Old:Workflow State in Database

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This page describes how the progress of a submitted item is reflected in the Postgres database tables.  This occurs in two phases: an item is in the workspace while a submitter is editing the item, and in the workflow while a curator is reviewing the submission. It may be useful to refer to the DSpace database schema (links to page for Dspace 1.7).

Workspace Processing

State of item in workspace


Progress of a user submission consists of a series of steps in the workspace.

  • DescribePublicationStep
  • SelectPublicationStep
  • CompletedPublicationStep
  • CompletedDataStep

The item first appears when the submitter completes the publication metadata page.

At this point, the item is represented in the tables item and workspaceitem. The item row specifies the item_id, submitter_id, and false for in_archive and withdrawn. The owning collection is null. The workspaceitem row specifies the workspace_item_id, item_id, and the collection_id (which seems to be a default). The stage_reached is set to 1, as is the page_reached value. The multiple_titles, published_before, and multiple_files fields are null.

After the file specification page is completed (and the submission overview page is displayed), the stage_reached field in the workspaceitem row is set to 3, and page_reached remains 1.

When the submitter submits the item, the row in workspace item is removed and a row in workflowitem is added.

Workflow Processing

State of an item in the workflow

When an item is submitted for curation, a row in the workflowitem table is created.  The workflowitem row specifies the workspace_item_id, item_id, collection_id, and boolean values for mulitple titles, published before, and multiple files.  After corresponding values are copied from the workspaceitem row, that row is deleted.  Workflowitem rows are created for packages and for each file item that is partof the package.  In addition, a row in the taskowner table is created for the package (but not individual data files).  The taskowner table, which is not part of the standard Dspace schema (and therefore does not appear in the schema diagram linked above), contains the following columns: 

  • taskowner_id - row identifier
  • workflow_item_id - id of the workflow_item
  • step_id - string specifying the step (see below)
  • action_id - string specifying the action for the step (needs discussion)
  • workflow_id - string specifying the workflow (seems to be 'default' by default)
  • owner_id - id of the eperson owning the task (e.g., the curator who claimed it)

Provenance metadata related to the submission will be added as well.


The workflow consists of a series of steps.  These are defined in {dspace-dir}/config/workflow.xml.  As of Dryad 1.11, these are:

  • requiresReviewStep
  • reviewStep
  • dryadAcceptEditReject
  • pendingPublicationStep
  • pendingdelete

These are the database changes associated with each step:


Curator decides whether the submission requires review.  It reads and then deletes any metadata tagged with "workflow.submit.skipReviewStage".


Activate action Adds a reviewer key to the metadata (workflow.step.reviewerkey, data = <uuid>).  Reads metadata from workflow.review.mailUsers to find reviewers, apart from curators, to review the submission.

Execute action checks for a workflow.step.approved metadata entry to pass the workflow item onto the next step. 


The curator can accept or reject the submission at this step.  If the entry is approved, a dc.description.provenance metadata record, with data "Approved for entry into archive by <curator> on <time>" is added to the item's metadata (metadatavalue table).  If the item is rejected, a dc.description.provenance record, with data "Rejected by <curator>, reason: <reason> " on " <date/time>" is added to the item.  Then the item is returned to the workspace (meaning a new row in workspaceitem is created and filled from the workflowitem row, which is then deleted).


Handles publication blackouts by putting the workflowitem review_required step if the journal uses blackouts. (this needs verification).


This handles the case where the item was rejected by reviewers.  It adds a dc.description.provenance metadata record with data "<startid> rejected by <curator or null> reason: rejected by reviewers on <date/time>".  It then pushes the item back into the submitter's workspace.

General Discussion

The new workflowitem row has workflow_id and item_id specified, as is the collection_id.  The fields multiple_titles, published_before, and multiple_files are set.  The state and owner fields are null.  The item row appears to be unaltered at this point.  

When the item is approved, the workflowitem row is deleted, and the item row is updated: in_archive is set true and the item's owning collection is set (it was previously null).  

What an accepted item should look like