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.
- Competing interests plugin for submission form/journal section admin (https://gitlab.com/ubiquitypress/ojs-plugin-competing-interests); there is a dedicated thread about this plugin here: Competing Interests plugin for OJS3
- Version footer plugin (https://gitlab.com/ubiquitypress/ojs-plugin-custom-version). This plugin shows the OJS version in the footer of all admin dashboard pages. This allows for much more accurate reporting of bugs/error behaviour from our customers to our development team, and speeds up the diagnostic process.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org) is always available to shed more light and discuss.