2. User Roles

2.1. About User Roles

OJS uses a comprehensive roles system to divide work between users, assign workflows, and limit access to different parts of the system. Since one installation of OJS can host multiple journals, users can be enrolled in different roles for more than one journal.

When a user logs into the system, they will be taken to their User Home page. From here, they will see a list of the roles they belong to for each journal in the system (along with user-specific links to edit their profile, change their password, etc.). In the example below, the user has been enrolled a Site Administrator; as a Journal Manager, Subscription Manager and Editor for the Canadian Journal of Scholarly Publishing; and as a Journal Manager, Editor and Author for Demo Journal. A user might be an Editor in one journal (with all of the accompanying permissions), but only an Author on another (and limited to only performing Author tasks for that journal).

Figure 2.9. Site-Wide User Home

Site-Wide User Home

Users can subsequently return to this listing by clicking either the My Journals link in the User block in the sidebar, or the User Home link in the topmost navbar; either link will return them to their site-wide User Home.

Journals can be configured to allow users to self-enroll as Readers, Authors, and/or Reviewers, or self-registration can be disabled completely. Access to journal content, or even to the journal itself, can be limited to registered users, and subscription support can also be enabled. See Journal Management Step 4.1 for more information on access control.

2.2. Available Roles within OJS

2.2.1. Site Administrator

The Site Administrator is responsible for the overall OJS installation, ensuring the server settings are accurate, adding language files, and creating any new journals on the installation. The Site Administrator account is created as part of the installation process. Unlike all other OJS roles, there can only be one Site Administrator.

See the Site Administrator role section for more details.

2.2.2. Journal Manager

The Journal Manager is responsible for setting up the journal web site, configuring the system options, and managing the user accounts. This does not involve any advanced technical skills, but entails filling out web-based forms and uploading files. The Journal Manager also enrolls the Editors, Section Editors, Copyeditors, Layout Editors, Proofreaders, Authors, and Reviewers. Alternately, if the names and email addresses of potential users already exist in another database (e.g., a spreadsheet), they can be imported into the system. The Journal Manager also has access to the journal's other management features, and can create new Sections for the journal, set up Review Forms, edit the default Emails, manage the Reading Tools, view Statistics and Reports, and more.


Although the Journal Manager is a per-journal role, journal managers should generally be considered system-wide trusted users, as they have the ability to assume the identities of other users who may be enrolled in other journals.

See the Journal Manager role section for more details.

2.2.3. Reader

The Reader role is the simplest role in OJS, and has the fewest capabilities. Readers include both subscribers for journals for which access is subscription-based, and readers who choose to register for open access journals (whether immediately open access or open after a period of time). Registered Readers receive a notification email with the publication of each issue, which includes the Table of Contents for that particular issue.

See the Reader role section for more details.

2.2.4. Author

Authors are able to submit manuscripts to the journal directly through the journal's website. The Author is asked to upload a submission file and to provide metadata or indexing information. (The metadata improves the search capacity for research online and for the journal.) The Author can upload Supplementary Files, in the form of data sets, research instruments, or source texts that will enrich the item, as well as contribute to more open and robust forms of research and scholarship. The Author is able to track the submission through the review and editorial process — as well as participate in the copyediting and proofreading of submissions accepted for publication — by logging in to the journal's website.

See the Author role section for more details.

2.2.5. Editor

The Editor oversees the entire review, editing and publishing process. The Editor, working with the Journal Manager, typically establishes the policies and procedures for the journal. In the editorial process, the Editor assigns submissions to the Section Editors to see through Submission Review and Submission Editing. The Editor keeps an eye on the submission's progress and assists with any difficulties. Once review is completed, the Editor typically sees the submission through the Editing process (including copyediting, layout editing, and proofreading) although in some journals this remains the responsibility of the Section Editor in charge of the submission's review process. The Editor also creates the journal issues, schedules submissions for publication, arranges the Table of Contents, and publishes the issue as part of the Publishing Process. The Editor can restore archived submissions to the active In Review or In Editing lists.

See the Editor role section for more details.

2.2.6. Section Editor

The Section Editor manages the review and editing of submissions to which they have been assigned. In some cases, a Section Editor who is assigned to see submissions through the Review Process will also be responsible for seeing the submissions that are accepted through the Editing process (that is, through copyediting, layout editing, and proofreading). Often, however, Section Editors only work with the review process, and an Editor, acting in the role of Section Editor, sees the submissions through the Editing process. The journal will have a policy on how the tasks are divided.

See the Section Editor role section for more details.

2.2.7. Reviewer

The Reviewer is selected by the Section Editor to review a submission. Reviewers are asked to submit reviews to the journal's web site (although some journals opt for an email review policy) and are able to upload attachments for the use of the Editor and Author. Reviewers may be rated by Section Editors, again depending on the policies for this journal.

