Over the past few months I have studied customizing themes for our instance of PKP Open Journal Systems, supporting open access journals hosted by the University of Cincinnati Press and Library Publishing Services.

Working with a freelance designer, we prototyped a new landing page that included a two-column layout, one column for Journals and one for Proceedings. Digging into the discourse on the support forums for PKP, I found discussions about theme-plugins and journal category functionality, with a good comment about a quick and dirty solution for achieving a two-column layout.

Earlier versions of OJS included a journal category function which has since been deprecated. To achieve the split layout, I followed the documentation on Adding a Theme Option with a text field in which users can input and save journal ids for journals that should be included in the second column.


Create an array assigned to $proceedings variable which will contain integer IDs for titles that should show in the second proceedings column.


$this->addOption('proceedingsArray', 'FieldText', [
  'label' => __('plugins.themes.defaultJournalsUc.option.proceedingsArray.label'),
	'description' => __('plugins.themes.defaultJournalsUc.option.proceedingsArray.description'),
	'default' => ''

We create two loops to populate the columns.


// get $journals object and assign to array for repeated iteration
{assign var=journalsArray value=$journals->toArray()}


// loop through system generated `$journals` array and compare with $proceedings array from input field

//column 1
{foreach from=$journalsArray item=journal}
	{assign var="id" value=$journal->getId()}
  {if ! $id|in_array:$proceedings}
    // ... show journal entry

//column 2
{foreach from=$journalsArray item=journal}
	{assign var="id" value=$journal->getId()}
  {if $id|in_array:$proceedings}
    // ... show proceedings entry

I had some difficulty finding easy access to IDs for journals. Each journal in our instance has a URL that corresponds to the journal initials that are set in configuration. These initials route to a numeric ID for use in the system, e.g. 1,2.3. I was able to expose the journal ID by accessing the setup wizard for each journal, the ID will be exposed in the URL: localhost:3000/index.php/index/admin/wizard/12.

You can see the new theme https://journals.uc.edu.
Source code for the theme is on Github.