This is a technical design document detailing the specification of a future conversion tool for academic publishing, including the workflow of a subscription based e-commerce website. This specification was designed and written by Azuka Nzegwu in 2005, who is now a doctoral candidate in Philosophy, Interpretation, and Culture at Binghamton university. This specification was sent to the Open Journal System (OJS) development team during the major re-write of their program, and posted on various websites such as Get A Freelancer, PHP Freelancers, Freelancers Direct, ScriptLance, Codelance, Programming Bids, Freelance Web Programming, Project Spring, and others.

E-Journal Publishing: Management System and Conversion Tool

By Azuka Nzegwu (2005)

Note: You are free to use, edit and modify this technical design document for your own needs as long as you attribute to its creator and developer, Azuka Nzegwu.

What: Automated website that will publish and manage ejournals, manage and track submission and subscription

Part I: Custom Application

- Online Conversion Tool
- Offline Conversion Tool

Online and Offline File Conversion Tool

A file conversion tool that can do high-level accurate conversion, read multiple file formats and output in multiple file formats, convert outputs to XML, archive output in SGML, and WC3 compliant.

- Ability to convert Word, WordPerfect, RTF, TXT, LaTex, etc TO XML, SGML, PDF, XHTML, HTML
SGML and XML will be the master files. If a word file is converted to XML, the software should allow a user to make any converted files into their master files. For example, I have a bunch of Word documents I need to convert to XML. After the documents are converted, each article will have an XML output. I should be able to make the XML output the master file (maybe a feature that requires a user to press a button). Using the XML master file, the user can generate more outputs. For example, a user can create a filter in the tool to generate PDF and HTML on the fly (this can be another button). I am not sure if this option is flexible with other file formats.

- Ability to embed images, pictures, figures, tables and chart into the document output with captions and descriptions. For example, all visuals can be referred to as Figure for consistency. The conversion tool can embed all types of figures such as images, pictures, charts, etc. If a user submits an article and pictures during the conversion process, the conversion software should be able to embed or reference those figures in the article. If it is referenced, the conversion software will create a directory and put all the figures in the directory.

- Ability to format the output to a specific look and structure. For example, if I have a word document that I convert into PDF, I need the conversion tool to structure the page. For example, a structured PDF file would have the journal's logo in the top right hand corner, the name of the journal and year of publication will be on the left hand side. Underneath the name of the journal and year, will be the ISSN number, followed by the title of the paper, the author's name, the actual article, followed by references, bibliography, copyright info, and citation format. The citation format will include: name of author, year of publication, title of paper, name of journal, volume and issue number.

- Ability to use a filter to instantly generate PDF and HTML from XML

- Ability to save each output by users last name and first name initial (Barbara Smith will be Smithbarbara.xml)

- Ability to store each article by date of publication

- Ability to generate contributor's notes from the user submission. The contributor's note is a short brief information about each contributor.

- Ability to build table of contents from the converted (output) files.

- Ability to assign an ID to each output. For example, if the conversion tool converts word document to XML, the conversion tool should create an ID for the XML file. All documents that is generated by the conversion tool should have an ID.

- Ability to create a directory for each journal output. This is helpful if you have different issues from different journals to run. It would helpful if there is a way to organize the files. A journal about chemistry and a journal about art should never share the same directory. All files for each journal needs to be uniquely identified.

- Ability to automatically create hyperlinks for references and endnotes

- Ability to include the bibliography

- Ability to include a citation format

- Ability to archive all converted documents. Any converted file should be archived. Documents can be archived in high-quality format such as XML or SGML

- Ability to create records of all submission. Lets say someone uses the conversion software today and in two years, something happens that they need to check their record. Before a user does file conversion, they should fill out a form. The form will make it easier for the user to generate a report at the end of the conversion. The report should have an ID. So, in 2 years, a user can see what they did and be able to track ID. So, in 2 years, a user can see what they did and be able to track their progress.

