Ubiquity Press: presentation and new plugins

Dear PKP / OJS community,

Greetings! Ubiquity Press is a 100% open-access and open-source academic publisher and publishing platform to university and society presses, providing direct and hosted support to over 350 OJS journals in all academic fields. We’re here now to contribute two plugins we’ve developed to the community, introduce ourselves to those who don’t know us, and explain our plan to dedicate resources and engage with the community in the future.

You’ve been using the OJS platform for some time now, why have you contributed so little?

We really regret how little we’ve been able to contribute so far. This was due to not being able to dedicate development staff 100% to OJS and needing to make short-term decisions as a young company trying to break-even (our systems being built on a forked version of the main code, for expediency) rather than long-term investment in the open source platform. That stops now. We have (finally) been able to bring on Salman (@sm2020 here on the PKP forum), our dedicated full-time PHP developer, who will be focusing specifically on producing our backlog of journal features and contributing them to the community as open-source plugins and, where possible, candidates for inclusion in the core code.

What is your end goal?

Our goal has always been to run an open-source publishing system, offering our academic customers the vanilla version of OJS with a host of curated open-source OJS plugins added, to bring additional functionality and value. We will be migrating from OJS 2 to OJS 3, and once we have migrated, we want to avoid forking the code at all costs. We have a great deal of feedback from our customers and detailed user-stories, built from direct reports of desired site behaviour and functionality, as well as the fruit of collaborative discussions we’ve held over their time with us. This has allowed us to build a number of features into our system which we believe will benefit the OJS community, and which we are committed to sharing with you.

Why are you sharing this now?

We had planned for a long time to be able to share our feature set with the OJS community, but being on a forked version of the core code, we regrettably weren’t able to. With the release of OJS 3.x, we can completely rebuild our platform and feature set on this new code, and while this is a lot of work, it will allow us to finally be able to release features that work for other users, rather than code that’s adapted around our previous unique core.

Can you show us the source code?

Absolutely! (https://gitlab.com/ubiquitypress). We want to be fully open about our work on new features, re-building current features that we offer on our OJS 2.x platform, and our obstacles/assistance needs. We’re also very excited to discuss new features that other community members have a use-case for and new functionality that we haven’t yet considered, as well as collaborate and provide assistance on other pull-requests that the community is working on.

New plugins

Both plugins have been tested on OJS 3.2.0-1, and we owe a huge thank you to @NateWr and @ajnyga for their help with our first OJS plugins!


We’re looking forward to hearing from, and sharing with, you all, in the coming weeks and months. For more general information on our roadmap for our platform migration from OJS 2.x to 3.x, and our approach and progress with our feature backlog, please don’t hesitate to contact Peter Ford, our project manager (@UP_PFord here on the forum, or peter.ford@ubiquitypress.com) is always available to shed more light and discuss.

3 Likes

Hi @FrancescoDeVirgilio,

Welcome to the forum, and thanks for laying out this roadmap – we’re looking forward to working more with you! Anytime you’re interested in adding a plugin to the Plugin Gallery, feel free to contact me via a PM.

Regards,
Alec Smecher
Public Knowledge Project Team

Yeah, this sounds great @FrancescoDeVirgilio. Looking forward to it. Adding to what Alec said, we have some documentation on how to get a plugin into our plugin gallery here: https://docs.pkp.sfu.ca/dev/plugin-guide/en/release.

We’re also keen to talk about contributions to the core, so feel free to raise an issue over on our GitHub repository if you’d like to have a more technical discussion about what’s best in a plugin and what’s best in core.

Thanks @NateWr, in fact the question of “what’s best where” is still open for us, i.e. we are wondering whether a specific feature would be better placed in the core or in a plugin.

If you suggest that a GH issue is the best place to have that conversation, would you also suggest that we open a GH issue for every feature we are going to work on – so we can discuss in advance the scope of the feature and where would be best to have the functionality?

I suggest GitHub just because we tend to keep more technical discussions over there. Why don’t we start with GitHub issues for one or two of the features you think are most likely to justify core development and then from those discussions we should both get a better sense of what should go where.

Sometimes it may make sense for something to be a plugin but for us to make adjustments in core that make the plugin easier to build or maintain.

If that works for you at PKP, will definitely work for us :smiley:

I will ask our project manager @UP_PFord to write short user stories about the functionality with details about the expected behaviour and start creating just a couple of issues to progress the conversation on some of the most pressing tasks we have on our side.

Thanks again!

Hi all, I am happy to announce that we just released a new plugin that implements Taxonomy, more info here: Subject Taxonomy plugin for OJS3

2 Likes

Hi all,

We have now released a new open-source plugin that provides functionality for submitting authors to suggest peer reviewers. The main post for this plugin can be found here: Suggested reviewers plugin for OJS3