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Creating a Journal on PubPub

A simple guide and best practices to use as a starting point for creating your journal.
Published onDec 22, 2021
Creating a Journal on PubPub

This guide assumes that you have a working familiarity with PubPub’s Core Concepts.

PubPub is designed to support one journal per Community, with Collections representing an individual journal issue, and Pubs in each collection representing the articles and supplementary materials. This guide will detail a basic setup for a journal that already has some content ready to be published.


1. Fill out Community settings

You should start by filling out your Community-level settings. You can learn more about basic branding and navigation considerations in our community setup considerations guide.

For journals, there are two key settings fields to keep in mind: Journal Citation and Publisher. By default, the title of your community will be used as both the journal title and publisher for citations and deposits. If you’d rather use a different name for the journal title or the Publisher, you should fill out these fields.

2. Create your first Issue collection

From the Community dashboard, create a new collection with the Issue type. You’ll be taken to the Collection dashboard for the new issue. From there, visit the Collection settings page. This page is where you can fill out the metadata needed to describe the issue (ISSNs, publication dates, volume, etc). You can also add issue-level attribution for editors, which will appear in citations and on every article you publish within the Collection.

3. Add Pubs to your Issue

Once you’ve set your issue’s metadata, you can start adding your articles by creating new Pubs within the collection. Clicking the “Create Pub” button from your issue’s Collection dashboard will automatically create a new draft Pub in the issue. You can also add existing Pubs to an issue from the Pub settings.

Pubs contain settings for figure numbering, citation and reference styles, authorship and attribution options, licenses, DOI depositing, and more. You can learn more about creating and configuring Pubs in our Pub Editor and Pub Settings guides.

Supplementary materials

One specific consideration for journals is how to include supplementary materials like code, data, or tables. We think the best way to do this is to create a Connection between the article and the supplementary material. Connections are a special feature of PubPub that allows you to create typed links between a Pub and another Pub, or any link on the web. When you deposit an article with Connections to Crossref, we’ll automatically create a relationship deposit that will allow researchers to discover it.

If the supplementary material is content that should live on PubPub, you can create a new Pub for it and then create a corresponding connection from the Connections tab of the Pub settings dashboard by searching for the name of the supplement Pub. If the content is hosted elsewhere, you can create a Connection to it by adding the link or DOI to the connection. We’ll automatically fetch information about the content and give you a chance to edit it before saving.

If you don’t need to be able to link to separate supplementary material, you can always simply create a new Supplementary Material section in a Pub, and use the media button to upload supplement files that can be downloaded by readers.

4. Lay out your Issue

In the layout tab of your Issue’s Collection dashboard, you’ll find the tools to create the layout for your issue. By default, the layout will contain a header block with the metadata you added, and a list of all the Pubs in the collection ordered by the order you set in the Collection overview dashboard. We find this to be a pretty sane default, but you can customize it to change the ordering of Pubs, add additional content or notes, and much more. You can learn more about configuring layouts in our Page Design and Management Guide.

5. Lay out your homepage

Every PubPub community contains a customizable home banner and homepage, which can be edited from the Community settings and Pages tab of the Community overview dashboard, respectively. Journals take different approaches to homepages, from mirroring the latest issue on the homepage using a Pub block filtered to that issue, to showing just the latest articles and a list of issues using a Pages & Collection block, to only linking to the latest issues and providing information about the journal.

Any approach can work, but the simplest way, which requires the least updating, is to display a list of the latest articles and a link to the latest issues. To show your latest articles, create an unfiltered Pub block on the homepage, ordered by publication date. If you think you’ll publish non-article content that you don’t want on the homepage (for example, news articles or webinars), you’ll want to create a private ‘article’ tag, apply it to all of your article Pubs, and filter the Pub block to only show articles in that collection.

To show all of your issues, create a Pages & Collection block that includes the Issue collection you created. When you publish new issues, you’ll need to update this block. But that’s the only time you’ll need to update your homepage.

For usability and SEO purposes, we also recommend that journals include a text block with a description of their journal and their e-ISSN, and, if applicable, banners linking to their submission instructions and reviewer signup pages.

You can learn more about configuring your home banner and homepage in our Community Setup Guide.

6. Create information pages

Most journals should have pages describing their mission, submission and review processes, ethics policies, and listing their editorial boards. Some journals put all of this information on one about page. Others create one page for each. No matter how you do it, you can create new pages from the Pages tab of the Community overview dashboard.

You can learn more about configuring pages in our Page Design and Management Guide.

7. Create your navigation

Once you’ve created your pages, you’ll want to create your navigation, which will help visitors browse and understand your journal. PubPub has two configurable navigation sections, one in the header, one in the footer. Journals configure their navigation in lots of different ways, but in general, we recommend making it easy for visitors to find the latest issue pages, submission instructions, reviewer signup, and editorial information pages.

Often, journals will create a dropdown for Issues that they update when new issues are published, a link to submission instructions, a link to reviewer signup, and an ‘About’ dropdown with links to pages like mission and editorial boards.

You can learn more about configuring navigation in our community setup considerations guide.

8. Publish your journal

At this point, you may want to add members, either to your entire Community, your Issue collection, or individual Pubs, to help review or edit your content.

When you’re ready to publish your issue, you’ll need to make your content public. First, set all of your pages to public. Then, set your Issue collection to Public. Finally, go to each of your pubs and create releases for them. When you’re done, you can see how your site will look to others by visiting it in a private browser window.

9. Deposit your journal

Once the issue is published, you’ll likely want to deposit your issue and articles to Crossref, so that they can be referenced by DOI. If you have an existing Crossref membership, you’ll need to reach out to our team so we can add your membership to our system. Otherwise, you can use PubPub’s membership to deposit.

Once you’re ready, depositing is as easy as clicking “Deposit” on the Issue settings page, and then “preview deposit” on the settings page of each article you want to deposit.


PubPub automatically produces JATS and PDF outputs that can be used by most archival services. If you are a client of a particular archiving service, you can point them to your community’s RSS feed, which provides links to PDF and JATS files that can be automatically downloaded. If your archiving service requires that you deposit files with an interface like FTP, you can either do it manually, setup a pipeline to do so automatically using a service like Zapier, or contact us about providing community services for archiving.


Here are a few good examples of different types of journal setups on PubPub:

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