2.4.1 Create stylesheet
The accepted manuscript needs to be structured and formed into a page layout from which you produce the final file format. This will be based on the style you have adopted (see Section 2.2.4 Adopt style) and the layout you have designed or adopted (see Section 2.2.3 Create article layout). Using these elements, you should create a set of instructions – the stylesheet – for the Layout Editor or Typesetter to follow. If you are working with a typesetter and have adopted a layout they have suggested, a stylesheet might already exist. A sample stylesheet checklist is provided under ADDITIONAL RESOURCES.
Before you begin publishing actual articles, it is wise to ask the Layout Editor or Typesetter to produce a sample article, preferably based on an actual article.
2.4.2 Define file formats
Prior to publishing, you must decide what file formats you will reproduce and publish articles in. The most common formats for the final files are PDF and HTML. Many scholar publishers who carry out layout editing within their own team are tempted to create PDF files only, as these can easily be produced using a Adobe or another program. However, adding an HTML format can be advantageous. This format is widely used both due to its smaller size, making it an easily accessible format for the developing world, and because it is better for creating dynamic content.
The extendable markup language (XML) version is also very useful, especially for harvesting and archival purposes and for some indexing services and databases, such as PubMed and/or PubMed Central, this format is required. Today many suppliers take the text document and code it into an XML file and from that produce HTML and PDF files.
2.4.3 Register for DOIs
Prior to launching your Journal, you should consider registering with an agency to obtain Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for the articles you will publish. DOIs function in principle like a post office box, with a similar advantage. Although the owner of a post office box might move occasionally, his or her address remains the same. Only the post office itself must be notified of the new physical address. Mail will continue to find its way to the more permanent address. Similarly, DOIs provide a permanent “post office box” that enables a stable “address” for journal articles. Although a publisher might migrate to a new host or server, leading to a new URL for an article, he or she need only inform the DOI agency of the change in “address”. Articles with DOIs are cited using their DOIs and as such can be found in the future regardless of the current URLs behind them.
To obtain DOIs, most scholarly publishers turn to CrossRef, a not-for-profit membership association that issues DOIs and offers a linking service between scientific articles. In addition to issuing the DOIs and providing this permanent “address”, CrossRef is a linking service that enables linking through the DOIs, which are tagged to article metadata. The result is an efficient, scalable linking system through which a researcher can click on a reference citation in a journal and immediately access the cited article. Being a part of this system can help generate traffic to your Journal.
a) Send an application to CrossRef. CrossRef will send you an agreement for you to sign.
b) Upon acceptance you will receive a DOI prefix.
c) Decide upon a structure for your article-level DOIs. Get help from CrossRef.
How to use DOIs
References including metadata and DOI numbers:
- Upon receipt of a new manuscript, deposit new article references along with their metadata with CrossRef.
- Before publication of an article, query and retrieve metadata from CrossRef – add/paste the links.
- Deposit DOI numbers when the article is published.
If you are using a professional typesetter, they might be able to deposit DOIs on your behalf.
CrossRef charges two types of fees for their services; one annual – based on publishing revenue, and one for each deposit, e.g.:
< 1 mill USD revenue USD 275/year
One article DOI deposit USD 1/deposit
At the time of publishing this guide, the Open Access Publishers Association, OASPA had entered an agreement with CrossRef to provide scholar publisher members with DOIs at no charge with their membership. Contact OASPA for more information.
For additional information on CrossRef fees, visit the organization’s information page.
CrossRef offers a number of other services, including Cited by – an ‘articles citing this article’ feature. Cited-by Linking (formerly Forward Linking) is a service showing which articles have been cited. This information can be presented on your online publication platform. See the CrossRef website for more information .
2.4.4 Design production workflow
One of the most critical activities to carry out to set up your Journal is to plan an efficient workflow for managing the actual publication of accepted manuscripts. In most publishing houses the activities in this workflow are referred to as production work.
Before presenting a possible workflow for carrying out production work, it is useful to review the roles involved in the process, particularly because some of this work can be outsourced.
Depending on type of journal, number of papers, volume, funding, etc, different production stages can be handled by the authors themselves, internally by a member of the editorial team, by an assigned Production Editor or through external support, or a combination of all. For instance, if the Journal uses a specific ‘template’ for the manuscript layout, authors can be required to adjust the manuscript to the Journal style upon submission (or the revised and final version). This might mean that there is no need for a copyeditor or layout editor. The production roles you create will depend on the competence of your team, how much time and money you can spend and the extent of the material; a few papers a month can probably be carried out in-house whereas 10 or more can require external assistance.
