All entries for Tuesday 07 November 2023
November 07, 2023
Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/about/submissions
A new video offers to smooth the route to paper submission.
As part of the preparations for our various special issues, I’ve been working on some new advice for submitting authors on the practical steps they need to take. I strongly believe in diminishing as many of the mechanical barriers to submission as possible, and offering a stepwise guide is one way to address this. While I might not be able to tweak the underlying OJS code on which we run Exchanges, there are still at least some ways I can try and make the submission experience easier.
Case in point: While writing the two page ‘here’s what you do next’ guide for the authors, I found myself thinking ‘I wish we had a handy video talking people through the steps involved in manuscript submission’. Such a compulsion might be a holdover from my long-ago days as an academic librarian – I wrote so many printed and media guides back then – but as I said, any barrier is a barrier too many in my book (journal). I thought this would be an easy task, maybe taking a couple of hours or so at most to script, record edit and share.
I was wrong. But you can click on the screenshot below to watch the final video all the same:
You see, as part of the process of writing and creating the guide I had to go through the actual submission process myself with a dummy paper. I have to do a submission when I add the editorial each issue, but I generally don’t pay a lot of attention to what I’m doing – just need to get the paper into our workflows! However, this time going through the process more carefully, and observing each aspect was really helpful because it caused me to notice a couple of elements of our ‘submission wizard’  which I wasn’t happy about.
One of them was the wording on our clickthrough publishing licence’. The phrasing here seemed less than clear in places, and I confess I suspect no one has looked at this since the journal first launched. As a result, after a little fiddling around on OJS I found where I could edit and revise them. Hopefully, now the phrasing is better than it was – let me know your thoughts on this if you have them.
I also discovered a strange glitch which was restricting the article submission types which were visible to non-editors. This isn’t too much of an issue in the editorial process, as we can shift the type easily – but at submission, I suspect this might be off-putting to an author. As I normally look at the site in ‘uber’ editor mode, this is the sort of detail which is easily missed too. In preparing for my video though, I switched to my alt-author account which as a result highlighted the issue! It appeared from what I could see that the article type categories available to authors clearly weren’t as they should be – with some options not displaying – and others erroneously still showing. Certainly, they were far from clear and as far as I was concerned – a barrier to submission!
My apologies to our authors if you’ve experienced this glitch! I’ve no idea when it arose – I’m hoping it’s not been too long, but I have my suspicions. Nevertheless, I can assure you it’s been cleaned up. Now, the options to submit are in our five major formats: peer-reviewed article or review, and editorially revied conversation, critical reflection or book review.
With this sorted (and despite a computer that insisted in BSODing me once) the new guidance video still went live last week. And while this might have all taken me much longer than I anticipated to resolve, hey, at least it also means I had an opportunity to hopefully streamline the submission process slightly.
 More is the pity here.
 It doesn’t wear a pointy hat, nor an eight-pointed star.
 I was fairly sure we weren’t interested in submissions to the special section of the journal published in 2014.