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Scholar Commons: Using the Institutional Repository

Create and Manage Open Access Journals

The University of South Carolina Libraries offers software and support for the creation and management of open access journals. The library uses Digital Commons software to host journals. Benefits of using this software include support for all types of content, search engine optimization, access to detailed analytics, and flexible peer-review workflows.

USC affiliated faculty are eligible for free journal hosting and support. Before launching a new journal, you’ll need to carefully consider the details of your journal, including people, policies, content, production, design, workflow, and sustainability. In most cases, you'll be asked to sign a memorandum of understanding with the University Libraries to delineate expectations and responsibilities.


  1. Journal title
    • Is this title already in use? Check WorldCat and Ulrichsweb to confirm that the title is available. Make sure that the title is clear and can be abbreviated. 
  2. Appearance
    • The library will provide a consultation to help you create a landing page for the journal. You will need to provide a color scheme and a banner or cover photo. You should also consider if you will need to create issue covers and images within the journal. You may wish to consult other journals published through Digital Commons as examples of what is possible.

  3. Focus and scope
    • What subject areas and topics will the journal cover?
    • What is the purpose of the journal?
    • Are there existing journals with similar content? If so, what will make this journal unique?
    • Who is the intended audience of this journal?
  4. Content
    • What types of materials will be accepted? Only research articles, or will you allow reviews, opinion pieces, videos, etc.?
    • How will you solicit quality content over an extended period of time?
  5. Publication frequency
    • How often will issues/articles be published? Will articles be published as received or bundled as issues?
  6. Content indexing
    • Will you assign DOIs to content? Digital Commons does not automatically assign DOIs, but USC Libraries is a Crossref member and can work with you to incorporate a DOI assignment workflow. The Libraries will be responsible for the cost of registering current content. If you would like to assign DOIs to backfiles, you will be responsible for the cost. 
  7. Journal indexing
    • Journal indexing will make your journal and its content more discoverable. All new journals are required to obtain an ISSN. 
    • Once you have an ISSN, register with Ulrich's Periodical Directory by emailing In the email, include the journal name, publisher name (University of South Carolina Libraries), and any other relevant details. Read the FAQs for more details. 
    • If your journal meets the criteria, register it with the Directory of Open Access Journals
    • Check Google Scholar to see if your journal appears. If it does not, register it
    • There will be additional indexing opportunities dependent on your discipline. You will likely be familiar with the databases used heavily in your field. Each will have different policies and procedures that are typically available from their website. 
  8. Timeline
    • What is your expected timeline? Plan on allowing one or two years of preparation time for the first journal issue to be released.
    • When would you like to issue the first call for papers?
    • What is your target date for the first issue?


  1. Journal manager and other staffing
    • Who will serve as journal manager, the person who is primarily responsible for this journal during the planning stages and after the journal has launched?
    • You will likely need a managing editor to create and publish journal issues, monitor submissions, and assign peer-reviewers. You may  need section editors to manage specific articles. Additionally, you will need production staff who handle tasks such as copyediting, layout, and proofing. You'll also likely need an editorial board, authors, and reviewers.
    • While there certainly can be overlap in these roles (for example, you may choose to ask your editorial board to act as reviewers or content shepherds) and you don't necessarily need to have names in place to start the journal creation process, keep in mind tht these roles will continue to be necessary throughout the life of the journal. You should have an idea of how you will recruit participants.
    • We recommend that you establish documentation detailing responsibilities and terms for each of these roles. 
  2. Sustainability
    • How will you recruit and train new board members and staff? How often will turnover take place? Do you have an idea of how long you will retain primary responsibility for the journal and who will replace you if you can no longer act as the journal manager? 


  1. Selection criteria
    • How will submitted manuscripts be considered for inclusion? How will manuscripts be checked for plagiarism and/or copyright violations?
  2. Review process
    • What kind of review will each submission require? Describe the procedure in detail, including the peer review process and reviewer guidelines if applicable. Digital Commons includes workflow procedures for peer review, but you should have an idea of what type of peer review is appropriate for your journal. 
    • Who will be involved in the peer review process?
  3. Open access
    • All journals will be available open access immediately upon publication if hosted through the University of South Carolina Libraries. The open access policy should be clearly stated on the journal's webpage and on author submission agreements. 
  4. Copyright policies
    • Who will hold the copyright for submissions? Many open access journals release content under a Creative Commons license. Creative Commons has a selection tool for picking an appropriate license.
    • Develop preliminary public statements for copyright policies, including rights, usage, attribution, and exceptions. You may wish to consult other journals in your field or published through Digital Commons as examples.  
    • In the event of a copyright infringement claim or other legal challenge, USC Libraries may require the journal to remove the offending content from the journal. 


Parts of this work are derived from Creating a New OJS Journal: Decisions created by Boston College Libraries, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

This page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license