How does our product help many publishers to improve their journal ranking?

When we build our products, we provide value to our customers, for the publisher the fundamental value is indexing, credibility, and usability of their journal. Early in the process, we considered learning what was important to the journal. our first thought on developing a product or service is always thought about what is the important thing for any journal and how our product will help the theme to achieve it including their ranking. It is like building a building with a blueprint before initiating the execution.

Designing and creating OJS/OMP product and theme required scrutiny process

Basically, we are a team that has expertise in technical web development. Armed with our experience in this field, we believe that the quality and credibility of the site start from how the site is presented including the ease of use of the site. In the world of e-commerce, the ease of use of this site has an influence on someone’s desire to transact online based on research from Donna Weaver.

Why presentation is important for a OJS journal ?  

We analogize the theme to the aesthetic design of a shop. Stores that are well organized, neatly arranged, and have an attractive interior design will create more traffic in the store. The more visitors, the higher the chance of increasing sales. Compared to a store that is managed in a modest manner, the impression is unprofessional, the difficulty in finding goods and the presentation of an unfriendly place is certainly very influential on the number of product sales.

Yes, we agree, that OJS is not a site for doing transactions. Creating a theme for OJS is very different from creating a theme for a general site. However, we believe that the findings from research that support that quality/trust is closely related to the design of a site are very relevant for the presentation of quality brands that journal managers want to convey to readers, reviewers, and indexing evaluators, and users in general. This is in line with the assessment factor of one of the CiteFactor indexes which uses Presentation Quality as one of their assessment variables.

Taken from the Citefactor official page

Next, we need to understand some of the typical components that a journal display should have. Journal sites have several indexing standards that greatly affect the journal’s reputation, impact, and quality of articles that will be accepted. This causes us to really need to do research and observe the needs and requirements of the products we will sell. Errors in making themes that do not pay attention to this aspect will be very fatal where we find that many sites are deindexed by indexing services such as Google because they do not pay attention to some of the indexing guidelines.

The problem is, that Google scholar is not the only indexing. There are many indexing services available such as DOAJ, CiteFactor, Scopus, PubMed, Base, Road, or local indexing such as Dialnet, Shinta, Moraref, and so on. And each indexing has several specific guidelines and different requirements.

Why Indexing is Important for your ojs journal?

Many of the newcomers’ journals based on our experience underestimated the automatic indexing such as Google Scholar, BASE, Academia, Copernicus, and others. Their target is usually get indexed in some prestigious indexing such as Scopus, WOS, PubMed, and others.  However, we believe that indexing is important for a journal as a journey for them to get indexed to more reputable indexing. As a phase for any journal to get Indexed to prestigious indexing, the keyword is its citations. By participating in inclusion to many indexing the article within the journal will get exposed more by Search Engine and will help the potential authors to find the article. 

This logical process will help the articles get cited in the long run and increase their discoverability of it since Search Engine actually does not have the same assessment type as a reader from the academic background where the trustability of an article can be seen by its inclusion in reputable indexing while search engine will put trust on an article in OJS by its backlink and the reputation of its source. Indexing sites such as Copernicus, BASE, and Google Scholar have a good reputation as a site and their backlink to the article is counted as a consideration to improve the ranking of the article in their search result. 

When some potential type some keyword that is related to the articles on some search engine, the journal that has many backlinks will be ranked on the first page of their site.

We have created our product to help the journal in faster motion in this logical sense by creating an Exclusive RePEc indexing plugin and Copernicus Indexing Plugin that will help a journal to make shortcuts for the inclusion of the mentioned indexing. 

After we know the importance of this indexing as valuable consideration for journals to improve their ranking, we use the Indexing Guidelines as a reference. 

1. Using Indexing Guidelines as a design reference 

We use Scopus, DOAJ, and CiteFactor as references to develop our theme. Why use those indexing preferences. As the community of publishers and researchers know. Scopus indexing is one of the highly recognized and reputable indexing. This indexing also is known for its high level of academic rigor. Then DOAJ is also considered as reputable indexing since to become indexed on their service, they have strict inclusion requirements. 

The indexing of the journal is a highly valuable consideration for many of qualify authors since they get their funding for research depending on the impact and discoverability of their publishing. 

