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Prevent authors to access unlocked subission steps

Are you an Editor, Author, or Journal Manager in need of help? Want to talk to us about workflow issues? This is your forum.

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Prevent authors to access unlocked subission steps

Postby mgscano » Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:48 am

Okay, this may be more of a feature request than a forum discussion, but I wonder it would be nice if the authors of a submission in "unassigned" state could be prevented from accessing the Review and Editing pages.

It may sound silly, but I have a lot of users uploading their submission files as Author Review versions :?

bye,

Marco
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Re: Prevent authors to access unlocked subission steps

Postby jmacgreg » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:06 pm

Hi Marco,

IIRC, in OCS we don't restrict authors from seeing those pages when they shouldn't be uploading new files, but we do disable the upload function. What do you think of that possible solution? It would still allow the pages to be displayed, something I think is important for authors to see so that they have an idea as to the workflow ahead (and the location of said workflow).

There is one other consideration: there may be cases where authors mistakenly upload the wrong submission file, or want to update it before it reaches review -- in this case, allowing them to upload files might be useful. Of course, they don't necessarily know the option exists, and there may be other ways to facilitate this (eg. suggesting that for any inquiries, updates, retractions etc. they could email the journal's primary contact). Any thoughts on this?

Cheers,
James
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Re: Prevent authors to access unlocked subission steps

Postby mgscano » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:28 am

Hi James,

at a first sight, I think preventing ppl to upload files in unlocked stages would be an excellent solution, since I totally agree with leaving the authors view the entire process is a good thing. Do you have an applicable patch for that?

Under a broader point-of-view, the problem of authors not following the guidelines is one of the most time consuming of all our journal editorial process. It's a nightmare! Since we're an international journal, and we also have a PubMed/Medline indexed print version, we must stick to the PMC image specifications requirements, and almost nobody follows those rules at first attempt.

Then, we have some other requirements we've decided just to speed up review and editing process. To give you an idea: we ask authors to put all their tables in a single supplementary file, one per page. Most of the submissions have multiple files with one table per file. 60% of the submissions don't make it to the Peer Review.

This is a sitewide problem, anyway. Authors (sometimes also SEs :roll: ) simply throw files around with no apparent logics, without even caring about the page title. Whichever form they got handy first, they will use it. I know at first it may seem hilarious, but trust me, having to deal with that everyday is a pain.

Having the capability to customize the submission process would be great, but I guess it would take too much coding. At least it would be extremely useful if there was some sort of form where the Journal Manager could consistently edit the form descriptions, so to guide users while they're in the page. I know this can be done by editing the locale.xml files, but they are really too many (and too spread arount the directory) to be consistently followed.

bye,

Marco
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Re: Prevent authors to access unlocked subission steps

Postby jmacgreg » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:37 pm

Hi Marco,

Thanks for the further detail, and further suggestions! See below:

at a first sight, I think preventing ppl to upload files in unlocked stages would be an excellent solution, since I totally agree with leaving the authors view the entire process is a good thing. Do you have an applicable patch for that?


Nope, no patch and actually not even a bug report until now -- see http://pkp.sfu.ca/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=5623. It looks like the only place where authors have an unrestricted upload ability is under Review -> Editor Decision; that bug report addresses the issue. If you would like to comment further, please do so!

Under a broader point-of-view, the problem of authors not following the guidelines is one of the most time consuming of all our journal editorial process. It's a nightmare! Since we're an international journal, and we also have a PubMed/Medline indexed print version, we must stick to the PMC image specifications requirements, and almost nobody follows those rules at first attempt.


Would this problem be addressed by http://pkp.sfu.ca/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=5607, at least in part? If not, could you provide more detail? Being able to better support PubMed/Medline journals is of course a priority for us.

Then, we have some other requirements we've decided just to speed up review and editing process. To give you an idea: we ask authors to put all their tables in a single supplementary file, one per page. Most of the submissions have multiple files with one table per file. 60% of the submissions don't make it to the Peer Review.

This is a sitewide problem, anyway. Authors (sometimes also SEs :roll: ) simply throw files around with no apparent logics, without even caring about the page title. Whichever form they got handy first, they will use it. I know at first it may seem hilarious, but trust me, having to deal with that everyday is a pain.


This is something that might be a little more difficult for us to justify supporting (eg. limiting the number of supplementary files), and should probably be "solved" somehow by tweaking author guidelines, making them more visible, etc. Of course, no one reads author guidelines, it would appear. Maybe a good idea would be to add general supplementary file configurability to the journal setup. I've added the following as a new report: http://pkp.sfu.ca/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=5624. Please feel free to comment further on that report as well.

Having the capability to customize the submission process would be great, but I guess it would take too much coding. At least it would be extremely useful if there was some sort of form where the Journal Manager could consistently edit the form descriptions, so to guide users while they're in the page. I know this can be done by editing the locale.xml files, but they are really too many (and too spread arount the directory) to be consistently followed.


From what I understand based on your description (and others that I've witnessed), the larger problem is in fact two problems: 1) authors don't typically read and follow the author guidelines; and 2) the system doesn't comprehensively restrict authors (and SEs) from following the proper workflow process. I think the above bug reports will make the author workflow process a little smoother. Of course, we do have to balance these kinds of restrictions with the necessity of providing a general-use platform for a great deal of different journal type and workflow processes. If you have any further suggestions, please let us know.

Cheers,
James
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