I have been "managing from below" and think I now have the path clear, conceptually. I'm fact checking as I make recommendations to the key parties above me. I now have a plan for a plan, at least, for resolution of the question of how to be able to sell Reflections subscriptions. Does the below make sense? You see, it eliminates the possibility that an editor or department could abscond with funds and it makes centralized accounting possible. At the departmental level, one additional security measure is that the "publisher" say the Chair as well as the editor would have the OJS password, so at any time she/he could double check that the Paypal link within OJS hasn't been redirected to the editor's personal account or something.
Of course, the final answer could be no, but there appears to be a commitment on all parts to make this work. The fallback plan would have to be setting up an external nonprofit authorized by CSU to collect subscriptions on behalf of Reflections and deliver all proceeds to the university. Instead, according to the current vision, Reflections will be the guinea pig in an effort by the University to ascertain the proper mechanisms that would need to be in place for units to use PayPal to do such things as sell online journal subscriptions, collect dues for professional associations they host, collect registrations for conferences such as the CCCOSW that we host, etc.. The lessons learned about use of PayPal within the OJS environment will be transferable to use of PayPal generally, including by other colleges or units on campus.
This work will take place steadily over the next few months. It will involve General Counsel amendments to the Paypal contract to make it compatible with Ohio law; Auditor approval of the methods of confirming the accounting; Controller agreement to the plans developed for how to reconcile spreadsheets of subscribers generated from within the OJS software with the spreadhsheets Paypal produces each time the Controller downloads the latest income, etc..
Basically the way it would work is this, as I imagine it, based upon what I understand at this point.
1. Reflections sets up a Subscription Type within the OJS software, choosing Online as the payment method.
2. CSU Controller’s office sets up a PayPal account for email@example.com
or another designated email account to identify the income coming in from the Reflections stream.
a. The password for that account would likely not be known by Reflections.
b. As part of that set-up process, the CSU bank account number is provided.
c. A test deposit is made to authenticate the CSU account to PayPal.
d. I will recommend that Reflections deposit a sum sufficient to ensure that PayPal can subsequently upon request permit the transfer to CSU of all new subscription income, with any processing fee’s deducted per transaction. The initial deposit would cover the monthly flat fees and the escrow amount that PayPal requires remain in their account to cover any refunds and disputes. This way each spreadsheet’s total, divided by the number of subscribers, should equal the total number of subscribers times the subscription fee, once the per transaction fee is accounted for.
3. A system is set in place to reconcile accounts.
a. Reflections documents its ability to produce from within the OJS system spreadsheets showing who has subscribed, dates, and amounts paid during any specified period.
b. Periodically the Controller transfers funds from the PayPal account to CSU account, and a journal entry is done by the Controller.
c. For each download of funds covering a specified period (say once a month) a spreadsheet is downloaded from PayPal with the names and emails of the subscribers, amount paid, date paid, etc.
i. In some cases the emails used to pay PayPal may differ from the email used to register for Refections, but it should be possible to reconcile these (see below). The system would require the names to be the same, I believe (fact check).
d. Funds are transferred from Controller to the subscription account set up by Beth Carlton:Acct: 8405 Fund: 0891 Dept: None Program: None Class: 91644.
e. The Controller sends a copy of the PayPal spreadsheet to Reflections.
f. The person responsible for PeopleSoft operations of that account (yours truly, once I’m trained) is informed that the funds are transferred and receives a copy of the spreadsheet that the Controller got from PayPal.
i. It is unclear who will be responsible for downloading that spreadsheet, but it appears the Controller would do that. In my opinion the Controller and only the Controller would have the PayPal password, which is different than the OJS system password. In other words, only the Controller’s office or its designate could transfer funds out of or into the CSU bank account to PayPal.
ii. There is no need for anyone outside the College to have the OJS system password; we will need to have our own internal system of ensuring integrity.
g. The Reflections Editor in collaboration with whatever staff we have in place produces a spreadsheet of new subscribers for the same period as the period for which funds were downloaded.
h. A copy of that spreadsheet of new subscriptions from within OJS is made available to the Controller and would be subject to audit by the Auditor.
i. Along with that copy there is a report comparing the PayPal spreadsheet to the OJS spreadsheet and noting any discrepancies.
i. It is unknown at this time what happens when there is a refund requested or a dispute resulting in PayPal refunding money to a subscriber. I don’t know (yet) whether this results in their subscription automatically being un-entered in the OJS system, but that is a minor matter. Such occasional matters could be handled manually and noted in the report.
j. The Controller and/or Auditor’s office could periodically review and authenticate the reconciliation reports.
4. Reflections would produce quarterly reports of income and expenses for review by the Director and the Dean’s Office, and also available upon request by the Controller or Auditor.
The above procedures will certainly be clarified over time, as the planned meetings take place. I think we’ll be able to make this work, and we must make it work, since publishing online journals using the OJS system and running conferences using the sister OCS system are increasingly the state of the art in universities worldwide.