All 3 entries tagged Ojs
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March 24, 2022
Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/announcement/view/35
A legacy piece of vital information gets a brand new 2022 hat, as our Editor-in-Chief updates our open call for information.
Today I got around to handling a task which has been pending for a little while: revising the text of our open call for papers. I know from experience how some of our authors come direct to our submissions page when they want to find out more, and that’s great. On the other-hand though, I’m aware more than a few prospective authors look towards the journal’s front page, especially our announcements section, when they are looking for news or information about the types of work our title likes to receive. As a result, the announcements section has long been the perfect additional location place to host this kind of vital information on Exchanges.
Now, the prior version of the text was, admittedly, getting a little long in the tooth given how I originally wrote it back in May 2020. Since that time, I have also probably adapted, reworked and reused this same block of text in the pages of each issue's editorial too, so there has been a sort of second life for the material. Nevertheless, I decided rather than drawing on these 'child' versions, writing from fresh about the kinds of manuscripts we like to receive for the journal seemed a better option. Certainly, coming at it from a fresh angle felt a superior route in terms of clarifying a few further issues for our authors.
I also took the chance to add in a new nugget of information that our most recent version of OJS makes possible: acceptance and rejection rates. Before the January update if I wanted to generate this kind of information on the fly, I would have to do considerable amounts of manual processing. Now though, it is possible to generate this kind of statistical information - along with other useful stuff too - in an instant. I can even specify a particular date range. Which means should I, for example, want to see how my own tenure as chief editor ranks alongside those who came before, in terms of our quality bar, it is now the matter of a moment’s work.
For the record since 2018 our acceptance rate for publication has been 55% of all submissions. Which, given the reaction I've had from a few people I shared it with over the last week or so, seems to be a reasonable figure for our kind of title. Doubtless, I'll probably find time to delve into this statistics module a little more deeply over the coming months, and maybe return to reflect on what I find here as well.
For more information on submitting to Exchanges, or about the journal in general, contact Editor-in-Chief, Dr Gareth J Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
March 10, 2022
With a little more time on his hands at last, the editor takes a wander through his technical and platform wish-list to assess how things have changed over the past few years.
Today I’ve been taking the time to review, reformat and refresh my technical wish-list for Exchanges. It’s been a veritable stroll down memory lane as this was originally one of the earliest documents I drew up when I first came into post. My intentions at the time were to clarify, in my own head at least, those aspects of the title where I thought it was lacking and could benefit from some upgrading. Some of the early comments to myself are perhaps a little naive, a few apposite and even fewer maybe even a smidge visionary .
Today, I will confess this is not a document I’ve had too much time to much work on over the past couple of years. Certainly, since early 2020 keeping all of the routine journal plates/wheels/cogs  etc., spinning has taken a goodly chunk of my time. Glancing at my document control notes, it seems the last time I did any updating was way back in the early summer of 2021. Now I’m blessed (huzzah – thank you lovely IAS!) with a little more time to devote to the journal, it seems only right and fitting that I return to a guiding document too long neglected.
Reading through it, through and completely, for the first time in years, numerous elements of I was once keen to implement on the journal have changed in status when viewed through the lens of today. In fact, I can reclassify them in one of three different ways. Firstly, for a lucky few they’ve actually been implemented, sometimes as the result of a platform update or a policy change, and occasionally through direct action by myself or the lovely technical team. These are easily most gratifying to spot, as it demonstrates how Exchanges today, is no longer the Exchanges I took on back in 2018.
Secondly there are those, after taking account of the journals evolving policy and practice direction, or indeed developments in the wider scholarly publishing world, are no longer relevant. Indeed, it is possible to observe a divergence from what I thought would be crucial back then, to today when they are no longer of great import or relevance. In some cases, it isn’t that they’re no longer of any value, but in contrast to other, more salient and pressing priorities, they simply aren’t worth devoting any time towards. After all, all those various spinning objects haven’t entirely retreated into the distance thanks to my longer hours! And so, with no guilt, they can be moved to the deprioritised pile.
The third category though, these are those developmental and aspirational goals I had for the journal which still continue to burn brightly in my mind. True, a fair number of these pending developments will be subject to a long conversation with our platform hosts at Warwick in order to achieve. Certainly, with the way our host and platform are configured there aren’t simple things which I could move forward on alone. For example they may have implications for the other titles hosted on Warwick University Press Journals, so can’t be adopted in isolation, no matter how much Exchanges might desire them . A few more though, these are wish-list items which require action beyond the confines of Warwick alone.
These are those aspects which require pressure being brought to bear on external actors. Again, we are but one small open-access journal in a sea of hundreds of thousands, which means it would be unlikely I’d be able to make much headway on achieving these goals alone. I had hoped the local journals family would be a good source of collective agency, but in the last year with various staffing moves and changes the coherency of this group has rather evaporated. Just as it was finally getting up steam too - if mixing steam with evaporation isn’t too strained a metaphor to adopt here!
