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Cascading Settings

Published onNov 02, 2022
Cascading Settings
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Video tutorial walking through our new “cascading settings” feature.

PubPub now lets you choose some default settings for all Pubs in a Collection, or even an entire Community. We call these Cascading Settings. These have a distinctive, colorful style in the dashboard Settings tabs:

A view of the License section of Pub Settings. The "License kind" and "Copyright year" subsections have colorful highlights on their edges, and say "Defined here".

Selecting a Pub’s license from its Settings tab in the dashboard.

You’ll see a slightly different style where the same settings are made accessible in dropdown menus across PubPub:

A similar view of the License settings. Here, the License Kind has subtle grey accents and is "Defined by Community" but the Copyright year has colorful accents and is "Defined here".

You can also update the license from the footer of a Pub, as shown here.

As an example, notice that the License kind section here is Defined by Community, while the Copyright year section is Defined here, on the Pub itself. It is quite common to want to use a uniform license across a PubPub Community while being able to override the copyright year for individual Pubs, and cascading settings make this possible.

PubPub will always pick the value for a cascading setting at the lowest level: a Pub’s own settings supersede those from its Primary Collection, which supersede those from the Community.

If a Pub has a setting that is Defined here but you want it to use the default value instead, you can click the × icon found in the top-left of all cascading settings. That icon will change to a shape, which means that current value has “cascaded downwards” from the Community or Collection level.

Which settings are cascading?

Look for these in the Settings tab of a Community, Collection, or Pub:

  • Pub header theme: text style, background color, background image

  • Citation style: for inline citations and the in Pub’s bibliography

  • License: the kind (e.g. CC-BY) and the copyright year

  • In-text item labels: e.g. Image or Figure in Pubs

  • Pub Connections display: e.g. as a carousel or as a list

We are likely to make more settings cascading in the future!1

Using cascading settings effectively

⚠️ Updating a cascading setting could affect many Pubs at once, even those that are very old. Considering where you set a cascading setting can make managing a PubPub Community smoother in the long run. Let’s examine two different scenarios:

  1. You want to use a certain background image for all of the existing Pubs in your Community. But you’re not sure you want to use that image for all future Pubs. Instead of updating the Pub header theme at the Community level, you update it in a few existing Collections to achieve the same effect.

  2. You are setting up a new Community for a journal, and you’re sure that all Pubs in the journal should use a uniform in-text citation style to follow your style guide. Furthermore, you’d like this change to apply retroactively to old Pubs if your style guide changes. So you set the Citation style setting once at the Community level, and never have to think about it again! 🎉


To share feedback, bugs, and recommendations for future cascading settings, please visit and contribute to our user forum discussion on this topic!

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