Let us summarize some of the information that can be taken as our reference when designing a theme :

Scopus Inclusion Criteria : 

  1. Journal should state peer review policies/processes
  2. English language for abstract and title is provided
  3. ISSN should be easier to show.
  4. Publication Ethics should be available (one of the templates can be found here)
  5. In the Journal Policy, it should be shown the diversity of the Editors and Authors (you can find our plugin about this here).
  6. The Aim and scope of the journal are presented clearly
  7. The journal’s homepage should be of high quality (i.e., necessary information is front and center, the page is easy to navigate)
  8. List of Editorial Board and its affiliations / Expertise

For more detail about this list please check here.

DOAJ Inclusion Criteria :

  1. Open-access journal type is mandatory
  2. The following information should be clearly available :
    1. ISSN with the validation from
    2. Open access policy
    3. Aims and scope
    4. Editorial board (including institutional affiliations of all members)
    5. Instructions for authors
    6. Editorial process (peer review)
    7. Licensing terms
    8. Copyright terms
    9. Author charges
  3. List of Editorial Board including their affiliation 

Read detail about DOAJ criteria for inclusion here.

World of Science from Clarivate Inclusion Criteria :

  1. Verifiable ISSN with the ISSN portal
  2. Journal Title that will show on most of the pages of the journal
  3. Clearly stated Peer Review Policy 
  4. Editorial board with each of their affiliation (including the country origin and geographical diversity)
  5. Presence of Ethics Statements

Read more detail here.

Other than that we are aware that some of the indexing require more specific criteria such as in Copernicus they have a specific XML format, RePEc which uses a specific RDF format to extract data from the journal, Pubmed (including PubMed Central, and MEDLINE) requires the journal to have full-text indexing such as JATS file for indexed on their indexing. 

Read more about RePEc indexing here.

As we have learned from that list, we acknowledge that the Default Theme of OJS 3 does need to be fixed to be shown some information for the journal as required by those indexing. 

For example, the ISSN, although the journal manager has added the ISSN in the OJS data, ISSN is nowhere to find on the homepage of the journal. The problem this when proposing the journal to the one indexing 

As a result, we implement our theme by following this guideline. So we have implemented this feature in our theme.

ISSN Visibility

For example in the Classy theme, we provide on the homepage of the journal the ISSN the clear description of the journal frequency which is mandatory information for many indexing.

ISSN visibility is a most in any journal

In Unify : 

The ISSN online is shown nicely with a link to the to enable ISSN checking.

ISSN in Noble theme is highly visible in the top of the journal / header with a verification link to  :

Recommended Menu

We also make a proper menu based on the requirement as we have provided our customer with a menu item that needs to be filled as static content:

In Classy : 

We follow the menu from DOAJ guidelines that most of the journals in OJS are required to show the specific information including the open-access statement, Publication Ethics, and others. We make it easier for our client to implement this kind of pre-requirement by providing a pre-made menu for the journal. Here is the menu in Classy Theme: 

The menu is provided by following the recommended guidelines for many indexing.

In Novelty Theme : 

We also add a preview of the member of the Editorial Board including their position and affiliation in the Novelty theme as required by Scopus and WOS: 

The visibility of the Editorial and the journal staff is one of the important factors of the indexing parameter

2. Improving the code with indexing guidelines

Google Scholar is one of the largest automatic indexing systems that will crawl for the article and its citation on the internet. The second one is Microsoft Academia. Google Scholar is also used by some national requirements for the local indexing and to analyze the impact of the journal. 

Since Microsoft Academia uses the same meta-tags we evaluate the tag generated by OJS and found that the OJS as default provides the plugin that creates line-by-line citation meta-tags to be harvested by Google Scholar. 

However we found out based on the Google Scholar guidelines, the plugin does not add complete meta-tags. It is room for improvement when we build our theme. More detail about the Google Scholar indexing guidelines can be found here.

Read: How OJS can get indexed by Google Scholar

Not just Google Scholar, we also get feedback from one of our customers to improve our theme to allow DialNet to extract the article details metadata references. DialNet is a local indexing service for Latin America that already keeps 8,063,274 articles on its database.

Continuously improve the product including theme and plugins based on the indexing requirement

We love hearing any feedback from our client, and always gain input from our client for any of required revision to make their journal accepted from many of the indexing requirement.

Because of this commitment, we often contacted by our client to make any required improvement after they get some discussion from the indexing.

After the use of the product, our clients without any hesitation actively give us some suggestion to improve the theme based on some the Indexing requirement, we learn about their feedback on their forwarded email and implement such improvement to the theme.
The specific indexing from Latin America – Dialnet also make some mandatory requirement to their documentation page so it can be included in their database. We use the reference from this page to make other required format on our theme product.

