Pensoft at the 7th European Congress of Conservation Biology as a publisher and Horizon project partner

At the Pensoft’s stand, delegates learned about the scientific publisher’s versatile open-access journal portfolio, as well as related publishing services and the Horizon project where Pensoft is a partner.

Between 17th and 22nd June 2024, Pensoft’s scholarly publishing and project teams joined the European Congress of Conservation Biology (ECCB), organised by the Society for Conservation Biology and hosted by the University of Bologna.

Here’s a fun fact: the University of Bologna is the oldest one still in operation in the world. It is also etched in history for being the first institution to award degrees of higher learning.  

This year, the annual event themed “Biodiversity positive by 2030” took place in the stunning Italian city of Bologna famous for its historical and cultural heritage, in a way building a bridge between the past of European civilisation and the future, which is now in our hands.

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At the Pensoft’s stand, delegates learned about the scientific publisher’s versatile open-access journal portfolio of over 30 journals covering the fields of ecology and biodiversity, as well as other related services and products offered by Pensoft, including the end-to-end full-featured scholarly publishing platform ARPHA, which hosts and powers all Pensoft journals, in addition to dozens other academic outlets owned by learned societies, natural history museums and other academic institutions.

In addition to its convenient collaborative online environment, user interface and automated export/import workflows, what ARPHA’s clients enjoy perhaps the most, are the various human-provided services that come with the platform, including graphic and web design, assistance in journal indexing, typesetting, copyediting and science communication.

Visitors at the stand could also be heard chatting with Pensoft’s Head of Journal development, Marketing and PR: Iva Boyadzhieva about the publisher’s innovative solutions for permanent preservation and far-reaching dissemination and communication of academic outputs that do not match the traditional research article format.

For example, the Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) journal was launched in 2015 by Pensoft as an open-science journal that would publish ‘unconventional’ research outputs, such as Grant proposals, Policy briefs, Project reports, Data management plans, Research ideas etc. Its project-branded open-science collections are in fact one of the Pensoft’s products that enjoys particular attention to participants in scientific projects funded by the likes of the European Commission’s Horizon programme.

Another innovation by Pensoft that easily becomes a talking point at forums like ECCB, is the ARPHA Conference Abstract (ACA) platform, which is basically a journal for conference abstracts, where abstracts are treated and published much like regular journal articles (a.k.a. ‘mini papers’) to enable permanent preservation, but also accessibility, discoverability and citability. Furthermore, ACA has been designed to act as an abstracts submission portal, where the abstracts undergo review and receive feedback before being published and indexed at dozens of relevant scientific databases.

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At ECCB 2024, our team was also happy to meet in person many authors and editors, whose work has frequented the pages of journals like Nature Conservation, Biodiversity Data Journal, ZooKeys and NeoBiota, to name a few.

On Wednesday, delegates also got a chance to hear the talk by renowned vegetation ecologist at the ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences and Editor-in-Chief at the Vegetation Classification and Survey journal: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Dengler. He presented findings and conclusions concerning neophytes in Switzerland, while drawing comparisons with other European countries and regions.

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At this year’s ECCB, Pensoft took a stand as an active Horizon project participant too. At the publisher’s booth, the delegates could explore various project outputs produced within REST-COAST, SpongeBoost and BioAgora. Each of these initiatives has been selected by the European Commission to work on the mitigation of biodiversity decline, while aiming for sustainable ecosystems throughout the Old continent.

In all three projects, Pensoft is a consortium member, who contributes with expertise in science communication, dissemination, stakeholder engagement and technological development.

Coordinated by the Catalonia University of Technology UPC-BarcelonaTech and involving over 30 European institutions, REST-COAST has been working on developing tools to address key challenges to coastal ecosystems – all consequences of a long history of environmental degradation of our rivers and coasts.

Having started earlier this year, SpongeBoost is to build upon existing solutions and their large-scale implementation by implementing innovative approaches to improve the functional capacity of sponge landscapes. The project is coordinated by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and will be developed with the active participation of 10 partnering institutions from seven countries across Europe. 

