Omeka (S) as Journal Management Software?


I am looking for a simple and straightforward software for building and maintaining an online scientific journal where articles can be submitted (received as attached file or through web forms) and which share similar structure, including titles, authors, abstract, keywords, introduction, material &methods, results, discussion, references, acknowledgement, and citation format). Then, the received articles undergo an evaluation process (peer review) to "accept or “reject” them. When accepted, they will be published in a continuous way (published soon after they are accepted, and so on).
I came accoss Omeka which seems to be a powerful tool but I am not sure whether it (Omeka or Omeka S) can meet such expectations? Will they?
Is there any particular Theme or Plugin to do this?
I have already installed Omeka but I couldn’t install Omeka S yet to see its features (I have some errors at the first installation step “HTTP ERROR 500”).
So, my question is: would Omeka or Omeka S be able to manage and maintain a scholarly publishing journal? It would be really great, if it does!

Thank you,

Possibly. Omeka is good at handling metadata and related structures. However, it is weaker at the workflow concerns that come up with what you are describing. There are plugins available that might get at some of it, but what you’re describing might call for both some plugin and theme development work to make Omeka work well.

You might look at PressForward, another RRCHNM product, that is much more closely aligned with the needs of a journal.

Thank you for your answer.
The “Pressforward” WordPress plugin does not fully answer scholarly publishing requirements.
Acutally, Omeka can do it much better than WordPress provided some minor changes and tweaks where not so much would be needed to make Omeka as a powerful journal manager. See the attached screenshot and table below for the potential/required changes to make.
The workflow is relatively simple (see attached picture):

With simple changes in the current Omeka (see the table below), the job would be done smoothly:


The table shows that;
Items” in the current version of Omeka should be changed into “Articles
Collections” into “Categories” (where authors can select the specialty of their articles from a dropdown menu such as “humanities, history, medicine, psychology, philosophy, chemistry, biology, etc.)
Item type” into “Article type” where the authors can select the type of their articles (Review, Research Paper, Essay, Opinion, Letter to the Editor, Case study, etc.)
Add Item” into “Add Article” (and “Add Collection” into “Add Category”).
Creator” into “Author
Contributors” into “Co-author(s)” and (Add contributor to “Add coauthor”)
Identifier” remains as is; the editor in chief can assign to the article a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) or any other unique identifier customizable by the user (such as serial or sequential alphanumerical symbols created by the system in a sequential way or a combination of the date and journal name, etc.)
Type” remains as is where the submitter can select the type of his submission from a dropdown list (“Review, Research paper, Opinion, Letter to the editor”, etc.)
Subject” into “Abstract” where the author can write her his or her Abstract (or copy/paste it from a text file).
Description” into “Introduction” (where the author can write down or copy/paste his or her introduction from a third text file (Word document, etc.)
Right” into “Materials & Methods, where the author (submitter) describe his or her method
Relation” into “Results” where the authors can add or copy/paste the results s/he obtained.
Discussion”: where the authors write discussion of the obtained results or observations (or copy/paste it from their text file)
Conclusion”: the authors can write a conclusion (or copy/paste it from their text file)
Attach files”: here, the author can attach a Text or PDF File containing all the information above in one text or PDF file.
Acknowledgement”: here, the author can write any statement (funding notice, conflict of interest, thanks, etc.).
References”: the author can provide the list of references they cited in their article (the source).
After providing the information above, the authors can send them to the journal by clicking on a “Submit” button to send the article information and files to the journal.
The journal manager or Editor in Chief will then be notified to assess the received articles where s/he can decide to publish it without changes or Invite other Peers or Reviewers to evaluate it after which he can decide to publish it or reject it depending on the recommendations received from evaluators or to ask authors to make changes required by the reviewers before publishing.
The editor in chief or journal manager can publish accepted article by clicking on a “Publish” button that should Preview the article before the formal publication on the site.
After publication, some article tools should be added or available for the reader, for example
Download PDF file (the reader can download a copy of the paper as a PDF file)
Download XML file (for indexing database
Download citation (for bibliography manager in Zotero, Endnote, Bibtex, etc).

That’s it!
Unfortunately, I am not developer to make such changes but I think it would be relatively simple and straightforward for savvy and skilled developers, particularly Omeka developers because they know Omeka better than anyone else! !

