The Future of OCS
We first released Open Conference Systems way back in 2006, just in time for our very first PKP Conference. It was based on OJS 2, with some additional conference-specific functionality (e.g., registrations, scheduling, etc.).
Since that time, most of our limited resources have been focused on strengthening OJS, by far our more popular application, and building OMP. As a result, little has been done to advance OCS beyond what was first created over a decade ago.
Late last year, we ran an informal survey asking the community what they thought we should do with OCS. As expected, OCS users were the most motivated to complete the survey, but we did hear that the software continues to play an important role in the scholarly communication ecosystem.
Features that users particularly appreciate include its handling of peer review, conference registrations, publishing abstracts, papers, and presentations, and, of course, the fact that it is free and open source.
As a result, we have decided NOT to mothball OCS, but to remake it using the new PKP application framework which is the backbone behind OJS 3 and the just-released OMP 3.1. The use of the framework builds in significant efficiencies by taking advantage of shared code and shared usability testing (e.g., a submission in OJS, OMP, and OCS are essentially all the same), which, we believe, will free up sufficient resources to allow us to continue offering OCS as a supported, first-class open source application.
In terms of timelines, we still have a lot of heavy lifting to do around the development and release of OJS 3.1 this year, but expect to be able to release the new OCS 3.1 sometime in the second quarter of 2018.
We’d like to thank everyone that has continued to use and support OCS despite its limitations, and we hope you will find the upcoming new version more useful than ever.