As you've probably discovered, OJS will log all correspondence sent via the system (if the logging option is enabled) -- but responses to these emails, as they don't interact with OJS, won't be logged. You have two options:
- Bring external messages into OJS. This will require code to insert outside messages into the database tables and some manner of collecting the emails.
- Gather all correspondence outside of OJS. If you can configure an external email account to which all correspondence should be BCC'd, modifying OJS to automatically CC all messages to this account is trivial (using classes/mail/Mail.inc.php). Then, when you receive outside emails via a traditional email client, they'll either be already CC'd to the journal's account (if the Author, for example, used Reply All) or you'll have to forward it to the journal account manually.
Because you're dealing with multiple email packages (e.g. OJS and Outlook) and multiple users (the editorial team, who can follow journal policies, and external users like authors and reviewers, who likely won't in a reliable manner), this will be a difficult problem to solve.
A third option would be to work at the mail server level -- if everyone on the editorial team can get an account specific to the journal, you may be able to configure the mail server to archive all sent and received emails at that point. This becomes more of a privacy issue.
In general, we've tried to encourage users to use the OJS facilities whenever possible -- first, the workflow and editing processes that are built in, and second, the generic email icons as a fallback. Outside users such as Authors and Reviewers are difficult to predict, however, as they generally interact with the system very rarely and have various levels of experience with web-based systems.
If you find that users only occasionally step outside of the built-in OJS functions, which are logged properly, it might be easiest to use the Editor's "History" page for a submission to record interactions informally via notes.
Open Journal Systems Team
Don't miss the First International PKP Scholarly Publishing Conference
July 11 - 13, 2007, Vancouver, BC, Canada