We aware that the most valuable product such focused on the client need, in term of theme as our product, we are not only care about the beautiful and simplicity of the design but the compatibility from many of the indexing requirement.

3. Improve the design with the better design concept

Balanced Contrast for Better Readability

The simplicity of color so that users focus more on content rather than find more effort to scan essential components on the site.
In the noble theme, we provide low brightness colors by providing a night mode that makes journal readers comfortable.

We provide flexible colors for the theme as we are aware that each journal has unique color preferences need. In some of our themes, we also add multiple color options that will differentiate between the header and the main color such as the hyperlink of the journal. 

Many of our themes do not use a font with pure black color, our favorite color is black with grey grading. This is to make sure that the font will let small effort for many impaired people and white backgrounds with the pure black color font can cause eye strain when users read the text over an extended period. 

The improved balance of background contrast and the font color is an effective way to make a reader’s eyes safe and become comfortable reading the text. 

Why You Should Never Use Pure Black for Text or Backgrounds

Responsiveness compatibility

Responsive design is a method that will adapt the size or design of the website that follows the device size. The responsiveness will help visitors to read and explore the journal in a more comfortable way. This is the main reason that mobile-friendliness becomes a leading content ranking factor for many search-engine indexes, including Google. 

All our themes we build with the concept responsive first. You also can find the preview that is only shown when using a mobile device such as on the Classy theme for the menu component. 

The theme will adapt to the user device size, as this will benefit the journal to the Google and other search engine ranking, this will improve the ease of use.  

Typography and the component separation

We develop our theme with consistency in mind, in Typography as in the OJS Default theme use the font that we think is not consistent and too small although for the majority of the readers of the journal we assumed is senior people. 

We also find inconsistencies in the font size on the journal homepage. As you can see in this preview here the size of the Announcement and the About journal description is different. 

In our theme, we also make a clear separation between components so you will not find over whitespace on the component so it will be easier for users in their F-Shape scanning to find any component they need.
To improve the usability of the footer, we add more general information in the footer, and in consideration of it, we add the journal logo/publisher logo to the footer. After we have consulted with DOAJ documentation we pick the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License as the pre-made template for our customer to use the CC attribution to show the open-access type of journal.

Faster performance

Speed is important for our users since the reward for the speed of the website will improve its discoverability and its ranking by search engines such as Google and Bing. So when developing our product the speed performance is essential for us. We have utilized many of the OJS features to help improve the load speed of our OJS clients. In Unify theme where we add most read and most download as specific features, we improve this feature by using a caching system that is provided by the OJS system. We also heavily use LESS rather than CSS to minimize the code on loading the style based on user preferences. This caching system was also implemented smartly on our Most Cited Crosreff Plugin

The benefit of this speed performance does not help SEO to improve your discoverability but also will benefit any visitor that uses smoothly for the journal workflow. 

Secure by following the templating standard from PKP.

When we have a mind to developing a product one thing that comes to our mind is it should be secure. Fortunately, the PKP team is a friendly team and we appreciate their openness to the OJS platform vulnerabilities that are published on their OJS download page. 

We implement the product by following the security guideline from PKP documentation on implementing advanced code related to OJS/OMP here. To show our commitment to transparency we let our theme in open source when our customers can evaluate what we have written in our code. By letting our code open source we have received many improvement suggestions from our client and it will improve our code quality and the functionality of the product. 

We also continue to get input from our customers regarding how we can make improvements to our theme. The advantage of using a theme that is continuously maintained by a dedicated team is to get a theme that has the best quality and product results that are the result of studies that are continuously improved on a regular basis. This has been proven by many of our clients who have personally conveyed the good news to us regarding the benefits they get after using the products that we have released for them. More details regarding this can be seen in the following link.

The products and services that we have created in are developed with the consideration that these will become a solution for the journal that will help them to improve their journal, especially in indexing. As we have this framework in developing our product many of our clients have got positive impact as they use our product and are satisfied with our products.

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About the Author

Project Manager

Hendra here, I love writing about OJS and share knowledge about OJS. My passion is about OJS, OMP platform and doing some research on creating innovated products for that platform to help publisher to improve their publication.

Need More Services  or Question? started in 2016 by a passionate team that focused to provide affordable OJS, OMP,  OPS,  Dspace, Eprints products and services. Our mission to help publishers to be more focus on their content research rather than tackled by many technical OJS issues.

Under the legal company name :
Inovasi Informatik Sinergi Inc.

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