In general, a member of your team should take on the role of a Production Editor. The Production Editor will then follow the manuscript throughout the process, from once it has been accepted until it is published online and distributed to any third parties. In addition to the Production Editor, others who can be involved in the process include: Copyeditor, Language Editor and a Layout Editor or Typesetter.
Many scholar publishers handle the role of copyeditor themselves, or assign it to a graduate student or member of the publishing team. It is also possible to hire a freelance copy-editor. You can find one either through the internet (see ADDITIONAL RESOURCES for some links) or through word-of-mouth. Typesetters generally offer copy-editing services at an additional price. As noted above, some journals place the role of copyediting upon the author, by asking them to use a template and carefully follow the instructions to authors.
The copyeditor’s role is to correct manuscripts for use of correct referencing system, conformity with journal style and layout. Copyediting can also involve different levels of language editing, depending upon what has been decided by the editors.
Layout Editor or Copyeditor
Finally, you will need to determine whether you will have a Layout Editor (possibly the Production Editor him/herself) or a Typesetter. One or the other will be involved in structuring the original manuscript, including figures and tables, into an article, presented in various formats. Layout editing is performed in-house by the editor or someone close to the editorial team, while typesetting is performed externally by a typesetting company.
If the journal uses a strict and very specific template for the manuscript layout, the author can adjust the manuscript in accordance with the journal style (see Section 2.2.4 Adopt style) upon submission or the editor can take on the task of editing the final version of the paper him/herself.
In-house layout editing can be a solution if you have limited funds and a limited number of papers to publish; a few papers a month can probably be carried out in-house whereas 10 and more might ask for external assistance.
With the software available today you can produce the layout of the articles in-house, using either a word processing system such as Microsoft Word or desktop publishing software like Adobe’s InDesign. To prepare the proofs it is recommended to convert the text file to a PDF.
If the extent of material increases significantly, and considering the continuous drop in typesetting costs, outsourcing typesetting to a professional typesetter can be a worthwhile choice (and could include copyediting as well, depending of course on the level of copyediting the journal articles require). An additional advantage can be that the feed to third parties, such as indexing and archiving services, can be done directly from the supplier as well as DOI generation (see Section 2.4.4. Register for DOIs).
A few words about metadata
During the production process, articles will be tagged with metadata. Metadata is not critical to the production process itself, but make it possible to harvest an article and improve its searchability.
Metadata describes data at a high level and provides information about an item’s content. For example, a document’s metadata may contain information about the author of the document, when it was produced, number of words and characters, etc. A figure or an image may include metadata that describes the size of the graph/picture, the resolution, when the figure/image was created etc.
Metadata in the form of meta tags (keywords and description) are often included in web pages to describe the content and search engines use this data when adding pages to their search index.
Metadata records describing research articles are often created manually for indexing in a database. Examples of fields used to describe an article are title, author/s name, affiliation, abstract, keywords, classification etc. Upon publication, these metadata may be collected by metadata harvesters to improve the search ability of the articles.
It should be easy for someone who has found a metadata record (in most cases through Google) to: a) make a quick estimation of whether the work is of interest, and b) retrieve necessary information to make it as easy as possible to find copies of your work. The better information that is available to meet a) and b) the better the chances are that the usage and citations of your articles will increase (see Sections 4.5 Ensure impact and 4.5.3 Track impact).
Metadata harvesters are software programs that collect metadata. Since the harvesting is an automatic procedure the data needs to be organized and structured. This is done by using a metadata protocol. One of the most known protocols are the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting – usually referred to as OAI-PMH .
A good way to disseminate your Journal content is to participate in an Open Archives Initiative (OAI) harvesting system. There are many metadata harvesters, for example OAIster, a union catalog of digital resources who collect metadata from a wide range of journals, books and digital repositories and the PKP harvester.
- When defining guidelines for metadata creation, use standards known to your intended users. E. g. if you publish a medical journal, consider requiring your authors to use National Library of Medicines MESH keywords when describing their paper.
- Check which metadata harvesters that are relevant for your journal? Perhaps your library knows of any (local) initiatives?
- Is the journal management system your use able to create metadata in line with the OAI protocol? For example, the PKP harvester is built into the OJS software.
