FAQ


What is included in your hosting and support plans?

A complete list of services and features included in each Open Journal Systems (OJS) hosting plan is provided under OJS Hosting Plans and Prices. For information about Open Monograph Press (OMP) hosting, Open Preprint Systems (OPS) hosting, and our consulting and development services, please see our Other Services.

You have both a paid service and a free download for your software.  What is the difference? When would the free download be enough?

All of PKP’s software is released under the open source GPL v2 license, and you are free to download, use and modify these packages at no charge so long as you obey the rules of the license. You receive all of the features of the software whether you install and host it yourself or use our hosting service.

If you host the software yourself you are responsible for maintaining the server environment, performing updates, applying security patches and bug fixes, and troubleshooting any issues that arise. We have documentation and a community support forum to help you with this. For publishers who lack the resources to do this themselves, we offer a fee-based service which provides the installation and hosting of OJS, daily backups of your data, applying security patches and upgrades, and priority answering your support questions. All of our hosting plans include these things, and with the Professional and Enterprise plans you also receive training and some other services. What is included in each hosting plan and our prices are outlined at OJS Hosting Plans and Prices.

What are the differences between PKP Publishing Services’ Basic, Professional, Enterprise, and Institutional hosting plans? How do I choose the right plan?

With all plans you receive access to all features of OJS, backups, upgrades, bug fixes, unlimited storage, unlimited articles and issues, and technical support. The differences between the plans are explained below.

Support and training

With the Basic plan our team will provide support for your journal or press and will answer questions, but you will largely need to learn how to use the software using PKP’s documentation. In contrast, the Professional, Enterprise, and Institutional plans include 1-2 hours of initial training that are custom tailored for your editorial team and more dedicated ongoing support. The Enterprise and Institutional plans also include ongoing training as needed – for example, when you upgrade or change editorial staff. With all plans you receive access to our extensive documentation on how to use our software.

Training is available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese, and Russian.

Shared or own installation

Journals that are hosted via our Basic plan are on a shared OJS installation with other journals. Each journal’s site design, users, and configuration are completely independent, but the journals share a fixed set of plugins and themes that can be enabled to extend OJS functionality.

If you anticipate needing to install 3rd-party plugins (such as the iThenticate Plugin), custom plugins, or custom themes, you will need to host your journal via the Professional, Enterprise, or Institutional plan, which includes a dedicated OJS install for your journal.

You also need a standalone installation to migrate existing journal content.

If you plan to host multiple journals now or in the future, you may want to have your own installation with a Professional, Enterprise, or Institutional plan so that all journals are listed on an index page, you can implement a site-wide search or custom theme across all journals, or you have journal managers or support staff who want to easily access and manage all journals.

A dedicated server is available for an additional fee for high traffic OJS, OMP, and OPS installations.

Additional services

Similarly, if you anticipate needing support for single-sign-on integration (SSO), source code customizations, or custom development (e.g. for theme or feature development), then your journal will need to be hosted via our Enterprise or Institutional plan. The Enterprise plan also covers the cost of Crossref membership and DOI deposits, hands-on DOI configuration and management, ongoing training, and other additional services.

Institutional plan

The Institutional plan is only available to higher education institutions (such as universities and colleges) that host 5 or more journals. Institutional clients additionally receive free student journal hosting.

What are the storage and bandwidth limits for each hosting plan?

We have no disk storage or bandwidth limits with our plans.

What is the limit on number of articles, issues, or books that can be published with each hosting plan?

We have no publishing limits with our plans.

Which plans include DOI and Crossref support?

All OJS journals can use DOIs and deposit to CrossRef, but with PKP Publishing Services’ Enterprise plan, we pay for your Crossref membership fee, configure the DOI and Crossref plugins, and manage your DOIs and Crossref deposits.

What do you offer multi-journal publishers?

Publishers of multiple OJS journals can subscribe to any of our hosting plans. Please note that the annual fee is per journal. However, we offer discounts when you host 5 or more journals with us.

