Publishing online first without the Forthcoming plugin

Hello all,

I’m trying to implement an online-first workflow, and came across the Forthcoming plugin, but I’m not clear on what the advantage is.

Here’s my proposed workflow:

  1. Create an issue titled ‘Online first’, with the next issue and volume number (but these are hidden by unchecking their checkboxes in the issue’s settings).
  2. Add new submissions, and assign them to the ‘Online first’ issue
  3. Once sufficient submissions for an issue are published, change the title of the ‘Online first’ issue to its ‘real’ title, and select the checkboxes to display volume number, issue number, and year.
  4. Create a new, blank ‘Online first’ issue and repeat the cycle.

As far as I can tell this should work. The only potential downside I can see is with metadata: the temporary title of the issue (‘Online first’) might be transmitted to third parties. But in all other respects it works, since internally the volume and issue numbers are accurate, as is the year, and so any DOIs generated will still be accurate once the issue is converted into a ‘real’ issue.

Two questions:

  • Is my understanding of this workflow correct?
  • What is the value of the Forthcoming plugin? Is it mainly to avoid the metadata complications above?

Hi @laurenced,

That is almost exactly the way we have solved this issues in one of our journals. The only difference with us is that we put articles in the Online first issue temporarely and when ready reasign the articles to a new issue that is published.
With our approach the DOI suffix can not include issue number, but it is possible to overcome that.

What you should verify and solve is the publishing date. Please check when the article and the issue publication date is set. That is the only think that might be a problem, but not sure, just verify it to be sure.

Regards, Primož

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Hi @primozs do you ever run into problems from indexers and aggregators when you reassign an article from the Online First issue to a new, published issue?

Also, how do you manage the Current Issue? Is Online First always treated as the Current Issue, or do you maintain a second navigation menu item with a link to Online First and set the latest numbered issue with the Current Issue flag?

Hi @tmrozewski,

I am not aware of any problems regarding the indexing. We are making sure that the DOI doesn’t change. When the real issue is published, we move all Online First articles into this new issue. Thus we have in the navigation always the same item ‘Online First’ and normal current issue. The only observation I have is that we submit the ‘indexing’ data to the DOAJ only after the real issue is published and not while an article is in the Online First.

Regards, Primož

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Thanks for that, that’s a real reassurance. Our DOIs are based on the ISSN and the submission ID so issue number doesn’t factor into it.

Are you able to share the URL of the journal with me? I’d love to see how this system works in practice.

Hi @tmrozewski,

No problem, here it is:

Regards, Primož

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Hi @primozs,
can I ask about numbering pages after reassigning the articles to the new issue? Do you have to upload new files with the right pagination to the assignment?

Hi @doridek,

Most probably the page numbers change and that means you have to upload a new files.

Regards, Primož

Hello! Sorry for replying to an old topic.

I am researching this method of an online-first workflow on behalf of one of our journals and basically have similar questions. I’m wondering how serious the problem with indexing the online first-issues is. I was thinking that the indexing services should be able to identify changes to the metadata somewhat regularly (versioning of articles would be inadvisable otherwise, no?). Anyone with examples of issues stemming from this workflow? I’m probably missing something here, grateful for any input.

At the moment I am thinking of recommending a similar workflow as the one you describe @laurenced (it is also similar to what’s in the Learning OJS manual), but additionally using the versioning functionality for the final paginated versions, so the metadata and PDF will be updated but the online first-version will be preserved. Anyone with experience in doing this?

All the best,
Magnus A