How to Create an Online Paper Submission Website with WordPress?

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Online journals are excellent global platforms for scholars to publish their work. A paper submission website has to manage thousands of articles by thousands of authors.

State-of-the-art paper submission websites need an extremely stable content management system as their foundation. As the “Article” is the central entity here, all website functions revolve around it.

Despite advancement in automation techniques, scientific publishing is still living in the medieval era. Every paper/article has to undergo rigorous screening and peer-reviews. It is hard work and takes its own time.

Today, through this article, we’ll try to streamline the process of developing a paper submission website using effective tools.

For this, we need to list the milestones involved.

Let’s begin with selecting WordPress as our CMS platform.

Why choose WordPress as CMS platform?


  • WordPress is by far the most prominent CMS platform for commercial websites. It has a powerful foundation and substantial flexibility to adapt to enormous customization.
  • Themes and plugins are the pillars WordPress rests on. You name an application and a corresponding plugin is available.
  • WordPress is capable of accommodating several extensions without affecting core functions.
  • The level of trust and popularity WordPress inspires among its users is stunning!

All these reasons make WordPress the best contender for a CMS solution.

Moving on to the functionalities.

A full-fledged journal submission website needs a few essential functionalities to run smoothly. It will be useful to note down these functionalities to mark the flow of our website design.

Paper Submission Website: Characteristic features

  • Selecting a Theme
  • Adding Core Features
  • Adding Payment Options
  • Creating a Blog
  • Promoting the Content
  • Analyzing the Website
  • Adding Contact Forms

This outline helps bring clarity to our thought process. Let us now understand the further details of building a journal/paper submission website.

#1 Selecting a theme

‘There is no second chance to make a first impression’- How true is that!

The theme of your website is instrumental in creating the first impression for your visitors. It should be suitable to the content you deliver and have a great impact on your audience.

For an online journal, preserving readability is the crucial factor. Here, visual effects of the theme should not overshadow the content. However, it shouldn’t be dull and drab either!

Given this need, let’s check the themes available for WordPress, which are dedicated to science journals.

Selecting one from the pool of infinite options can be backbreaking. So, to make it simpler, we have compiled the top 3 themes for a paper submission website. These are shortlisted after rigorous research and comparison of several themes based on their features, pricing, and reviews.

The Scientist ($44)


The Scientist incorporates everything that you need to start a basic paper submission website. It is a solicitously designed theme that has a crystal-clear, scientific appearance and versatile features. Smooth interface, customizable page/post layouts, Font Awesome icons, custom widgets and sliders contribute to the visual aspect of the website, while responsiveness and a SEO-friendly nature boost its utility.

Cube ($39)


Cube is a fully responsive WordPress theme specially designed for front-end content submission. Multiple users can register, submit their work, and create an exclusive ‘Author’ profile on Cube. With multimedia support, authors can upload images and videos as evidence of their work. It supports unlimited colors, fonts, several page layouts, and revolution sliders. Lifetime support and free future releases keep you updated.

Cube is a contemporary option that can be a treat for your paper submission website.

Science Lab ($75)


Give a sleek, scholarly touch to your website with the Science Lab theme. It is a completely editable, translation ready theme that satisfies journal/paper submission requirements. You can use filterable portfolios, revolution sliders, and widgets to enhance its techie look and grab the visitor’s attention. Customer support and theme updates are included in the pack as well.

Science Lab is a well-structured multi featured theme and can be a solid option to invest in.

Now hold on! You can explore a few more themes before you draw a conclusion. Compare the features and select the best theme for online scientific journal website that matches your requirements.

#2 Build core features

Core features of a journal/paper submission website include reference reading and paper authoring.

  • Reference Reading: Search journals/papers/articles published by co-authors for reference

On the front-end, users looking for published material for reference log in to the system. They search for articles by title, author or keywords. At the back-end, thousands of papers on numerous topics are scanned to find the result.

Free papers are readily available for downloads. However, the download link for the paid ones is enabled after completing payment procedure.

  • Paper Authoring: Prepare, Submit, Revise, Track, and Promote your paper/ article

Let’s briefly understand the flow of action once the user lands on the homepage.

A user interested in authoring a scientific article prepares the paper, adhering to the standards of the website. He/she then completes the payment procedure, in case of paid journals. Finally, he/she uploads the paper through the link provided on the website.

Once submitted, the paper is sent to the editor for further screening and subject experts for peer review. The paper is sent to the user for corrections if any, and the revised copy is screened again. On approval, the user is notified and the paper is published!

The user can share and promote the published article targeting a bigger audience to make a greater impact. The user can track the status of the paper using the reference number given at the time of submission.

The procedure seems to be lengthy but it’s pretty straightforward.

Several third-party plugins and extensions are available to incorporate the functionalities mentioned above, into your WordPress site. Let’s quickly scan the three handpicked plugins that can make your journal/paper submission website ready for users.

WP Abstracts


Accepting and managing abstracts and manuscripts is the fundamental role of this plugin. The basic version offers a simple front-end interface to submit abstracts and upload full papers. At the back-end, the administrator is responsible for further proceedings.

The professional version, on the other hand, contains a bunch of additional features. It includes reviewer-assigning options, automated email notifications, export PDF/CSV files, report generation, multilingual support, and more.

WP Abstracts is the complete package for your journal/paper submission website.

Frontend Uploader


Frontend Uploader is another exemplary plugin that allows users to submit content to your site! Highly customizable and user-friendly, the plugin features three submit models: File uploads, Custom posts, and Hybrid-Posts with an attachment. The content is sent to the subject experts for moderation and published after their approval. With the help of several shortcodes you can personalize the features as per your needs.