Most multi-journal publishers subscribe to a Professional, Enterprise, or Institutional plan so that they can have a dedicated OJS installation with all of their journals on the same installation. This allows you to list all journals on an index page, implement a site-wide search or custom theme across all journals, configure site-wide plugins for all journals, have all journals under the same domain, or have journal managers or support staff easily access and manage all of the journals. You can also have all journals upgraded at the same time.

However, some multi-journal publishers prefer to have all or some of their journals on separate installations if the journals operate independently of each other or the journals want to use their own unique site-wide plugins or configuration settings and not affect the other journals.

Can we start with one hosting plan and change to another later?

Yes, you can change to another hosting plan at any time. However, please note that there will be an administration fee and loss of submission history data if you move from a Professional or Enterprise plan to a Basic plan. OJS sites on a Basic plan are hosted on a shared OJS installation, so if you move from an Enterprise or Professional plan to a Basic plan we will need to migrate your data. We will be able to migrate your articles, issues, and users, but you will lose the submission history for archived submissions.

What happens if we cancel our hosting agreement with you, whether to self-host or move to another hosting provider, or if the journal ceases operations?

If you cancel hosting with us, we will provide you with full backups of your hosted installation, including database, system files, and submission files. These files could be used to migrate your content to a self-hosted installation or another service provider.

If your journal ceases operation, you could move to an Archive hosting plan, which allows you to continue making your journal available online and perhaps resume publishing in the future for $425 USD per year.

Or you can archive your journal with the PKP Preservation Network. This makes your published scholarly content available to the wider public and preserved in perpetuity. This service does not provide an archive for your review or editorial history; you would not be able to recreate your journal immediately from this archive in the event that the journal becomes active again.

Do you offer discounts to publishers with low financial resources?

PKP is a non-profit organization that provides free and open source software to publishers and promotes open access. All income generated through PKP Publishing Services is invested back into open source software development. We provide discounts to publishers that host 5+, 10+, and 20+ journals. We also offer Crossref membership sponsorship to journals in eligible low income countries. However, we are not able to offer discounts on our hosting services for low income publishers.

What payment methods do you accept?

We accept most forms of payment, including Paypal, bank transfer, credit card, and cheque.  If you have special payment needs or requests, please let us know and we will try to accommodate them.

Do you provide typesetting, graphic design, and/or editorial services?

While PKP Publishing Services does not provide production or editorial services, our affiliate partner, Open Academia, provides complete production and publication services for OJS journals that includes processing manuscripts through copyediting, typesetting, proofreading, online publication, indexing, and archiving. These can be provided as add-ons to our hosting service or as part of a hosting package offered by Open Academia. Please feel free to contact them directly if you are interested in any of their services.

Do you provide indexing services?

OJS is optimized to allow your journal content to be indexed by open indexes such as Google Scholar. This is accomplished by providing structured metadata in the backend of every page on your site that can be read by web crawlers and by allowing you to add metatags to your site when you set it up to help your journal be discovered by search engines. OJS provides an OAI-PMH interface for your content, which is used by many indexes to harvest metadata. PKP Publishing Services also works directly with Google Scholar to ensure that the journals we host are indexed.

In terms of indexes that require an application for inclusion, we do not assist with that process. However, you should find it easy to transfer your content to those indexes if you are accepted. OJS has a variety of different plugins that allow you to export your journal metadata in various formats, including OAI, METS, PubMed, and for indexes such as DOAJ.

PKP has published a guide on indexing and improving discoverability called Getting Found, Staying Found, Increasing Impact.

Can we have a test instance of OJS, OMP, or OPS to add our data to and evaluate the software over a period of time?

We provide a few options for testing our software:

  • OJS live demo – data is reset on a nightly basis; other testers will have access to it
  • OMP live demo – data is reset on a nightly basis; other testers will have access to it
  • OPS live demo – data is reset on a nightly basis; other testers will have access to it
  • PKP School – while taking the video tutorials on how to use OJS, participants have the opportunity to create their own OJS installation that they can use for as long as they want
  • OJS/OMP/OPS hosting – enter into a one-year short-term hosted support agreement with PKP Publishing Services

How long will it take for my new OJS, OMP, or OPS install to be ready?

