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Journal Publishing

This guide supports journal publishing initiatives across NYU by providing information about the various issues involved in journal publishing, including how to access NYU services that support this work.

Topics to Inform Your Choice of Platform

There are many choices to consider when building your journal's website. Many platforms, sometimes called content management systems (CMS), are geared specifically toward journal publishing. We recommend that you first assess your journal's workflows and processes, and then select a platform or a set of tools that will allow you to accomplish those goals (rather than selecting a platform and realizing later that important decisions have already been made for you).

Additionally, building and then maintaining your website is a significant project in and of itself. You will need to plan and allocate resources for the initial design and development of the journal's website. Once the website has launched, it will still need regular maintenance and attention. The planning process should also include ongoing maintenance of the website - no one wants their article to return a 404 error!

Here are some topics to consider that will help inform your choice of platform:

Design needs

  • Does your journal need a custom design? Do you have access to, or can you employ a web designer?
  • Look at existing journals and platforms, and articulate how your journal's website should be similar or different
  • How will basic information about the journal be organized and displayed? This can affect how findable your journal will be to researchers. For instance, Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) recommendations indicate that certain information should be easily accessible from the homepage in order for your journal to be indexed there.
  • All new websites hosted by NYU must employ digital accessibility best practices, including non-HTML content hosted on the site such as PDFs and video. NYU adheres to the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level AA standards. Content creators are responsible for ensuring their sites meet these standards, and the NYU Digital Accessibility Office’s documentation is particularly helpful for getting started.
  • What file formats will you publish the articles in? It is common for articles to be published as HTML, XML, PDF, and EPUB files, often with more than one file format provided because each format has different accessibility and preservation advantages and disadvantages. For example, although PDF file formats have advantages as static file formats that are not easily edited, they pose substantial accessibility challenges.


  • Manuscript and file management: will authors and editors submit manuscripts via the website or email? What file formats will you accept?
  • Communication: similarly, how will editors, authors, and reviewers communicate with each other?
  • Peer review: What type of peer review will your journal engage in? Will you need a system that can maintain mutual anonymity or unilateral anonymity between reviewers and authors?
  • Customizations: any platform can display text and images, but does your journal require more specialized features, such as interactive data visualizations or executable code?
  • Metrics: what types of data do you need about how readers are using your site? (download count, page views, social media impressions, etc)
  • Payment system: if you accept payments, how will you safely do so?
  • Library integration: Can you enable libraries to include your journals in their collections?
  • For toll-access journals, can the platform enable the institutional access negotiated in your contracts with libraries? For example, can it integrate with Shibboleth for individual users to authenticate using their institutional credentials? Or can a library provide an IP whitelist for authentication?
  • For Open Access journals, how can you enable libraries to automatically include your journal in their catalogs? For example, will your platform enable you to meet the basic requirements to have your journal included in the Directory of Open Access Journals?
  • Preservation: How does your platform help you ensure access to your publication is long-term? Will it integrate with any preservation systems or plans that you are considering?


  • What types of skill sets are required to build the website? (front end developer, back end developer, user experience designer, etc)
  • Similarly, what skills sets are required for the ongoing maintenance of the site (updating plugins, adding new users, etc)
  • Do you need a project charter that specifies the expected work outputs and defines when the project is done?
  • Who is the project manager, or champion, that takes responsibility for moving the project along?
  • Who is paying the wages of the technical staff?

Data Engineering

  • Search feature: how will users navigate the site and what data is required to make this possible?
  • Findability and indexing: for services that do web-based indexing (e.g. Google Scholar), what metadata do they require and how does it need to be provided? For more on metadata best practices, see this guide’s Metadata page.

NYU Services

NYU provides a variety of technology services that can be used for journal publishing.

Publishing Services Platforms

For those looking for full scale publishing platforms that provide web hosting,publishing workflows, and services, below are some options, including some that are open source. Although most of these services have varying degrees of cost to use, they are all run by non-profit organizations that are actively contributing to a more equitable scholarly communications system. For more in-depth comparisons of widely used publishing platforms, see "Finding the Right Platform: A Crosswalk of Academy-Owned and Open-Source Digital Publishing Platforms," published in 2023. 

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Approach

Commercialized options

This guide’s primary focus is to support scholars who are interested in publishing open access journals, and as such we primarily recommend platforms and tools that were created by and for scholars, rather than platforms and tools created by for-profit publishers, some of whose practices necessitated the Open Access movement in the first place. (For more on motivations behind the Open Access movement, see the “Motivation” chapter of the book Open Access by Peter Suber.) However, there are publishing services provided by for-profit scholarly publishers, including the following: