Alternative publication models

Last updated: November 18, 2021 for OJS

There are two common alternatives to the regular, full issue publication model: online first, and rolling.

In the online first publication model (also called “forthcoming”), you publish each as soon as it is ready. Later, you assign these submissions to a regular, numbered – often with additional contents such as reviews, editorial, etc. You can use an online first model in OJS but this requires several added steps.

In the rolling publication model (also called “continuous publication”), you create and “open” a new, regular issue by publishing it at the beginning of a publication cycle – often, the calendar year. You then add each new submission to the issue as soon it is ready. At the end of the cycle, you “close” the issue and open a new one. To close an issue, just stop adding submissions.

The key distinction between this models is these:

  • with an online first model, you “move” submissions from the online first collection to a regular, numbered issue at a certain point;
  • with a rolling publication schedule, the articles stay assigned to the same issue.

In both cases, the URLs for the submissions stay the same once published in OJS.

Online first and rolling publication both introduce two small complications for OJS:

  1. DOIs. Normally, OJS assigns and registers DOIs for submissions when a new issue is published. However, in both of the models, issues are published before the articles. That means you have to manually assign and register DOIs for submissions.
  2. Notifications. OJS gives you the option of notifying your journal’s regular users about the publication of a new issue. Because the submissions are published separately from the issues, you cannot notify your users about the publication of new submissions. You may wish to use the Announcements plugin in order to send notifications about newly published submissions.


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OJS for YDJ by Tomasz Mrozewski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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