CMS Article

Goal: For this assignment, we will write a scholarly review article that offers summaries of the main editorial and submission content-management systems for use and consideration by independent, small, or non-profit editors and publishers. We will conclude the article by providing a set of questions editors and publishers can use to evaluate whether these or other CMSes are useful for their individual publishing needs.

Learning Outcomes:

  • to learn how to conduct an environmental scan of technological systems for use in editorial practices.
  • to learn how to translate such a scan from a technological and features analysis into a critical literature review of these systems, for academic purposes
  • to practice writing academic, researched texts
  • to potentially publish a collaboratively researched and co-authored article relevant publishing studies
  • to create a heuristic that other editors and publishers might use when choosing a CMS for their future publishing needs


Part One: Literature Review

Due date for Part One: Tuesday, March 10, the beginning of class

1. Return to the Literature Review assignment you completed a few weeks ago. Find any articles from your set of journal issues that might help us understand any background or existing context regarding editorial content-management systems.

a. If your journal has one or two articles, read them again and write up a one-paragraph summary of their take-away points regarding CMSes. That summary, along with a full citation of the article, should be posted to Annotated Bib for CMS article (Google doc).

b. If your journal has NO articles on CMSes, then search through the library databases and/or Google Scholar to find any additional articles (peer-reviewed or not) that discuss editorial/submission-workflow CMSes, and write up 1-2 of those.

2. Based on your annotations, add 1-2 (or more) key issues that your review of the literature suggests are important for considering the adoption of or evaluating the use of a CMS for editorial and publishing workflows. These key issues should be listed as questions or statements in the Key Issues document linked above.

Part Two: Evaluation of Editorial CMSes

Due Date: Tuesday, March 17, beginning of class

1. Choose an editorial CMS software program to review from the Google Doc.

2. Research and evaluate your CMS by answering the questions provided. Provide these answers as a spreadsheet in the CMS-article/CMS evaluation/spreadsheets folder. The answers should be entered as results. While you may include thoughts on these features in a Notes section of the spreadsheet, do not include those opinions in the data fields themselves. Discussion on those results should be saved for your second review, as noted below. Name your spreadsheet file ONLY with the name of the software you reviewed.

3. Write up TWO VERSIONS of your CMS review in prose form:

a. The FIRST version should be a complete technical summary of your spreadsheet evaluation, written for someone who has never used the CMS before, and explaining all the main points. While you might copy-and-paste some significant portions of your spreadsheet data, you will also need to re-organize and revise that information so that it makes sense to readers. You will probably (but not necessarily) work hierarchically, from big picture issues that you provide in some detail to more brief (and even fleeting) compilations of the smaller issues that would be relevant to an editor considering adopting a CMS. This review should NOT contain discussion on the features of the CMS, but should simply relay the technical information.

This version is likely to be up to two pages single-spaced. Please keep it under three pages. You may have an additional page or two if screenshots are necessary to convey your content. If you do have screenshots, make sure they have captions that are referenced in text. Place this version in the Google Docs folder: CMS article>CMS-evaluation>technical-review.

b. The SECOND version will be used in the environmental scan (i.e., the software portion of the literature review) of our article. It should be no more than one single-spaced page (and some of the less important CMSes will be even shorter). This version should also be written as academic/researched prose to an audience of scholarly editors, publishers, and librarians (e.g., the people who read the journals you pulled the articles from). It should demarcate early on whether the software is open-source, free, or proprietary, as well as whether it has editorial (submissions, editing, and publishing workflows) or is another kind of “publishing” CMS. This review should also highlight the most salient features for quick finding and evaluation by readers. The purpose of this review, as opposed to the first one, is to compare similar kinds of CMSes to figure out what features the ones most used share, and whether those features are useful and well-designed. Thus, —> YOU SHOULD INCLUDE YOUR RESEARCHED EVALUATIONS/THOUGHTS ON THE CMS in this version of the review. Place this version in the Google Docs folder: CMS article>CMS-evaluation>environmental-scan.


