How to install OJS — A step-by-step Guide
OJS Open Access Journals

How to install OJS — A step-by-step Guide

Shanu K
Shanu K

Are you planning to start a new journal on OJS? Or running an already existing one? This guide will help you get started quickly.

OJS interface


OJS (acronym: Open Journal Systems) is an open-source Journal management software developed by PKP. It is primarily used by small and medium-sized journals around the world.

You should use OJS if you belong to any of the following categories:

  1. New Journals
    (that are yet to publish an Issue)
  2. Journals that are moving from Print to Online
    (and are looking to increase their online visibility.)
  3. University Journals
    (that predominantly run on volunteers guided by a professor)
  4. A small to medium Subscription Journal
    (less than 20 members)
  5. An open-access Journal
    (with a small Editorial team)

This guide covers the installation instructions for OJS version 3.

This is a simple bare-bones guide to help you get started with OJS to host your journal.

Quick Note: SciSpace (Formerly Typeset) provides secure and scalable hosted OJS solutions at affordable prices. It is suited for journals that don’t want operational burden or don’t have an IT team. You can read more about top OJS hosting solutions here.

Step 1: Get OJS 3 package

Before you start installing the OJS 3 software, the first step involves getting the software package itself from the official sources. We recommend 2 sources from which you should directly download the package.

Source 1: PKP OJS 3 Package Download

On clicking the above link, you would be taken to PKP’s official repository. Search for a section called “Current Production Release”.

Image source: PKP download Repository

The version keeps on getting regularly updated. So, keep the link handy when you would prefer to upgrade your OJS installation.

The downloaded file has the extension “.tar.gz”. The process to extract the original software depends on your operating system.

  1. Windows
    WinZip is the preferred approach.
    If you have access to the command line on Windows, you should check out this guide
  2. Linux
    In Linux, use the terminal and run the command:
    “tar -xvf ojs-3.2.1–1.tar.gz”
  3. Mac
    Mac offers the simplest approach. After downloading the .tar.gz, just double click on the file. Mac will automatically extract the software.

Source 2: Official Github Repo of OJS Package

This approach is usually preferred by more tech-savvy journals that have an IT team. Go to the Github Repo of OJS.

  • Ensure that you are on the “Master” branch.
  • Click on “Code” to reveal options to download. You can download the highlighted ZIP file. Otherwise, f you have Git set up on your terminal, you can use the command mentioned below:
    “git clone
Image Source: Official Github Repo for OJS

Step 2a: Install PHP

PHP is a fast and popular scripting language on which OJS runs. OJS 3 requires PHP 7.2 or later.

In case, you already have an existing version of PHP 7.2+ running on your system, you should skip this step.

You can download the latest version of PHP on their downloads page. Follow the installation instructions given within their official documentation.

Image Source: PHP Download repository

Step 2b: Install MySQL

If you already have a running version of MySQL, you should skip this step.

MySQL is a free and open-source database. OJS provides support for MySQL 4.1 version and above.

We recommend getting the latest version of MySQL from their official repository. This will help you get access to the latest features of MySQL without any frills.

This is their official repository. Remember to pick your operating system in the dropdown highlighted below.

  1. Windows: Installation Guide
  2. Linux: Installation Guide
Image Source: MySQL repository

Step 2c: Install Apache

Apache is a free, open-source web server software. This is what will frontend interface for your OJS system and would be receiving/ replying HTTP requests.

If you already have the Apache server running, you can skip this step.

Click on the red highlight below to download the Apache server. Use this tutorial to complete the installation process for the Apache server.

  1. Windows: Installation Guide
  2. Linux: “sudo apt-get install apache2”

We recommend choosing Linux as your OS for the server as it is efficient, reliable, and easier to maintain.

For journals that don’t have an IT team, managing a web server is a tedious task. Talk to us at SciSpace, and we can provide you a hosted web server.
Image Source: Apache Repository

Step 3: Install the OJS package

After all the system requirements in step 2 are met, we can safely go and begin the installation of the downloaded OJS 3 package.

  1. Go to the server where Apache, MySQL, and PHP are installed.
  2. Within the same server, choose a folder location for your OJS installation. If you have a Linux server running, a recommended approach is to choose “/usr/share/ojs” as your home directory.
  3. Extract the OJS tar.gz to that particular directory.
  4. You would need to change permissions.
    Make the following files and directories (and their contents) writeable (i.e., by changing the owner or permissions with “chown” or “chmod”):
    - public
    - cache
    - cache/t_cache
    - cache/t_config
    - cache/t_compile
    - cache/_db
  5. Create a directory to store all the uploaded files (submission files, etc.) and make this directory writeable using “chown” or “chmod”.
    It is recommended that this directory be placed outside of the webserver location (“/usr/share/ojs”)
  6. Open a web browser to and follow the on-screen installation instructions.
  7. [Recommended] Review for additional configuration settings.

SciSpace (Formerly Typeset) is a software developed to streamline publication workflows. Using SciSpace, publishers are able to automatically convert author submissions to any publication format, including JATS XML. SciSpace publisher offers solutions to generate XML-first articles that comply with major scientific databases like PubMed, Crossref, and Scopus.

SciSpace publisher works with over 400+ journals worldwide and offers solutions for generating XML-first articles. See how you can simplify your workflow and save over 80% of the time and cost of producing journal articles.

Learn more on SciSpace and SciSpace for Publishers.

Before you go:


Btw, if you have recently installed OJS3, take a sneak peek into our “Getting Started” guide

Since 2015, SciSpace , has enabled publishers, institutions, and universities to establish online journals using the Open Journal Systems (OJS) software.


Additionally, our platform also includes additional services for small and medium journals to streamline their production workflow and save the cost and effort.

  1. XML (JATS, CrossRef, PubMed, SciELO, Redalyc) generation to improve your online visibility and make you compliant with the indexing bodies.
  2. Generate the Final production PDF.
  3. Provide capacity to extract HTML, ePUb within few seconds.
  4. Auto-fill your DOIs and interlink them automatically in the export (PDF, XML)

If you found the above article interesting, the following blogs might also interest you.

  1. OJS Hosting — What are the best options?
  2. OJS Setup — Step 1: Site administration and Journal Management
  3. JATS XML: Everything a Publisher Needs to Know
  4. Top 5 Reference XML Generation For Academic Publishers