OJS goes mobile - An investigation of how to adapt OJS to meet the needs of mobile users

Shubhash Wasti, Athabasca University, Library Services; Lawrence Poon, Athabasca University, Library Services


As OJS gains popularity among academics, educators, researchers, and publishers as being one of the leading open access scholarly publication systems, there will inevitably be a larger proportion of users accessing it from mobile devices such as PDAs and smart phones. In that scenario, the question of how OJS can support those mobile users becomes increasingly important. This paper attempts to explore some of the issues surrounding the use of OJS system by mobiles users and possible steps OJS developers and plugin designers can take to make the system accessible to a wider base of mobile users. Current architecture of the OJS has some limitations that make it difficult to be viewed on mobile and small screen devices. The reliance on frames for content display, for example, makes it unfriendly for small screen mobile devices. This paper analyzes the potential problems the mobile users of the system may encounter and provides some adaptation techniques that can be used to make the system more accessible to them. It also demonstrates a simple implementation of mobile adaptation through the use of plugins.

This paper will
1. Provide context and historical overview of mobile technologies.
2. Identify the target group of OJS mobile users, determine their needs, and investigate the problems they have encountered.
3. Examine the mobile friendliness of OJS, based on a generally agreed standard (W3C Mobile Web Best Practices).
4. Define what being "mobile friendly" in an online scholarly publication environment is.
5. Analyze the architecture of OJS and explore its adaptabilities for mobile users.
6. Compare different methods of adaptations.
7. Address technical challenges.
8. Demonstrate how to code and install a mobile plug-in; explain how it works and how to modify the plug-in for other uses.
9. Showcase a couple of mobile devices in a mobile friendly OJS environment.
10. Formulate sustainable strategies to convert OJS into a more mobile-friendly system.
11. Suggest how to create a collaborative and resourceful community to cater to the needs of OJS mobile users.