Using PayPal for OJS and OCS Payments

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Revision as of 09:25, 15 February 2011 by (Talk) (Re-arrange headings to differentiate between Paypal config and Application Config. Also broke OCS and OJS config into different sections as the method appears to be different.)

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Using PayPal for OJS and OCS Payments

The latest versions of OJS and OCS support the use of the PayPal online payment system ( for secure online financial transactions. In OJS, this can be used to collect subscription fees, pay-per-view fees, membership fees, author submission fees, fast-track peer review fees, and donations. In OCS, this can also be used to collect registration fees.

This document will outline the basic steps in getting this up and running. You should, however, review the PayPal documentation to ensure that you have setup your PayPal profile to meet your specific requirements.

A Paypal Sandbox Account

(This section was recently inserted by an end user struggling with these instructions. For the original and more polished instructions, go on to the next section.)

First, experiment not with a real paypal account, but with the paypal sandbox account feature. Switch to the real paypal website only after the sandbox pretend-paypal account interactions with your journal is working well. This section describes the sandbox-related setup process.

Before we start, some conceptual clarification. Although the sandbox website is a great feature, paypal's names are a bit confusing. Paypal has two types of accounts that live on the sandbox website. You should distinguish between the developer account, and pretend-paypal accounts. You first create one and only one developer account. This developer account in turn allows you to create pretend-paypal accounts with monopoly money. When logging into the sandbox website, you may log on either into your real developer account, or into one of the many pretend-paypal accounts that you have created.

To get started, go to .

Sign up for the business account.

Create a New Account. This account has nothing to do with your real paypal account. It is also not even the test account that you will be using to test Paypal with your site. Instead, it is the paypal developer account that will allow you in turn to create pretend-paypal accounts. It is these pretend-paypal accounts that you will use to test paypal interaction with your journal..

In the sandbox signup, you should give your real information. It is a real account, used to develop the paypal interaction. Describe your business, presumably your journal. On the next page, give your real Business Owner Contact Information.

After you log into this brand-new sandbox account, you can begin to create test accounts. You should probably create one seller pretend-paypal account for your journal, and a few pretend-paypal accounts for different buyers (journal subscribers, donors, etc). You can also give these accounts bank balances, login accounts, etc

After you have created each pretend-paypal account, you can easily log in to any one of these pretend-paypal accounts via a nice menu choice from your sandbox developer accounts, which makes this easy. After you are logged into your pretend-paypal account, you can do everything a real paypal user can do. For example, you can verify your pretend-paypal account. (If the site asks for verification (which the real paypal does by depositing two small transactions into your account), you can provide any dollar amount you wish.)

For your pretend-paypal seller (i.e., your journal account), you want to turn on Instant Payment Notification (IPN). On the profile page, under Seller Preferences, you will find the IPN entry. the notification URL that you need to answer the question is [The IPN URL under 'Fee Payment Methods' is not hard-coded to the default PayPal URL to enable testing with the PayPal sandbox before enabling the production PayPal URL. In effect, this is the URL that OJS will use to communicate with PayPal to both setup the transaction and to verify its completion once PayPal payment is complete. Part of the process of setting up a transaction is to include a return URL to OJS for PayPal (this is how PayPal knows where to return).]

at this point, you should be all set to simulate the paypal side of your interactions. now skip to "Configuring OJS/OCS below."

Your Real PayPal Account

Set up a PayPal Website Payments Standard account:


Hit the Go button. If you already have a PayPal account, login now. If not, select your country:


Fill in the resulting form:


Fill in the forms and save. Next, create your business account:


Confirm your registration using your email account:



Once you`ve confirmed your account, go to your Account Overview:


Using the Unverified link, go ahead and verify your account.


Next, from your Account Overview, choose the Edit Profile link:


On the Profile page, choose Instant Payment Notification Preferences:


Use the Edit button to turn on Instant Payment Notification (IPN):


Check the box and add the URL below (you will also find this URL when you setup your payment methods in OJS or OCS):


Configuring OJS

Now that you have setup your PayPal account, you will need to activate your payment methods in OJS. To do so, login as the Journal Manager, and select Payments. Under General Options, choose your currency:


Next, select the kind of payments you wish to charge on your site. These could include author submission fees, fast-track peer review fees, article publication fees, subscription fees, pay-per-view fees, membership fees, or, as in the example below, donations:


This will create a DONATION link in the sidebar if you have installed the PHP libcurl library, and if you have not changed the default in your OJS Home > User > Journal Management > Journal Setup [then choose "5. The Look" and check that 5.6 has the 'Donation Block' still in the right sidebar]:


When readers select the DONATION link, they will be taken to the PayPal Fee Payment page:


After clicking Continue, the reader will be taken directly to PayPal, where they can select their donation amount (e.g., $10.00) and pay using a credit card or with their own PayPal account:


If they choose to use a credit card, they will need to fill in the resulting form:


Once the payment is complete, they will return to the journal or conference. The payment will appear in your PayPal Account Overview:


If you have any questions about using OJS or OCS with PayPal, please let us know at

Configuring OCS

Now that you have setup your PayPal account, you will need to activate your payment methods in OCS. To do so, login as the Conference Manager, and select Payments. Under General Options, choose your currency:

Viewing Payments As Journal Manager

In terms of completed payments, you should be able to access these via the 'Records' tab from the Fee Payment Options screen as a JM. Likewise, you'll find options for submission and peer review payments under the main 'Options' page. With these enabled, you'll be able to see if/when they were paid for each submisssion.