OJS Development Priorities Survey
Are you a journal manager or editor using Open Journal Systems (OJS)? Are there improvements you’d like to see to help you manage statistics, editorial workflow, or other tasks? If yes, the PKP Technical Committee wants to hear from you!
The PKP Technical Committee (TC) was formalized in 2013 and includes representatives from each of PKP’s Development Partners, as well as several members from the community. One of the main responsibilities of the TC is to provide technical input and advice on PKP’s software development priorities. We chatted with PKP Technical Committee Chair, Sonya Betz, to learn more about PKP’s first ever community-led survey.
First, congratulations on your appointment as TC Chair. As we have yet to introduce you to our community, could you share a bit about yourself and how you came to join the PKP TC?
SB: Thank you! I’m really excited to be contributing to the TC in this capacity. I’m the Head of Library Publishing and Digital Production Services at the University of Alberta, where we’ve been using OJS in our journal publishing program since 2006.
Welcome aboard! And our thanks to outgoing chair and long-time PKP contributor Clinton Graham (University of Pittsburgh) for his outstanding service.
Now, onto business. This is the TC’s first survey. Why a survey, and why now?
SB: For the last few years the TC has been having conversations about how to increase user and community feedback into our recommendations and discussions. The members of the Technical Committee are all very familiar with the PKP software and we all have well-informed opinions about where we’d like to see it go – but of course, we are only a very small subset of the PKP community. We felt that a survey was a good way to start getting a better understanding of the needs of the community.
While this has been a TC initiative, I do want to recognize two members of the TC, Alex Mendonça from SciELO, and Marc Bria from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, who have dedicated a significant amount of time to working this survey. I’m so pleased to see it being shared with the world.
Who can take part in the survey? And how?
SB: This survey is intended for OJS journal managers or editors, or for anyone that uses those features in OJS regularly. You can find the survey here: https://surveys.publicknowledgeproject.org/16718.
Please share it out if you know anyone who may be interested in participating.
The survey asks journal editors and managers to rank several features. How were these features selected?
SB: This was quite the exercise! Alex Mendonça and his SciELO colleague Carolina Tanigushi spent many hours combing through the PKP Forum in late 2019 and early 2020 and pulled out and organized feature requests from 2018 and 2019 that had been captured there. We also reviewed the GitHub repository for open feature requests, and looked at PKP’s new Roadmap to understand what might already be underway. Alex, Marc and I spent quite a bit of time refining, reorganizing and reducing the list to a manageable size, and had many many debates about what specific items should be included.
What does the TC hope to achieve with this survey?
Our hope is that this survey will give us a better sense of what specific features journal managers and editors of OJS would find most useful for their work. We would like to use this information to inform our recommendations to PKP as they work on planning new features. I also hope that our experience of preparing and planning this survey has set the stage for us to carry out more surveys and other community engagement activities in the future. Reflecting PKP’s commitment to Open Source software, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona has generously offered to host LimeSurvey for this (and future) surveys, allowing us to use another great open source tool to support this work. We know there is a wealth of knowledge and experience out there in the community that can help inform our decisions and make better tools for everyone.
Last, but not least, can you share what’s next for the TC?
We will spend some time this spring analyzing the results of this survey and sharing them with the PKP team and the community. We are finalizing our work plan right now, but I hope we can include some more community engagement activities next year.