Part Three: Forming the research question & research design

Due Date: Tuesday, March 31, beginning of class

You should draft this article collaboratively in a Google Doc inside your article group’s folder. See below for further instructions.

1. Read the article, “Writing Integrative Literature Reviews” in Dropbox>602>readings.

2. Form small groups: 2-3 people; 4 groups total, your decision on whom to partner with.

3. Forming a Research Question: Revisit the Key Issues document in relation to the Questionnaire to Evaluate CMSes (which was used as the basis for your environmental scans last week). In addition, if you haven’t already read the two articles cited at the top of that document, NOW is the time to do that. Reviewing these documents will give you a sense of the *top issues* (so, in essence, a revision/update to the Key Issues doc) that you think journal editors would be interested in knowing about and/or learning about and/or are looking for when deciding whether to choose a CMS for their journal. Also, review the Editors’ survey answers regarding CMS usage to focus again on what they wish for/don’t wish for in considering adopting CMSes. From this review and your reading of the Integrative Lit Review article in #1, form a research question about CMS adoption that you can potentially answer given the available research you’ve completed thus far in class.

4. Describing your research design methods: Based on #3, make a revised list of Key Issues specific to your research question and place that list into your Group’s folder in the Article-Drafts folder on Google Drive. Name it: RQ-and-issues-REV. Run this by me before you start drafting in earnest.

Part Four: Drafting the literature review

Due Date: Tuesday, April 7, beginning of class

5. Draft your literature review: Pull out annotations from the Revised Annotated Bibliography for additional articles that speak to those key issues and help you answer your RQ. Revise these individual annotations into an article-like (e.g., scholarly prose-based) literature review [using the article in #1 as an example] that works readers through from the bigger picture issues of CMS adoption to the fine-grained issue of your research question.

Part Five: Drafting the environmental scan & conclusion

Due Date: Tuesday, April 21, beginning of class

6. Draft your environmental scan: Choose up to 5 CMSes (and possibly no more than 3) from the environmental scans y’all wrote that directly relate to the research question and key issues you’re addressing. You should end the literature review (in #5) by segueing into an environmental scan that addresses these most relevant CMSes. That is, the CMSes you choose to discuss here should provide evidence to help you answer your RQ, which is supported through background research in your literature review. Decide, as well, how you will present the data from these analyses. Do you want prose-based discussions? Comparative tables? Something else?? Remember that your restrictions are based on the possible publication venues (which is one of the journals you’ve already researched earlier in the term), and all of them are print-like in nature.

7. Draw a preliminary conclusion: While you may not have a full-on answer to your RQ yet, you should be able to look at the connections you’ve made between your lit review and your enviro scan, in relation to the Key Issues and the Questionnaire you worked with in #3, and discuss the results of your research into these CMSes so far, and what the implications of that research is for other editors and publishers. What are the summative pros/cons of these CMSes? What can you say about the differences between free vs. paid options? The longevity of systems? The flexibility they have? What are still some of the stumbling blocks/hurdles that editors face when choosing CMSes? [We don’t want to foreshadow Vega too much, btw. Don’t yet mention it.]

Part Six: Drafting the discussion section

Due date: FRIDAY, APRIL 24, midnight. (So that your partners can read through and comment on your drafts in time for class on Tuesday.)

8. Draft your Discussion Section: Your research question should connect to which literature you’ve chosen to discuss, which is exemplified by the case studies in the environmental scan. The Discussion section is where you get to connect the possible Conclusions you’ve hypothesized with what’s present or missing from the previous sections (lit review and enviro scan). This section may be something like how you ended up making the suggestions or recommendations you did towards best practices in CMS choice, or how editors can know which CMSes will best suit their needs, etc. iow, it’s where you pull all the parts of the article together for the take-away. THIS IS THE SECTION EVERYONE READS in an article, so it should provide a full picture of the significance of your research question in relation to how editors can/should use/adapt/research CMSes. (Its content will depend on what your RQ is, so I can’t go into too much detail about what to expect here, but we will talk about it in class…)

9. Read-through: By the time you finish the above, your article should be close to being finished. Read through the whole thing and tweak any places where the argument isn’t yet clear.



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