The flowchart below presents a suggested workflow for handling production. It is organized according to the stages through which an accepted manuscript progresses until it is published online. Instructions for each stage will appear when you place your cursor over the relevant box. The full text, describing the process, is found at the bottom of the diagram as well as in a single document titled Production Workflow under ADDITIONAL RESOURCES.
Once a manuscript is accepted it moves into the production process. Accepted manuscripts are delivered to the Production Editor via email or through a journal management system.
If using an online system, the author has uploaded a final version through the website and the manuscript is already ‘registered’ in the system. Manuscripts that are delivered in paper or via an email to the Production Editor, the editor or editorial secretary are registered upon receipt of a final version.
Ms quality checked
Production Editor checks that layout, style and other instructions have been followed. e.g. :
- figures and tables are of good quality
- correct reference system has been used
- structured abstract if applicable
- keywords are supplied
See ADDITIONAL RESOURCES for checklist.
The manuscript will either meet quality criteria or not. If it does, the manuscript moves directly to language and copyediting. If it does not, the manuscript must be altered either by the Production Editor or the author. If the author is asked to alter the manuscript, it is common to allow only a few days for turnaround.
Ms copy- and language edited
Copyediting and language editing, to various degrees, is carried out on manuscripts that follow all formal quality instructions. Copyediting is carried out to correct grammar, references, consistency, and any elements that do not follow the proscribed layout in accordance with the Journal style.
Ms typeset/layout edited; page proofs ready
The manuscript is typeset or layout edited in-house or externally by a consultant or through the typesetter in accordance with the layout instructions. Guidelines and instructions to authors are important to follow. At this stage page proofs are produced, preferably in PDF format.
Proofs checked and distributed
Production Editor checks that the PDF has been produced in accordance with the journal style and makes sure that figures and tables appear correctly. Proofs are then distributed to author, editor, proofreader etc. An Author Query Sheet (AQS) can accompany the proof, with any queries that have arisen during the copyediting, with clear indication in the proof itself. Guidelines for author corrections should be supplied, in paper or online.
Marked proofs corrected
Author’s and Editor’s corrections are incorporated into the proof and a clean file is produced. Production Editor should check that the author has replied to all Author queries that might have been submitted by the Copyeditor. Note! If the author has a large number of corrections it can be wise to send a 2nd proof to the author for final approval. It is much better to take this extra step than having to publish an erratum subsequently.
Files supplied (e.g. PDF, HTML XML)
At this stage, the Typesetter or Layout Editor will prepare and supply the final files in the requested formats. They will also query and retrieve metadata from CrossRef (see Section 2.4.3 Register for DOIs) and add /paste the hyperlinks. The files are then reviewed by the Production Editor who checks that the final corrections have been incorporated correctly and that the various files open correctly and reference links are activated.
Files mounted online and sent to 3rd parties, if applicable
Layout Editor or Typesetter uploads the file/s to the publication platform and checks order of appearance. The article is officially published. At the same time, or shortly thereafter, files are distributed to third parties (e.g. Eprint digital archives such as PMC, ERIC etc.).
Files are sent to various indexing, abstracting, database services, etc. Alerts to Readers/RSS are sent/activated.
If you are working with issues, decide on the order of manuscripts in the issue.
Production Editor: checks Table of Contents; checks and updates the cover pages including the spine (if applicable) with volume and issue number, page range etc. (This is of course necessary if you print the journal but quite a few online journals also publish a cover with the new issue.), checks and updates the colophon page (if applicable) – for print purposes only.
Issue proof distributed to editor for approval
Proof is distributed to Editor/s and proofreader if needed, i.e. if layout editing/typesetting is done externally. Production Editors checks that all final corrections have been incorporated and that pagination is correct, and checks that Table of Contents is correct and that the cover pages have been updated correctly.
Marked issue proof corrected
Final corrections are made. Clean proof for final approval if necessary.
The issue is now ready for print.
Printing & Binding
If Journal is also available in print edition, print- and bind order is prepared including information about paper, board, binding, print-run, color pages and delivery information of ready copies.
Warehouse & Distribution
The issue is sent to the warehouse or distributed directly from the printers. Orders (list of subscribers) or labels are prepared for the distribution.
Ms/issue harvested for metadata
Collect, export, distribute. See “A few words about metadata” above.
Ms/issue backup copies made
Carried out on a regular basis, (e.g. once a day), and possibly in two locations. See Section 2.1.4 Ensure backup.