One of the best options loaded with useful features, don’t you think?



Through HeyPublisher you can accept submissions from writers. It allows you to create categories and set filters to receive papers relevant to your subject area. After receiving the content, you can assign reviewers, accept the article for publication or send it back for revision. All these activities are possible without creating a user account for writers. Automated acceptance/rejection alerts eliminate the need of sending a manual response to each individual.

You can regulate all action from the backend and need not worry about unauthorized content submission. HeyPublisher is a powerful tool to run your paper submission website effectively.

Plugins we just discussed are useful for accepting submissions. However, that’s not enough.

We need to address a few more essentials of a paper submission website.

  • Footnotes and equations

Footnotes are important for referencing the source of information in research papers. It is a formal way of using the intellectual property of other authors and proves the honesty and authenticity of the submission. There’s a standard way of referencing a source by adding it to the footnotes.

There are several footnote plugins for WordPress that take care of this requirement. Some of the popular Footnote plugins are WP-Footnotes, EasyFootnotes, and FD Footnotes.

Equations are an integral part of any mathematical, scientific theory. Equations are proven, precise, and trusted sources of information. Scientific writers need equations to corroborate their theories. However, writing equations is not as easy as it looks, especially if obscure formulae are to be referred.

Equation-writing plugins for WordPress can help authors write equations in their standard forms. The list of popular equation plugins includes WP QuickLaTex, Math Tex Equation Editor, and WP LaTex.

  • Memberships: Protect your content

Memberships are a useful feature for journal websites to restrict access to premium content to registered users and protect your content from unauthorized visitors. With WordPress membership plugins you can set up free, freemium, and paid memberships. In addition, you can customize the membership form to record the member’s contact details and other information for further reference.

Membership plugins like MemberPress, Paid Memberships Pro, Simple Membership, etc. are popularly used to provide members-only access to your paper submission website.

#3 Integrate Payment Gateway


If you intend to charge users for publishing or downloading papers, your website would essentially need a payment gateway. Power your website with anti-fraud, secure payment gateways for quick and convenient payments. Several popular WordPress payment gateway plugins include eWay, PayPal, stripe. These plugins are suitable to accept payments via credit/debit cards, Apple Pay, Masterpass, and more.

#4 Share and Promote

Publishing a paper is a great achievement by itself! It gives global recognition to the author and his/her work. Help the users share this accomplishment on popular, visible platforms that are frequented by the scientific community. It helps increase citations for the paper and improve the impact factor of the website. A truly win-win situation, eh?

However, note that it’s important to preserve copyrights and share responsibly.

Plugins like Custom Share Buttons, AddToAny, and Share Link allow users to create customized share buttons to share content in any form. You can use these plugins to enable registered authors to share and promote their work. They can provide free access to peers for a limited period or deliver links to their mailboxes.

#5 Create a Blog

A blog is a ‘must-have’ feature for your paper submission website. There is no denying that blogging is the most impressive and convenient way to reach your audience. It’s a powerful tool to showcase your work and share significant information.

Most of the bloggers believe in a simple equation, blogging = WordPress!  blog is simply a complimentary gift from WordPress to your website.

A blog is simply a complimentary gift from WordPress to your website.

Considering a paper submission website, you have a lot to convey. Keep your blog flowing with a variety of posts relevant to your journal categories. Write about the latest inventions, trending topics, tips for authors, and more. Along with blogging, you would also need to create several pages including ‘Guidelines for Authors/Reviewers’, ‘Journal Publication Policy’, ‘Researcher’s Platform’, and more.

Here’s a tip: The advantages of having SEO-ready blogs have been proven by statistics. A blog can significantly improve your website’s ranking in organic search and drive more traffic to your website.

#6 Connect with Users

Express your empathy by connecting with users!

Personal channels are most effective to interact with them. Even after designing a simple and systematic submission website, users may have questions to ask. They may want to know more about the publishing process, payment options, or more.

Adding a contact form to your website is a simple solution to address user queries. You can use these forms to collect user feedback and conduct surveys as well. Some of the popular contact form plugins for WordPress include Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, and WPForms.

#7 Analytics


Analytics tools can best track your website’s performance. Most of the state-of-the-art analytics tools like Google Analytics, Crazy Egg, and Jetpack run seamlessly on WordPress.

Website analysis gives in-depth insights on the number of visitors, the source of visit, the actions taken, pages viewed, and more. Comprehensive statistics help in understanding visitor behavior, interests, and preferences. You can use this data to find the areas that need improvement and optimize your paper submission website’s marketing strategies.

Final Words

That was our step-by-step guide for building a paper submission website. We have covered a generalized structure to accommodate most of the functionalities. However, you can add extra features suitable to your requirements and make it distinct!

With WordPress at hand and its stock of plugins at your fingertips, you can create an exclusive paper submission website with ease!  

Hopefully, after reading this article, you are equipped with the necessary tools to kickstart your website design! 🙂

Have any questions or recommendations? Or perhaps you want to know more about a specific functionality? Let us know through your comments below!

Radhika Gogate

Radhika Gogate

4 Responses

  1. Excellent post. This is exactly what I was looking for. I need an academic publishing website.

  2. could you please provide me any information…. how to create an peer review open journal (scientific publication) website in wordpress? OR, do you know any premade template for it?

  3. Thanks for the detail blog.I really appreciate the way in which you have approach to describe the content in an informational way.You may also visit to the My Assignment help website to talk to our expert and get help.

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