PKP International Scholarly Publishing Conferences, PKP Scholarly Publishing Conference 2007

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Extending OJS into Cultural Magazines: The OMMM Project
John Maxwell

Last modified: 2007-07-14


Our experience with OJS at the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing has led us over the past year to explore the possibilities of using and adapting the software to the management of cultural magazines. Cultural magazinesusually the product of small presses with minimal budgetssurely share many characteristics with journal publishers: they have well-known communities of contributors, well-defined editorial and production processes, and are interested in publishing online as well as in print.

There are also significant differences. Unlike the neatly defined peer-review process which is embodied in a tool like OJS, the editorial and production flows in small-press cultural magazines vary widely. Further, processes and systems vary over time, even from issue to issue, as the logic of publication is dictated by the artistic and cultural aims of the press and its editors more than by the time-honoured tradition of peer-review and attendant systems of scholarly prestige.

Nevertheless, there seems to be ample opportunity to explore the overlap between these different publication contexts; cultural magazine publishing can likely benefit from the regularization and process modeling that a system like OJS provides. Conversely, the world of scholarly communication itself is exploring new, more flexible forms and genres and stands to learn much from publication models on its periphery. We are therefore seeking workable software models to manage content and workflow for small-press magazines: to house submissions, track revisions, organize content into themes and issues, and even to provide a production path out to print via XML.

The OMMM (Online Magazine Management Models) project, initiated at the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing with significant design input from Geist Magazine and a number existing PKP partner organizations, seeks to explore the space on the periphery of journal publishing. Our method is to look in two directions at once: first, to what extent can the editorial process embodied in OJS be adapted and loosened to serve the known needs of cultural magazines; second, to what extent could this functionality be addressed starting with much simpler, less formalized platforms such as wikis, blogs, and open-ended CMS tools, adding structure and constraint as needed. We expect that generative possibilities are to be found somewhere in between these two extremes.

This talk presents work in progress and seeks feedback from editorial and technical perspectives on implications, obstacles, and practices.