See the Reviewer role section for more details.

2.2.8. Subscription Manager

The Subscription Manager manages the journal's Subscriptions and Subscription Types, and can also configure where and how payments are handled within the system.

The Subscription Manager does not have pages of their own in this guide; since they only see a small subset of the Journal Manager's pages, namely the Subscriptions and Payment pages, you can see them for more details.

2.2.9. Copyeditor

The Copyeditor edits submissions to improve grammar and clarity, works with authors to ensure everything is in place, ensures strict adherence to the journal's bibliographic and textual style, and produces a clean, edited copy for the Layout Editor to turn into the galleys that will be in the published format of the journal. Some journals have an Editor or Section Editor play this role.

See the Copyeditor role section for more details.

2.2.10. Layout Editor

The Layout Editor transforms the copyedited versions of the submission into galleys in HTML, PDF, PS, etc. -- files which the journal has elected to use for electronic publication. This system does not provide software for converting word processing documents to galley formats, so the Layout Editor should have access to and be able to use third-party software packages for creating galleys present the articles on the screen with a well-formatted and readable layout, in the manner of scholarly journals, and with an eye to this new publishing medium (by consulting the layout used by other publishers of online journals, such as Highwire Press, for example, in the life sciences or Project Muse in the humanities). In some cases, the Editor or Section Editor will also serve as Layout Editor.

See the Layout Editor role section for more details.

2.2.11. Proofreader

The Proofreader carefully reads over the galleys in the various formats in which the journal publishes (as does the author). The Proofreader (and the Author) record any typographic and formatting errors for the Layout Editor to fix. In the case of some journals, the Editor or Section Editor will also serve as Proofreader.

See the Proofreader role section for more details.

2.3. Registering with a Journal

Unregistered visitors to a journal can normally register as a Reader, Author, and/or Reviewer. Journal Managers are able to remove the ability for visitors to self-register (in which case a notice will appear stating that registration is currently closed; see Journal Setup Step 4.1), but can always register users from the Journal Management Home page at any time, and for any role.

To register with a journal, click the Register link on the topmost navigation bar, select the journal you want to register with if asked, and fill out the ensuing form. You will not be able to self-register for an Editorial Role (Editor; Section Editor; Copyeditor; Layout Editor; Proofreader; Subscription Manager; or Journal Manager); if you need to be enrolled at that level, ask a current Journal Manager or Site Administrator.

All fields with an asterisk beside them (Username; Password; Repeat Password; First Name; Last Name; Email) are mandatory. If the journal is multlingual, you will need to select your preferred language.

Figure 2.10. Filling out the Registration Form

Filling out the Registration Form

Your username and your email address must be unique; furthermore, while you can change your email address at a later date, you will be unable to change your username.

You may be able to register as a Reader, an Author and/or a Reviewer, depending on how the journal has been configured. All you have to do is check the box next to each role available to you. If you register as a Reviewer, you can also supply your reviewing interests.

Figure 2.11. Selecting Roles

Selecting Roles

In some cases, the journal you are trying to register with may not be allowing registrations; if that is so, you will see a note to that effect.

If you want to register in another role within the same journal (for example, if you are already a Reader, but also want to become an Author) you can log in; go to Edit My Profile (under My Account on your User Home page); and check off the checkboxes next to any available roles, near the bottom of the page.

If you want to unenroll yourself from a journal completely, all you have to do is visit your profile and uncheck all role checkboxes. If you are enrolled at an editorial level, you will have to ask the Journal Manager to unenroll you.


Please be aware that you can't completely delete your account from the system yourself. If you would like to delete your account you should contact the Journal Manager or take a look at the section on merging accounts.

2.4. Viewing and Changing your Profile

To view and edit your profile, log in and click the Edit My Profile link from your User Home page. Alternatively, once logged in you can always click the My Profile link from the User Navigation block on the sidebar, if available. From here, you can update your email address, change your personal information, or change your password.

2.5. Resetting your Password

Resetting your password is a simple process if you remember it and just want to change it to something else: log in, and from your User Home page click the Change Password link. You will have to enter your current password, and then your new password twice.

Resetting your password if you have forgotten it is still a simple process, but it takes a few more steps:

  1. Click the Log In link on the topmost navigation bar.

  2. Click the Forgot Your Password? link.

  3. Enter your email address in the box provided, and click the Reset Password link. This will send a confirmation email to your email address (if you do not see an email in your Inbox, check your spam folder).

  4. The email will include a link to reset your password: click it, and you should return to the journal web site.

  5. On returning to the journal web site, you should be notified that an email containing a new password has been sent to your email address. Check for that second email, and use your new credentials to log into the site.

  6. After successfully logging in, you will be asked to immediately change your password. Enter the emailed password first (Current Password), and then a new, secret password twice (New Password, Repeat New Password).

    Figure 2.12. Change Password

    Change Password