They report will include this information: date of conversion, type of files that were converted or processed, the name of the processor, the number of papers that was processed, the name of the authors and their affiliation (this information will be in the original document or it can be pulled from the information a user entered during submission), some type of numerical breakdown (stats), and any problems or errors with the conversion. The report will be generated after file conversion is over.

- Ability to encrypt files

- Ability for users to make declarations for XML conversion

- Ability to do remote connection (offline) ftp address, ftp login, ftp password, etc


1 Program will run a filter on all accepted papers
2 Program will preserve the formatting of the documents (example in XML, apostrophe, italics is identified by number instead of tags.
3 Program will generate XML (master file) and use XSLT for formatting
4 Program will create hyperlinks for references and endnotes in the XML
5 Program will generate the bibliography in the XML document
6 Program will generate contributor's notes using the information users entered during submission
7 Program will run a filter on the XML to dynamically generate the HTML & PDF
8 Program will insert, embed or reference images to the xml document
9 Program will name the images and create directory to store the images
10 Program will use a filter to insert images in the papers
11 Program will name all generated documents using author's last name, first name initial
12 Program will assign an ID to all generated documents (HTML & PDF)
13 Program will create a directory for each journal issue (publication directory)
14 Program will copy all the approved and processed papers in the journal issue (publication directory)
15 Program will archive outputs in SGML
16 Program will build the table of contents (remember that access is by subscription)
17 Automated email announcement will be sent to everyone when a issue is live (email will include table of contents)

Part II: Online Journal System

- Journal Publishing and Management System (similar to OJS)

The system will manage and track submissions, peer-review, online publication and indexing.

A. Online submission of articles, reviews, and other items
On the website, users can submit their papers for publication. Users can also submit charts, maps, figures, photographs, and other items as part of their submission. Users can submit papers in different formats like Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, RTF and TXT. Users can also submit tiff, jpg, eps, gif, etc. Users can submit any visuals such as maps, figures, photographs, etc. Users can track their papers during the review and editorial process.

B. Online management of publishing (each stage)
Editors can manage and track their journals. The editors can oversee the editorial and review process, change the ordering and publishing of each issue, email journal advisory board and journal members, etc. The editors can monitor all the discussions from the users and reviewer during the editorial process. Notification and acknowledgment emails will be sent from the system. Editors can edit the notification and acknowledgment emails. There will be faq, description box for features (like a tooltip) and question box for editors to send questions to the admin. The online management system will guide editors from submission to acceptance for journal publishing.

C. Indexing & Metadata
When users submit their papers, they will provide a metadata and keywords for their paper. For example, this information will include discipline, subject, date, description, coverage, type,

D. Related Items for Articles
There will be a link to related items for each paper. The related links will be organized by discipline, and areas of research, glossary, and linked to each paper. This is about linking similar materials together.

E. Email Acknowledgment, Notification, and Commentary
Users will receive automated email notification about submission progress. Users can have table of contents for each journal issue emailed to them. Subscribed users can write letters to editors. Letters to editor will be published.

Part III: Database

- Database

Database-Driven Website (Digital Library)

- Can manage an e-publishing and subscription system for educational purposes
- Can allow scholars to submit articles for publication and receive automated email receipt
- Can monitor and keep track of submissions and accepted papers
- Can allow publishers/editors to submit request to publish their journal online
- Can process and track publishing requests from start to finish
- Can manage online peer review system
- Can restrict access by IP, domain, etc
- Can monitor submissions, accept/decline, send announcements
- Can accept publishers conditions before submission is possible (decline and be routed to homepage)
- Can manage global journal subscription for institutions & users
- Can store articles in the database

Database-Driven Website Features:

