Establishing an on-line editorial and publishing system: One year experience with Journal of Research in Medical Sciences

Mahmoud Saghaei, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences

Abstract


Changing the editorial work-flow of a journal from a purely paper-based to a full on-line management system, under most circumstances requires to pass gradually through an intermediate transitional period. Without an appropriately designed transitional period the experience of changing into an on-line system may be frustrating. The length of stay in this transitional period, the extent of required functional changes to impose on the editorial system and the extra work and money loads largely depend on the editorial background, motivation and experiences as well as on the supportive economical resources available to the journal. In addition the efficiency of the software system used for managing the on-line system plays an important role. For an average system using an optimal package this may takes a six months period, but sometimes more longer time period is necessary to wean a classic full paper-based system from its addicting traditional behavior. Since the whole system must function in a mixed paper-based and on-line based states, the editorial work load temporarily will be increased during this transitional period. Although numerous published materials recommend journals to become on-line, but few of them address the transitional period and to our knowledge none of them propose a rational evidence based approach to overcome the difficulties inherent in this time period. Studying the experiences of different journals during their transition into on-line business may help to delineate prominent factors affecting the whole process and its final outcome. In this article the story of a particular medial journal (Journal of Research in Medical Sciences) to change into on-line practice is presented in a hope to share experiences with other journals around the world. Following headings are covered in this report:

Journal description
Work flow during paper-based period
Disadvantages of paper-based system
Output of the paper-based system
Software try and error period
Selection of Open Journal Systems (OJS)
Editorial work-flow modification
Staffs education before migration
Start of hybrid system
Public declaration
Present state of the journal
Output of the on-line system
Conclusion

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