Roles in OJS

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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.).

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.

Roles Available in OJS

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.

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 an external format (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.

Note Note: 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.

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. This role is only available when a journal has activated subscriptions in OJS.


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.

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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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