#PKP5: Sprint Results and OJS 3.0 Beta 1 Release

August 18th, 2015 by  | Comments Off on #PKP5: Sprint Results and OJS 3.0 Beta 1 Release

Thanks to everyone who attended #PKP5 here in Vancouver last week. We only have the chance to gather a portion of our community once every two years, and as a developer it’s inspiring to see some of the things that are happening in our sphere and with our software. I’m also reminded of the huge impact that small teams can make. See the conference website for some of this — slides from the presentations should be showing up soon.


The 2-day sprint event was also a great success. We’ve more or less figured out the format for these — small groups, no homework, bite-sized projects, self-organization. The teams this year were working on…

  • UI/UX: Reviewing OJS 3.0 pre-beta for usability and identifying pain points. This group produced several documents, including test results and survey questions, that we’ll be working over for next steps.
  • Gitbook & Manuals: Experimenting with using Gitbook for documentation. This group managed to start 3 books: Getting Found, staying found, increasing impact; PKP Translating Guide; and PKP Wiki-to-Gitbook Migration. This also sets the stage for much-improved context sensitive help built into each application.
  • XML / Document Parsing: Further work on the XML Publishing stack. This was the most gearheaded of the groups so the results are tough to summarize, but among them is a good start on integrating CERMINE into the parsing stack.
  • Statistics: A smorgasbord of feature additions for statistics in OJS 2.x. This group produced documentation for the custom report generator, which is powerful but often confusing; tweaks to the OJS statistics tools for to suit German privacy legislation; and a port of ALM statistics for release with OJS 3.0.
  • Packaging: Looking at quick ways to deploy PKP software for demos, testing, and maybe hosting. This group researched a few technologies and put together a script for deploying OJS from git using Vagrant (based on some early work by Mark Jordan).
  • ORCID Profiles: Experimenting with options for using ORCiD author identifiers in OJS. This group experimented with ORCiDs as a way of pre-filling user and author registration pages, resulting in a couple of repositories containing a proof of concept.

My tremendous thanks to everyone who participated in the sprint. We rarely have the opportunity to problem-solve in person and I was impressed by the talent and creativity on display. I hope we’ll announce plans for another sprint in the coming months.

OJS 3.0 Beta 1

The central event of PKP2015 for me was the release of OJS 3.0 beta 1, available from OJS Downloads. It’s been a long road from the Alpha release in 2013, and I think we’ve turned a corner on one of our most persistent challenges, UI/UX. We’ve tackled this area head-on in the last year in particular by meeting regularly to discuss UI/UX and reorganizing our code review process to include it, but it’s only the recent addition of Nate to our team that has really made the improvement tangible. Welcome aboard, Nate, and congratulations on the huge impact you’ve already made.

We have yet to pick a date for the 3.0 final release, but that is among our highest priorities, so stay tuned for more concrete plans to appear — especially as we start to tinker with some UI/UX testing on the beta.


One theme that arose repeatedly during the conference was the strength of the community that we’ve found ourselves working within. As a developer I often obsess over the technical side of what we do, but software is just a means to an end. It’s wonderful to have met the people who are actually fulfilling the promise John Willinsky made when he founded the Public Knowledge Project — to improve the scholarly and public quality of academic research. I hope to see you again soon.

Alec Smecher


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