In the meantime, since 2022, the five-year BioAgora project has been working towards setting up the Science Service for Biodiversity platform, which will turn into an efficient forum for dialogue between scientists, policy actors and other knowledge holders. BioAgora is a joint initiative, which brings together 22 partners from 13 European countries led by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).

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Still, REST-COAST, SpongeBoost and BioAgora were not the only Horizon projects involving Pensoft that made an appearance at ECCB this year thanks to the Pensoft team. 

On behalf of OBSGESSION – another Horizon-funded project, Nikola Ganchev, Communications officer at Pensoft, presented a poster about the recently started project. Until the end of 2027, the OBSGESSION project, also led by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and involving a total of 12 partnering organisations, will be tasked with the integration of different biodiversity data sources, including Earth Observation, in-situ research, and ecological models. Eventually, these will all be made into a comprehensive product for biodiversity management in both terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. 

On Tuesday evening, the CO-OP4CBD (abbreviation for Co-operation for the Convention on Biological Diversity) team: another Horizon Europe project, where Pensoft contributes with expertise in science communication and dissemination, held a workshop dedicated to what needs to be done to promote CBD activities in Central and Eastern Europe.

On the next day, scientists from the EuropaBON consortium: another project involving Pensoft that had concluded only about a month ago, held a session to report on the final conclusions from the project concerning the state and progress in biodiversity monitoring.

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You can find the detailed scientific programme of this year’s ECCB on the congress’ website. 

Use the #ECCB2024 hashtag on X (formerly Twitter) to relive highlights from the ECCB congress. 

Man’s best friend threatens endangered species’ survival

Dog attacks on mountain tapirs in Colombia highlight a growing threat to vulnerable wildlife.

Researchers who captured footage of dog attacks on endangered mountain tapirs in Colombia are calling for action to protect threatened wildlife.

Using camera traps, a team from WILD Campo Silvestre, the Tiger Cats Conservation Initiative, and the Fundación Caipora captured images of two attacks in the Campoalegre Soil Conservation District, Santa Rosa de Cabal in a period of two months.

Three black and white camera trap images of dogd chasing a mountain tapir in a forest.
Photographic evidence of domestic dogs chasing mountain tapirs in a private protected area of the Central Andes of Colombia. Credit: Cepeda-Duque et al.

The cameras caught domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) chasing and attacking mountain tapirs (Tapirus pinchaque) in a protected area of the Central Andes. These images were subsequently published in a research paper published by the open-access journal, Neotropical Biology and Conservation.

The study offers insights into the impact of domestic dogs on wildlife, particularly on species of conservation concern such as the mountain tapir. The authors highlight the urgent need for population management and control of domestic dogs inside and around protected areas.

A map representing the area surveyed by the camera traps that detected the two events of dogs chasing and attacking mountain tapirs in the private natural Reserve “WILD Campo Alegre” situated at the north-eastern extreme of the Campoalegre Soil Conservation District, Santa Rosa de Cabal, Colombia.
Area surveyed by camera traps that detected the two events of dogs mountain tapirs in the private natural reserve. Credit: Cepeda-Duque et al.

Conservationists recently implemented measures such as neutering and vaccination programs for stray and owned dogs in the vicinity of natural reserves to protect the threatened clouded tiger cat (Leopardus pardinoides) in the region. The research team call for these measures to be extended to WILD Campo Alegre and surrounding lands.

An arial view of Campoalegre Soil Conservation District, Santa Rosa de Cabal, showing forests on rolling hills.
Campoalegre Soil Conservation District, Santa Rosa de Cabal. Credit: Camilo Botero.

“Domestic dog incursion into protected areas is a global threat to wildlife that is difficult to mitigate because of the inherent social dilemma of controlling dog populations,” says Juan Camilo Cepeda-Duque, lead author of the study.

“Dogs can contribute to the extinction of vertebrate species, can imbalance the trophic dynamics amongst predator guilds and even have the potential to collapse entire ecological communities,” he continues.

An endangered mountain tapir photographed in a dark forest.
Mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque). Credit: Camilo Botero.