Once you have submitted your hosting support agreement and paid the invoice for your annual hosting fee, and we have the necessary journal information to begin, it will take approximately 2-3 business days to set up your journal or press.

Can we use our own domain?

Yes, you can use your own domain with any of our hosting plans. You just need to purchase the domain and then tell us what it is when we set up your journal.

A domain is required for a Professional, Enterprise, and Institutional hosting plan and is optional for a Basic plan. If you subscribe to the Basic plan and do not purchase a domain, your domain will be [yourjournalabbreviation]/journals.publicknowledgeproject.org. This domain is also available for journals on the Professional, Enterprise, or Institutional plan who need a temporary subdomain while they set up their journal.

How often are backups performed?

PKP Publishing Services provides onsite backups for all hosted clients with daily, weekly, and monthly data restore points. All of our journals are hosted in a commercial-level hosting environment by an internet service provider based in Canada, with 24×7 in-person monitoring. Additional server options may be available, including standalone servers.

Are you GDPR compliant?

OJS, OMP, and OPS can be configured to be GDPR compliant and we produced a guide on GDPR and PKP software. If you host your journal or press with us we can ensure that these recommendations are followed.

What is your privacy policy?

PKP Publishing Services’ policy on data and privacy can be found here.

What is your security policy?

In addition to applying security patches to all hosted journals immediately upon their release, PKP Publishing Services works directly with Carbon60, a Vancouver-based hosting provider, to ensure that our server environment is secure. Carbon60 conducts regular SOC 2 Type 2 security audits, maintains on-site 24×7 server monitoring, and restricts access to all servers with biometric validation. These security measures are supplemented by secure workflows employed by both Carbon60 and PKP Publishing Services staff. For example, PKP|PS only transports and stores backups in encrypted form (eg. SSH/SFTP for transfer; disc encryption for local storage, if ever required). Compared to other popular web applications, OJS has a good security track record. The PKP development team conducts regular code reviews for security implications as part of their day-to-day development cycle. If you require it, PKP|PS can provide a completed HECVAT Lite document for your review.

Can I use OJS or OMP for the submission workflow only and publish my content on my current website or a different website?

Yes, you can use all of the backend submission workflow management tools without publishing your content with OJS or OMP.  However, it will mean you miss out on some of the software’s key features, such as easy discoverability of your metadata by Google Scholar and other indexing services and integrations with external services such as CrossRef, ORCID, reference management tools, and Paperbuzz.

What are my options for journal site design or themes?

OJS 3 includes a number of free themes that you can use for your journal. You can review available themes via our OJS 3 demo install. More limited themes are available for OMP and OPS.

You can use one of the free themes as a basis for your journal or press and further customize it via a stylesheet that you can upload via your website settings. This will allow you to override theme colours, fonts, etc. with options defined via custom CSS rules.

PKP has a guide for Designing Your Journal, which offers advice on how to customize themes, create CSS files, and select images and fonts to suit your audience and content.

You can also develop your own theme, either from the ground-up or using one of the existing themes as a starting point. Please see our Theming Guide for additional information.

Do you provide theme customization?

All of PKP Publishing Services’ hosting plans include freely available themes that you can use for your site. If you require assistance with minor customizations to an existing theme, our staff will be able to make the necessary changes for you at no additional cost if you subscribe to our Enterprise plan.

If you require assistance with major theme customization, our team can either assist you via a custom development contract or recommend a developer that may be able to work with you to develop your custom theme. You may also wish to take advantage of the website design services offered by Open Academia. These additional costs are not included in your annual hosting fee. Specifications, budget, and timeline would need to be determined in advance of undertaking the work.

Do you support single sign-on?

OJS has plugins that allow single sign-on and user authentication through an external site. They allow users to sign in once to another site and automatically get signed in to OJS. These plugins include Shibboleth, LDAP, and Subscription SSO. Journals hosted by PKP Publishing Services can use these plugins if they have an Enterprise plan. An Enterprise plan is required due to the extra systems maintenance involved in operating the plugins.