Is this coming to a future version of OJS?

Thank you again for your response.


Yes - I see what you mean. To send a message to a primary contact you should be able to search for the user account in “Users and Roles” - and then, select the email option available once you click the little arrow down by their name:

Screen Shot 2022-04-26 at 2.14.29 PM

Corresponding with other contacts associated with a submission would be contingent on them having account within OJS.

I couldn’t pinpoint the source of that screenshot either, but in all likelihood if you see a screenshot it might be tied to the most recent forthcoming version of OJS, which is 3.4. @NateWr might be able to speak to this a bit further as to whether or not there are any plans around changing this feature.

PKP Team

Hello, @rcgillis.

Yeah, if the person has an account on OJS then it’s much simpler, as they can also be added as participants in the article itself, at which point they can be notified from within the article and added to discussions just like the submitting author.

It seems we will have to wait for the changes that may come in the future, and in the meantime we will just try to warn authors about submitting with the e-mail that will be used for primary communication with the journal editors (which should be standard practice honestly haha).

Thank you for your time, we look forward to the future features of OJS!


Yes, the screenshot you linked to is part of the new editorial decisions UI that will be coming in 3.4. More screenshots, including a video walkthrough, can be found in this issue.

This makes the “primary contact” option seem useless to us, are we doing anything wrong, or is this how the system was designed?

The system is designed to always communicate with the authors assigned as participants in the submission. So if you look on the submission’s workflow page, on the right you’ll see Participants, which included editors and others. Any users added as authors there will be treated as the responsible authors. By default, only the submitting author is added, and anyone who appears there must have a user account in the system.

The “primary contact” option is intended to be a public-facing setting. Once published, it can indicate which author should be the contact author for enquiries regarding the work. (I’m not sure if we actually show this in the default theme, but some themes highlight the primary contact.)

We have noticed that in regards to stuff like sending editorial decisions, all contributors will be informed of the decision

Just a note on how editorial decision notifications work in 3.4: the author(s) assigned as participants will be notified of every decision, and all other contributors will receive a copy of this notice. However, these emails often include information about what to do next, so the copy they receive will have a preface indicating that the email was sent to the assigned author, and they are only receiving a copy for their information.

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Hello @NateWr, thank you for your response.

That video looks great! We’re really excited for the new version, major props to everyone on the development team!

In regards to adding authors as participants, yeah, it is a decent solution that we were already aware of as I said, though it is a bit inconvenient since it requires the user to be registered within the system, but we understand somewhat the need for it to be this way.

About the primary contact, it makes sense that it is an option for the readers, but as you said, I believe the default theme does not show any differences so we never realized that.

Finally, about the information, I’m sure we will be able to adjust our templates and workflow when we do update to 3.4, from watching the video it seems it will be simple enough!

Thank you once more for the responses, cheers!

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