I would say that external evaluations of articles could also be done by email through reciprocal correspondences between the journal manager (or editor in chief) and external reviewers, so the simplest journal workflow could be as simple as illustrated in the figure below:

As such, I think that some tweaks/modifications to Omeka code/structure, or at least building a theme or plugin that provide the framework functions illustrated in the picture above, would make Omeka as a good and clean journal management system.
By the way, the citation format already provided in Omeka is a good one, so it could be kept in any potential new theme or plugin to make Omeka as a journal management system.

What you lay out is possible, I think, though I see some places where things look like they get more complicated.

First, these would likely not be changes to Omeka core, since that would fundamentally change what Omeka aims to be, a general web publishing system for all kinds of cultural heritage institutions. Instead, this looks like a combination of plugins (some existing, some new), themes, and configuration.

The first one is handling the relation between the submission and the author. Omeka doesn’t do much with user information, so a plugin that handles that (like UserProfiles, or similar) might be needed. Alternatively, you could make an “Author” item type alongside the other content types, and work on relating them that way.

Configuring Item Types for the articles’ metadata also seems in order. The Dublin Core vocabulary we ship with indeed handles Creator/Author and Contributor/Coauthor work okay, though some will say that Contributor is really more for the editor, and coauthors should really all be Creator/Authors. Other metadata alignments you propose seem to move away from the admittedly broad definitions of Dublin Core. Rights, for example, probably shouldn’t describe the materials and methods – it should describe the copyright or availability of the article. So, some of those would call for configuring the Omeka site via the admin page.

With those, custom theme work would be involved for the front-end output you describe.

The evaluation workflow would also call for some level of plugin work, I think, for noting all the communication and status updates involved. I’ve seen that get very difficult to manage in other sites that need to build in an evaluation process just via email messages.

Just a few things to think about in the system you describe.

Thank you, Patrick, for your reply.
I agree with you, a combination of some plugins, themes and configuration would make the job as Omeka has already a big part of the process.
You are right about the connotation of “Rights” which of course implies a “Copyright” but the changes I proposed were given as examples only, just to follow the logical order of standard article’s structure.
When the change made, the author does see it, whether was it modified from an existing field or build as a new field.
The aim was simply to show the possible change/customization for handling standard scientific submissions/articles.
The relationship between the submission and authors would be relatively simple through some forms, text fields and file uploading. Then, the exchange could be done through forth-back interactions, as is in a forum or email exchange.
If Omeka would offer such functions as a journal manager, I’d even be interested to buy it (up to $100, whether as a theme or plugin dedicated for this purpose).
I liked the cleanness and robustness of Omeka. If it will keep them as a journal management software, Omeka could be an excellent academic tool, particularly if it is internationalized and supporting different languages including RTL, etc.
Do you think there is any chance or hope to see Omeka offering such functions soon?

Those could not be changes to Omeka core. Like I said, we aim to be useful to a variety of publication needs, and this is quite specific.

I do think that you underestimate the work involved for the plugins and themes, and the pricing for developers to do it. This would require many hours of work, and developers with these skills would charge at least $100 per hour, not per job.

If there’s a way to contract for the plugins and themes and customizations, we’re open to that. But the contract would definitely be more than for $100. I’d guess for this work you’d be looking at closer to $10,000.

Patrick, Omeka is already open source, and any savvy developer from around the world can modify it to make it the way s/he desires, maybe for not so much cost, depending on the country of developer.
Besides, there are currently many open and free alternatives (Wordpress, Drupal, OJS, etc) that could make the job just fine for free. However, I suggested to pay that modest sum as a kind of “thank for” for its developer but not as a real cost, which I definitely cannot afford. I am not a corporation, but a simple guy interested in science publishing for free, and I am not paid for this.
I think that many people would do the same (make donations) when they find a tool useful for them but in its current version, Omeka for me does help much, it does answer my expectations. So, even if it would cost only $20, it won’t be helpful for me.
You can get much more than $10,000 if Omeka answers the expectation of some people from around the world that would be interested to buy it as low as 100, rather than to make one contract at 10,000!
In other words, we win more by selling a great number of cheap product than an expensive product of limited number of purchases.
If there would be only 500 people around the world who might buy Omeka at 100, you would get 50,000, which is obviously higher than than the contracting basis you refer to.
I am sure that there would be more than 500 people who would buy it at 100 than to contract it once at 10,000!
So, the choice is easily made.

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