Janeway review

Posted by Paula Clemente Vega on 7 July 2022

A review by Glossa Editor-in-Chief Professor Johan Rooryck of Janeway, our in-house open source publishing platform

The first thing to know about Janeway is that it is not just a submission system and platform. It is a complete publishing tool that allows the editors to basically operate as… a publisher. That makes it hugely empowering, and totally compensates the time investment.

Glossa publishes about 130 articles/year, so the work is rather demanding on a team of volunteer editors. A flawless and flexible submission system is a necessity. Janeway delivers.

First of all, it is flawlessly interoperable. Until July 2021, Glossa was published by Ubiquity press, who were using a customized version of OJS as a submission system. In July 2021, all essential Glossa data (articles, reviews, dates, reviewer list etc) were transferred to Janeway. The operation was carried out without a hitch. The Janeway team set up the platform for Glossa, and after a few nips and tucks it was ready for readers and authors. Editors have access to their journal platform and can directly edit policies and guidelines that are made available to readers and authors.

The submission system took some time getting used to, as they always do. But once you understand the architecture of the system, its logic is quite appealing. The idea is to put the editors in the driver’s seat of literally everything. A lot of detailed explanation is provided in Read the Docs, and the Janeway Team is always an email or Discord chat away to provide quick, patient, and tireless assistance within a few hours, sometimes within minutes.

The submission platform allows authors to choose between article types and Special Collections they have been invited to. The editors can easily set up Special Collections, and select guest editors for them. Setting up a Special Collection takes under 10 minutes once you know what to do. 

At submission, the editor is invited to check anonymity of the submission. The editor can quickly replace the submission by an anonymous version should that be necessary: download the .pdf, print to pdf, save on your own computer, re-upload via the replace function. Reviewers are invited via a search pane. Selecting them calls up a templated invitation letter. The editors can customize all letter templates via Manager, and templates can be edited further in the pane that is presented to the editor. Editors can change the roles and addresses of all authors, reviewers, and guest-editors. This is not as common as it should be.

Reviewers can be individually reminded of review due dates, and automated reminders can be set up both for review requests and reviews that are due. These reminders do not go out on weekends, respecting life/work balance. A welcome detail is that the editor can easily adapt the due dates for individual reviewers who ask for an extension. Editors can rate reviewers in the system, upload reviews for them, and replace reviews with anonymous versions when necessary. This allows for an exceptional control of the workflow. The workflow of all papers can also be monitored via the ‘Articles in review’ window, which provides succinct but complete information on each article in a list format.

When an author decision needs to be made, reviews have to be made individually accessible to the author by the editor. This is somewhat error prone, and could be improved by making all reviews automatically accessible when the decision is sent. Similarly the set of templated decisions an editor can send out (accept/reject/request revisions) is more limited than I would like to see (final accept/conditional accept/minor revisions/major revisions/reject with reviews/ desk reject), but I trust this can be changed in future iterations of Janeway.

The editor receives messages when authors have sent in revisions, and a second round of reviews can be easily initiated. It would be nice if reviewers of the previous round could be automatically presented to the editor when the 2nd round is initiated, as this is the set of reviewers that is routinely asked to re-review the paper. Another nice-to-have would be that all reviews and the editorial decision would be made available to all reviewers. At Glossa, it is our policy to give reviewers access to decisions and reviews, with an eye to the next round of reviews. This has to be done manually now, which is somewhat cumbersome. But once again, this is something that can no doubt be accommodated in future iterations of the submission system.

The full power of Janeway comes to light when papers are moved to production. Editors can manage the workflow in detail: sending final papers to copy-editing and typesetting and back to authors for follow-up and the checking of proofs. All articles are automatically assigned a DOI, which is mentioned in both the PDF and XML version of the paper. Our excellent copy-editors and typesetters at SiliconChips, who are now fully attuned to the intricacies of linguistics papers (graphs, formulas, tree representations glosses, tableaux, IPA, and semantic symbols) can bring a paper from its final version to publication in about two weeks, provided that the author responds diligently to the copy-edited version and the proofs.

At this point, the editor can polish the metadata, adding ORCIDs to the author’s profile, and making sure that addresses and affiliations are displayed correctly. Most importantly, the editor can upload Supplementary files and assign a dependent DOI to them in seconds. As a result, a paper’s appendices, data, and research protocols can be made available from a clickable link in the published paper. This is a crucial element that enables and assists Glossa’s strong open data policy. Access to the metadata also means that last minute changes can be made effortlessly: an author would like to see their middle name initial displayed in the ‘How to cite’ reference of the article? No problem, added in seconds.

Finally, the editors can decide when to publish papers. A convenient checklist in prepublication draws their attention to the metadata, the DOI assigned, the volume the article is assigned to, and the date of publication. Push ‘Publish this paper’, and seconds later the paper is online, in PDF and XML. Full control at your fingertips. Everything an independent editor wants!

Johan Rooryck is the Executive Director of cOAlition S. He is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the open access journal Glossa: a journal of general linguistics published by the Open Library of Humanities, a visiting professor at Leiden University (The Netherlands), and a member of the Academia Europaea. He is also president of Linguiistics in Open Access (LingOA) a foundation promoting and federating Diamond Open Access journals in linguistics.

About Janeway: Janeway is a digital platform designed for publishing scholarly research material. Launched in 2017, the platform provides a workflow for the submission, processing and presentation of scholarly materials. It is developed by Professor Martin Eve, Mauro Sanchez, Andy Byers and Joseph Muller at the Centre for Technology and Publishing, Birkbeck, University of London, and the Open Library of Humanities, UK. For more information about Janeway and its hosting packages, please visit: https://janeway.systems/.

Janeway is currently being used by the OLH journals, as well as by other external presses such as Iowa State Digital Press, Huddersfield University Press, Michigan Publishing, the University of Essex and the University of West London among others. It will be used soon too by California Digital Library for their pre-print publications. The platform has also been recently been awarded a $100k grant from the Next Generation Library Publishing project to test and improve publishing pathways and services for authors, editors and readers, for continued work on Janeway.

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