- Submission Process (validation required / email validation)
- Secure Subscription System (monthly, pay-to-view, one day access, etc)
- Submission Tracking System
- Searchable Database (Advanced keyword, subject, full-text search)
- Online Review System
- Login Screen (for author, reviewer, editor and publisher)
- Administrator Backend (site owner)
- Related Items (linking similar article and journals in the database)
- Mailing Lists (unsubscribe choice)
- Automatic Backup and archive (daily and weekly)
- Client Page (upload articles to convert, pay for services, leave comment or ask questions)
- Website Indexing
- Virtual Tour
- Trial Pass
- Prevent articles from getting indexed by search engines
- Website Statistics and user tracking (IP logging, location, etc)
- Disable Save Feature (make it hard for unauthorized users to gain access, copy or save articles)

* Access to articles is by subscription only.
* Show the first 2 lines of the article to unsubscribe users and a link to subscribe
* Unsubscribed users WILL NEVER have access to archives


Editor & Publisher Account:
Account information, list of journals and profile, cost of subscription, submission statistics, online peer-review, submissions (accept/decline), email acknowledgment and notifications, mailing list, etc

Reviewer Account:
Account information, listing of journals as reviewer, double-blind submission, review history (accept/reject), email alerts, etc

User Account:
Account information, list of subscribed journals, submission history (accept/reject), email alerts, etc

Extensive Backend Administration:
Manage accounts and subscriptions, monitor submission, accept and reject papers with comments, create announcement (non-responding emails), approve table of content, control other published journals, restrict access, etc


What actions will users take to submit papers?:

Part 1: Background (1-7 All Required Action)

1. Enter Full Name
2. Enter Rank
3. Enter University & Organization affiliation
4. Enter Research interest
5. Enter Biography (800 words MAX)
6. Enter Contact Info
7. Enter comment

*Submit part I of the form

** Users must select a journal to submit a paper
** The publisher of the journal will be automatically listed
** Issue and volume number will be automatically listed

Part II: Submit the paper (1-14 All Required Action)

1. Enter Abstract or Summary of paper
2. Enter Introduction
3. Attach Paper (.doc, .wpd, .rtf, txt)
4. Upload Images if needed
5. Enter Footnotes, references or endnotes referenced in the paper (optional)
6. Enter Bibliography (optional)
7. Enter Keywords
8. Specify Subject and Category
9. Enter comments (optional)
10. Publishers Policy (must indicate acceptance or decline)
11. Copyright Policy (must indicate acceptance or decline)
12. Privacy Policy (must indicate acceptance or decline)
13. Terms of Service (must indicate acceptance or decline)
14. User verification of information before submission

*Submit part II of the form

** Failure to fill the application and accept conditions will result in automatic rejection
** Cautionary note will appear telling scholars their submission was unsuccessful

Successful Submission:
** Scholar will receive an automated email acknowledgment with an ID, login information, and

Submission date

** Submitted papers will be stored on the site under the correct journal title
** Editors will be notified of new submissions
** Editors can track submission

*All correspondence/discussion will be saved, backed up and archived


Users login with their username and password

** Users must select a journal to submit a paper
** The publisher of the journal will be automatically listed
** Issue and volume number will be automatically listed

Submit the paper (1-6 & 8-11 are all required action)

1. Enter Abstract or Summary of paper
2. Enter Introduction (The first two lines will be displayed for unsubscribed users)
3. Attach Paper (.doc, .wpd, .rtf, txt)
4. Upload Images if needed
5. Enter Keywords
6. Specify Subject and Category
7. Enter comments (optional)
8. Publishers Policy (must indicate acceptance or decline)
9. Copyright Policy (must indicate acceptance or decline)
10. Privacy Policy (must indicate acceptance or decline)
11. Terms of Service (must indicate acceptance or decline)
12. User verification of information before submission

*Submit form


- Scholar submits article online (doc, rtf, wordperfect, text)
- Scholar receives an acknowledgment (automatically generated)
- All submissions are stored at a central location in the database
- Article is routed to the appropriate the journal editor
- Editor is notified by email of the submissions
- Editor checks the submission and sends to them to the reviewers to review anonymously
- Editor reads reviewer comments and decides whether paper is accepted or rejected
- Scholar will receive a letter whether accepted or rejected

Paper is rejected, two choices depending on severity:
- Author can re-submit after substantial change
- Author's paper is rejected outright

Paper is accepted, two choices depending on level of acceptance:
- Author paper is accepted for publication without rewrite
- Author may be asked to revise before publication

Final acceptance:
- Author makes all the necessary changes including mechanics
- Author re-uploads the article after changes are made
- Author receives an email informing them if they passed the final acceptance stage

Publication - publish material:
- Article is published
- Automated email is sent to the mailing list


** Editor assigns submitted paper to reviewers (reviewer identity will never be known to the scholar)
** Reviewers will post their comments online
** Paper is accepted or rejected
** Scholar is notified by email with reviewers comments (scholar will NEVER Know the identity of reviewer)
** If revision is needed, scholar will revise and re-submit article online.
** Failure to revise is automatic rejection
** Editor and managing editor can track the submission process
** Database will compute the number of paper submitted during each journal submission plus the number of accepted and rejected paper and their ratios


The reviewers will review all the paper and rank them (accept or reject). Reviewers will leave extensive notes and their reason for accepting or declining a paper. All the users who submitted an article, whether it was rejected or accepted, will receive an email including the notes the reviewers made about their papers. The identity of the reviewer will be anonymous and it will never be made to the users. This is peer-review.

This is how I think the website will flow:

- Writer signs up on the site
- Writer submits a paper
- Editor previews all submissions
- Editor notifies reviewers to start reviewing
- Reviewer reads papers and post their comments whether paper should be accepted or rejected
- Reviewers can read each others comments (their identity will be anonymous and will never be revealed)
- Editor picks which papers are accepted and rejected
- Editor notifies users whose papers are accepted and rejected (automated email)
Reviewers comment will be included in the notification email
- User may need to make changes if needed depending on the level of acceptance
- Editor notifies admin that papers are ready to be processed

At this point, the online conversion tool can begin converting the papers. Also, papers that are reviewed early and accepted for publication can be processed. Basically, papers will be processed as soon as they are accepted.

- Admin can also download the papers and process them offline with the conversion tool
- Admin uploads html and pdf copy of all accepted papers
- Editor sends an announcement to the list
- Issue can be read by anyone who has subscribed

*When the editor informs the admin that articles are ready to be processed, the article can either be stored somewhere on the database OR emailed to the admin.

*Since there will be a different level of subscription, if someone wants to download one article, they will have to pay for it. The download format will be a PDF. So, when someone orders an article they will get the PDF version. But users who pay a monthly subscription will get a pdf and html version. Basically, the type of subscription you get will determine the type of access you will have.

*For the online system, all the reviewers comments should be archived after an issue is published.


Users can resubmit papers if it was rejected. If all the changes that was suggested were made, the paper will be reviewed again. If the changes are not made, the paper is automatically rejected.

This is how it will work:

- User will login to the site
- Writer resubmits a paper
- Editor previews the submissions
If changes are made, the original reviewer who reviewed the paper will be notified
- Editor contacts the original reviewer of the paper
- Reviewer reads the paper again
- If paper is accepted, paper is published
- If paper is not accepted, it is rejected
- If rejected, user will have to wait for 2 months before the article can be re-submitted again.


Managing Editor of journals (web interface):

1 Can see all submitted and accepted papers
2 Can see the status of submitted papers (acceptance and rejection rate)
3 Can generated and approve the table of content before publication
4 Can generate announcement (non-responding email address)
5 can place advertisements on the website


Manage user subscription and renewal

Financial Transaction will be handled by a third-party


SSL and Encryption (transaction, log-in, etc)


Database moving script - move ENTIRE website including database to a different host (with GUI)
Update script - when uploading to the server (with GUI)

Knowledge Project

Africa Knowledge Project is an academic resource that offers journals and databases. Check them out.

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