Then we come to the last few items, and this is where I can feel myself getting a little more excited. Why? Well, because these are things I can, resplendent in my additional weekly hours, begin to make some degree of ingress on. Tease that I am , I’m won’t share details of these our potentially achievable aspirations, but I can reveal one of them concerns our journal audience’s interests. For now, I’ll say no more, but would strongly suggest you keep an eye on the editorial coming out in the next issue of Exchanges for a few minor revelations in this respect.
I am pleased, in closing though, to note that while there is but a single, minor, niggle unresolved but scheduled for swift action over the coming weeks by our tech team. The rest of the platform issues we’ve experienced over the years – all thankfully relegated to the ‘completed’ column. That, in the very least, is bringing me some measure of satisfaction in reading through my wish list today. Not to mention, reminding me of how grateful I am to our tech team for their ongoing work behind the scenes.
 Scarily so – I would have to do a lot of policy and process work to make them work, even if the platform supported them!
 Insert your preferred circular linguistic contrivance here
 Mutter, mutter, commericial indexes, mutter
 You’d probably be horrified by how ungrammatical some of these notes were if I did.
August 21, 2018
Over the weekend I had a brief discussion with the other Dr Johnson in my house, who was asking me various questions about Exchanges, its metrics and readership. Okay, truth be told I started the conversation by wondering aloud about various aspects of our multiple audiences , as it’s a topic never too far from my mind, even on a road trip to the far south of the UK. I should mention, Mrs the Dr Johnson is a remote-sensing satellite and environmental monitoring specialist at another Midlands university, and I suspect tends to perceive the world through a geographic lens. Hence the construction of her question and interest. I’ll confess it wasn’t something I could immediately answer while driving down the M40, beyond making an assumption that our to-date core audience was located in and around Warwick, and perhaps Monash, given our concentration of editors and authors from those locations.
As I’ve discussed before, one of my (many) ambitions for Exchanges is to broaden the range of its audiences , and thinking about what we can find about the current audiences isn’t a bad place to start. I’ve two principal tools at my disposal for gathering this sort of data: Google Analytics (GA) and the Open Journal System’s (OJS) inbuilt statistics generator. The former looks a lot slicker and can churn out some pretty illuminating graphics at the click of a mouse, the latter’s UI and outputs are a lot more ‘web 1.0’ - in that creating a custom report is not a facile exercise and the platform spits out reams of largely unformatted, hard, numerical data. Both tools have their places in my working practices, for example at times it’s handy to have access and manipulate raw data, and GA doesn’t make scraping that in its entirety quite as easy. Conversely, when I need an illustrative graphic in short order for a presentation or report, GA is the tool I turn to.
The $64,000 question: does their data correlate? The answer is yes…and no. Broadly there’s some alignment, but the figures each one has presented me with are reasonably different in exact value if similar in relative magnitude. Given the issues with generating comparable data over the same period  it comes as no surprise to me that variance in ranking beyond the ‘big three’ UK, USA and Australia  exists. Perhaps more interesting are those countries which appear in one but not the other analytical tool’s top 10.
|Google Analytics||Open Journal Systems|
|1||United Kingdom||United States|
|2||United States||United Kingdom|
|8||South Korea||South Korea|
(countries appearing in both lists highlighted)
This might suggest, given GA has been running for less time than OJS’ current platform, that Canada and the Philippines are new and expanding audiences for Exchanges, with France and Russia diminishing. However, the precision in the time spans over which this data was gathered are both too limited to make such sweeping conclusions . It is pleasing to see some non-Anglophone usage though in both charts, especially considering our sole language of publication is English.
Anyway, no matter the deeper implications of this very light touch look at Exchanges’ user statistics, I think I’ve at least answered part of Mrs Dr Johnson’s question about from where in the world our usage has originated. Naturally, this beggars another question which I can’t immediately answer: where SHOULD our audiences for the journal be coming from? As always, answers in the comments below please…
 Readers, authors, potential authors, stakeholders and more…I’m still work on defining these
 Does the ISS have an ISP I can track? If it has, another mission is to get this journal read in orbit!
 These issues are multiple. For examples, with OJS, when we moved to the newer version last year this, regrettably, seemed to ‘reset’ the statistics for the platform. We’ve a back record of these, but it’s no longer possible run off a complete set since the journal began. Likewise with Google Analytics, we’ve not had this running the whole time the platform has been up, so there’s going to be a temporal discrepancy there too. Added to that neither platform counts or creates its statistics in the same way, without a LOT of lengthy post-processing and normalisation, for normal usage there are always going to be disagreements on the ‘exact’ magnitude of visitations. Just one of the reasons as a qualitative researcher, I tend to maintain a certain analytical cynicism wherever ‘statistics’ are used to justify something: there’s always likely flaws, assumptions and simplifications in the underlying data acquisition methods!
 These make up 58.4% (GA) or 77.7% (OJS) of all usage
 It is possible I could make the data collection time frames marry better, but I’m still developing an understanding on how OJS works ‘under the hood’ in this respect. Something to return to at a later date, perhaps.