Skip to main content

Getting Started on PubPub: The First Steps to Creating Your Community

This article is intended to walk you through the steps of creating a community, as well as the initial steps of establishing your homepage and site-wide settings.
Published onMar 25, 2020
Getting Started on PubPub: The First Steps to Creating Your Community
key-enterThis Pub is a Supplement to
Core Concepts

The basic concepts you'll need to know to publish content of any type on PubPub

Hello! Thank you for your interest in starting a PubPub Community. PubPub is an open source publishing platform for open access content. Anyone or group of people can create a community, or publishing space, on PubPub at any time and at no cost.1 A PubPub community is open to your own definition; it can serve as a space to publish a monograph, a journal with one or multiple issues, research notes, reports, local neighborhood guides, your family’s favorite recipes—it’s up to you!

This article is intended to walk you through the steps of creating a community, as well as the initial steps of establishing your homepage and site-wide settings. If you need help or have questions or ideas, please email [email protected].

1. Create

Navigate to

Click “Create Community.” If you don’t have a PubPub account, you’ll be prompted to create one.

What you need to input to create your community.

A URL and title are required for your community, and are changeable later after the community has been established.

Optional details to input at this stage are:

  • a brief community description

  • a logo

  • accent colors (light and dark)

If you chose not to add these details in at this time, you’ll have the chance to do so, and to change them, later.

2. Setting the Settings

Upon the creation of your community, you’ll find yourself on a homepage with some instructional copy and your community title. From here, click on “Dashboard” at the top right of your screen. A small dropdown will appear that includes the name of your community. Click on your community name.

This will take you to a dashboard, from which you can set your higher-level community-wide settings, as well as create new pages.

Community Dashboard

On the left hand sidebar, there are five options:

  • Overview shows you collections, pubs, discussions, and reviews. You can search for a Pub (our word for what you might call a chapter, article, report, etc. based on what you’re publishing. As a brand new community with no content, this list won’t be relevant just yet.) in the bar marked “Filter Pubs & Collections.” You can scroll to see a complete list of Pubs, including discussions and reviews. You can create a Pub by using the button at the upper right. Collections is where you can add tags to content to better organize it on your site. Some collection tags, like books or journals, also have associated metadata. Collections will be more relevant later on when you have content in your community.

  • Pages shows a list of all pages within the community. Pages are for static content (like an about page) and displaying your Pubs (like an issue page). From this view, you can edit, access, and see the visibility status of all your pages.

  • Reviews are the way that authors (or anyone) who doesn’t have permission to publish directly to the community can add their content. They could be submissions, peer reviews, or more. Other community members can then discuss the reviews and decide whether to publish them.

  • Members is where you can add members for your site. This list is determined by you and those who need to be involved in your project.(Members will need to create these accounts before you can add them using their name.)

Members View

Each member can have specific permissions as to what they can view, edit, and manage. Admins have wider permissions across the community.

Options for member permissions

  • Settings will take you to your site’s master list of… settings!

Navigate to Settings.

Settings is where you can determine site-wide options, such as accent colors, your navigation bar, footer, and logo(s). It is also where you establish your homepage banner.

For freely-usable, high-quality images, we recommend Please credit photo authors when using their work.

The favicon image is used on the browser tab. The preview image is for social sharing cards.

If you do not want visitors to your community to be able to create their own pubs, please toggle off “Public New Pub Button.”

You have the option to show a navigation bar or not. If you’d like one, you can add and organize internal pages and links to external ones here. Please note: you must first create pages to organize them here on the navigation bar.

You have the option of showing a homepage banner or not. If you’d like one (most communities have a banner), this is where you can design it. We recommend playing around with all of the banner options and using the preview tool below them to see what they look like in practice.

There are countless combinations of ways you can design your banner. One feature, for instance, is the ability to include up to two buttons in your banner. Some OA books use this, for instance, to link to buying options for readers who are interested in purchasing a print copy. Others use it for a newsletter. Some do both!

Use the banner background option for an image that will fill up the header of your Community. The Knowledge Futures Group Notes community implements a banner background with centered text.

Use the banner image option for an image that will appear to the right of your banner. The book, Smart Enough City, implements this nicely.

Use the banner logo option for an image that will appear to the left of your banner. Goldsmiths Press implements this option well.

Social is where you can add links to any additional websites, social spaces, or ways to contact you. They are all optional.

Footer is where you can manage the content on the bottom of your community, from a logo or image to additional links.

3. Creating Pages

Pages on PubPub are spaces within which you can display text as well as pubs (chapters, articles, etc).

Your homepage is likely the first page people will see when they land on your site. At this stage, your homepage is already partially designed because of the work to the banner you conducted within Settings.

To add text and other content to your page, again click to the “Dashboard” button in the top right and select your community. Then select the Pages view on the left side. You will see your Home page.

We recommend including some introductory and/or contextualizing copy to your homepage to help situate new visitors. To do so, you can use the pre-existing text box that contains brief “getting started” directions. Simply delete that text and add your own.

All pages on PubPub consist of different combinations of content blocks. It is on the manage dashboard for each page, your homepage included, that you can create and flow content into each kind of block. The content block types (examples below) are:

  • Pubs: flow in content that lives in pubs. Pubs blocks have different view options—large, medium, small, and minimal—that show cover images and publication information in different ways.

  • Banners: allow you to add images, text, or buttons with links within a page that is not your homepage.

  • Text: to add text directly into a page, as we recommended doing for your homepage above, use this block option.

  • HTML: to add some of your own design or formatting to your pages, you can use the html block option.

  • Pages: to link to other pages from a page, use this option. Pages in a pages block appear as tiles. If you page has a preview image uploaded to it, this image will appear as the cover image in this tile.

The best way to understand how content blocks work is to look at how other communities have used them.2 For example, the KFG Notes community homepage contents (below the nav bar) can be broken down like this:

  1. A text block, with centered text

  2. A pages block linking to other pages on the site

  3. A pubs block with the small view selected

  4. A banner block with a background image, text, and a button linking to another PubPub Community.

Thank you for reading these notes on how to get started on PubPub. We’ll be publishing more guides in the future. To add tips for your fellow community creators, please annotate this document. To make suggestions, ask further questions, or propose ideas, please email us: [email protected].

1 of 3
A Version of this Pub
Another Supplement to Core Concepts
Another Supplement to Core Concepts
Khalfani Cargill:

seems interesting but I’ve never used a footer

Khalfani Cargill:

note-example banner

Khalfani Cargill:

note-banner background

Khalfani Cargill:


Khalfani Cargill:

I’ve used a similar system like this on a app called discord where u could allow other members to have different privilege’s.

Khalfani Cargill:

So I’m guessing this is like a comment and the people who are in charge of the pub then decides if they want the the comment to be made public.

Khalfani Cargill:

how is this regulated? For example what would happen if a pedophile came here and were able to spread pedophilia, or and racist group of people came on here to spread hate?