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I am an occasional LaTeX user and have used it for a number of personal projects, including trying to write a technical book. To that end, I have no problems. Late last year, I was volunteered to assist with the editing and production of an academic journal for the church organisation that I am licensed through. I have previously published formal documents using Macs and InDesign software, but no longer have those resources. I do have Linux and LaTeX and an appreciation for the high quality output it generates.

I have seen many references to using provided style sheets to submit single articles to journals, but I want to be the journal that writers submit their articles to.

Are there any open-source, free or even commercially available journal document classes available for someone to use to publish their own academic journal?

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I asked a similar question in January, and the comments and answers there may be helpful: tex.stackexchange.com/q/8730/569 –  las3rjock Mar 23 '11 at 9:22
    
I did read that question. The answers were good, but I'm still at the stage where I needed links to solutions that I could adapt and learn from rather than discussion of approaches. –  Simon Peter Chappell Mar 24 '11 at 22:05
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2 Answers 2

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Perhaps the paper A new package for conference proceedings in PracTeX Journal can help you to design the format.

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This looks very interesting. I think I will try this first. Thank you. –  Simon Peter Chappell Mar 24 '11 at 22:03
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I'd recommend to develop your own style files with a professional TeX/LaTeX developer (which, I am sure, you could find here). Three reasons:

  • Copyrights. You don't want to risk running into copyright problems by using and modifying existing styles. I understand that you asked for free styles but experience tells me that you end up modifying them and it's often not clear whether that is covered. All these problems don't come up right at the beginning but only when there is some success and others feel they contributed without receiving enough credit.

  • Marketing. You want to stand out to attract authors. A completely generic layout gives the (false) impression to authors that they could very well just put their paper on their own website.

  • Customization. You probably have your own ideas about meta data that you want to record and special requirements coming from your field of study for which you need special commands or environments anyway.

Having been in a similar situation I can report that developing our own style files paid huge dividends. Our documents look better, LaTeX code is much more robust, and we receive praise from authors. For anyone curious, you can find our Open Access publications in computer science here: Leibniz International Proceedings in Computer Science (LIPIcs).

Addendum: to be fair, it took us a while before we reached this point where we developed our own style, obtained DOIs, obtained ISBNs, organized long-term archival, set up an editorial board, and so on. It was done by a colleague who had worked for a scientific publisher and had clear ideas about this. I think it's perfectly fine to start small but if you are serious, you will have to think about these aspects at some point.

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i agree strongly with this answer, but would like to add the suggestion that you make your input conventions conform as closely as reasonable to those of the basic article style. this will enable authors to prepare a manuscript with relatively little concern for where it might be published, since they can test it in a "generic" manner until they're ready to make a decision about submission. as for models, you are welcome to use the ams document classes (e.g. amsart; code and documentation in amsclass.dtx); as long as you don't use the same name, there are no strings -- it's lppl. –  barbara beeton Mar 23 '11 at 14:33
    
All good points. I would love to move towards a distinctive style for the publication, but even the most plain vanilla publication will be viewed as amazing to start with. And keeping everything close to the standard article conventions would be helpful, but I suspect that I'll get a lot of Microsoft Word documents to start with and I'll have all the fun of turning them into LaTeX documents. –  Simon Peter Chappell Mar 24 '11 at 22:01
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