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V.O.L. Journals Guide

Starting a V.O.L. Journal

The University Libraries is happy to host scholarly journals whether they are a brand new journal or already publishing. A journal with past issues can still become a V.O.L. Journal and maintain its branding. The only two requirements are that the journal is connected to someone on UT's campus when the journal becomes hosted by V.O.L. Journals and that it remains open access (free without subscription). Below is a preview of the full process to establish and maintain a journal of repute. 


First Steps

  1. Prospective journal partners can express intent by filling out the Journal Proposal Form. Please note that we work exclusively with open access publication models. A V.O.L. Journals representative will schedule a consultation to learn more about your journal.
  2. After the first consultation, fill out the Journal Set-up Form and email it to This will start the process of establishing the journal with bepress/Digital Commons, with UT Libraries as the host.
  3. Your organization will then seek an ISSN. You should complete that process on your own, although the V.O.L. Journals can help answer questions you have during the process. Information and application form for an ISSN are on the Library of Congress website.
  4. Be thinking about what URL you want for your journal. Consider the URLs we have already, such as Many of our journals have opted for an abbreviation of their journal titles at the end of the URL (i.e. Keep in mind that your organization will be the publisher of the journal. The Libraries host the e-journal but don’t make publication or editorial decisions.


Early Collaboration

Once you have completed the independent steps, these will be the next aspects of your journal that we will help you implement. 

  • Journal Homepage and Layout

We will work together with bepress to get your journal pages designed. There are a few standard layouts that don’t incur a fee, and those are usually what we recommend. The back-and-forth with design takes several weeks. Once the design process is complete, your site will be available to you for editing.

Exploring other TRACE-hosted journals may give you some ideas of features you would like your page to have. For example, the homepage for the International Journal of Nuclear Security features their Twitter feed as a way of attracting followers who have found their journal valuable.

Our graphic design support in the library can help with design for the banner across the top of the page. That banner remains consistent across each page on your journal’s site and is an important part of what will be visually associated with your journal. If your organization has a logo already, our graphic designer may be able to incorporate it into the banner for the top of the journal page.

If you want a single, standard cover image that matches that banner, we can create that, too. We are unable to offer further graphic design support, however, such as separate covers for each issue. Some journals have their own graphic designer, while many journals opt for no journal cover and have a banner alone.

Importantly, we do not offer copyediting or layout services.


  • Journal Policies

Your journal will have a page explaining your policies, including submission requirements, copyright information, a publication ethics statement, and any other policies that should be transparent to submitting authors (such as formatting requirements). Requirements and resources for writing these policies can be found on the "Expectations for Journal Editors" page.


Later Steps

  • DOIs

Having Digital Object Identifiers for your journal and each of the articles you publish is a goal that you can begin working towards with your very first issue or at any point later (the sooner the better). To learn all about the importance of DOIs, visit the "DOI Requirements" page.

  • Indexing

Getting your journal indexed by a major indexer takes time. You will have to spend at least the first couple of years really working on the journal and marketing it to get it noticed. Aim to publish at least 5 articles per year and maintain a regular publication schedule for 2 years. After that time, with enough issues and history for an indexer to review the journal, you may be able to get added to a major indexing/search service.
In the meantime, articles will be open and accessible, but people need to know your journal exists. We recommend you promote your journal on social media and have a plan for sustaining that presence. We also highly recommend applying to be included in the Directory of Open Access Journals. If your application is reviewed and accepted, you will get more visibility and develop a stronger reputation as a journal following industry standards. Visit the "Getting Indexed" page for more detailed information about the DOAJ.



Here to Help

We are here to consult with V.O.L. Journal editors at every step of the process. If you have questions about any of the info on this page, contact us at