The mountain tapir is an emblematic herbivore of the Andean cloud forest, globally classified as ‘Endangered’ according to the IUCN Red List due to habitat loss and poaching. The presence and aggressive behaviour of domestic dogs not only threaten the physical wellbeing of these tapirs but also their reproductive performance, foraging efficiency, and overall population health due to increased stress, potential for disease transmission, and alterations in habitat use.

The research team highlight that their observations are not isolated cases, as locals previously reported the same dogs chasing and attacking mountain tapirs and cattle. The conservationists are also concerned that they detected no juvenile mountain tapirs in the survey.

Study authors Juan Camilo Cepeda Duque (left) and Eduven Arango Correa (right) relaxing in a forest.
Study authors Juan Camilo Cepeda Duque (left) and Eduven Arango Correa (right) on site. Credit: Camilo Botero.

The NGO WILD Nature Foundation has established a new protected area in the northern extreme of the Campoalegre Soil Conservation District, with the target of protecting the habitat of endangered mountain tapirs and the last remnant populations of the fuerte’s parrot (Hapalopsittaca fuertesi) in the region. Currently, the reserve is carrying out an unprecedented restoration program, planting thousands of trees to recover the land once cleared for the establishment of cattle ranching.

Original source

Cepeda-Duque JC, Arango-Correa E, Frimodt-Møller C, Lizcano DJ (2024) Howling shadows: First report of domestic dog attacks on globally threatened mountain tapirs in high Andean cloud forests of Colombia. Neotropical Biology and Conservation 19: 25-33. https://doi.org/10.3897/neotropical.19.e117437

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BiCIKL project sums up outcomes and future prospects at a Final GA in Cambridge

On multiple occasions, the participants agreed that the Biodiversity Knowledge Hub must be the flagship outcome of BiCIKL. 

The city of Cambridge and the Wellcome Campus hosted the Final General Assembly of the EU-funded project BiCIKL (acronym for Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library): a 36-month endeavour that saw 14 member institutions and 15 research infrastructures representing diverse actors from the biodiversity data realm come together to improve bi-directional links between different platforms, standards, formats and scientific fields. Consortium members who could not attend the meeting in Cambridge joined the meeting remotely.

The 3-day meeting was organised by local hosts European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and ELIXIR in collaboration with Pensoft Publishers.

After a welcome cocktail reception on Monday evening at Hilton Cambridge City Centre, on Tuesday, the consortium made an early start with a recap of BiCIKL’s key milestones and outputs from the last three years. All Work Package leaders had their own timeslot to discuss the results of their collaborations.  

They all agreed that the Biodiversity Knowledge Hub – the one-stop portal for understanding the complex – yet increasingly interconnected landscape of biodiversity research infrastructures – is likely the flagship outcome of BiCIKL. 

Prof. Lyubomir Penev, project coordinator of BiCIKL and founder/CEO of Pensoft Publishers at the BiCIKL’s third and final General Assembly in Cambridge, United Kingdom.

In the afternoon, the participants focused on the services developed under BiCIKL. Amongst the many services resulting from the project some were not originally planned. Rather those were the ‘natural’ products of the dialogue and collaboration that flourished within the consortium throughout the project. “A symptom of passion,” said Prof. Lyubomir Penev, project coordinator of BiCIKL and founder/CEO of Pensoft Publishers.

An excellent example of one such service is what the partners call the “Biodiversity PMC”, which brings together biodiversity literature from thousands of scholarly journals and over 500,000 taxonomic treatments, in addition to the biomedical content available from NIH’s PubMed Central, into the SIB Literature Services (SIBiLS) database. What’s more, users at SIBiLS – be it human or AI – can now use advanced text- and data-mining tools, including AI-powered factoid question-answering capacities, to query all this full-text indexed content and seek out, for example, species traits and biotic interactions. Read more about the “Biodiversity PMC” in its recent official announcement.

Far from being the only one, the “Biodiversity PMC” is in good company: from the blockchain-based technology of LifeBlock to the curation of the DNA sequences by PlutoF, the BiCIKL project consortium takes pride in having developed twelve services dedicated to FAIR and linked ready-to-use biodiversity data. 

All those services are already listed in the FAIR Data Place within the Biodiversity Knowledge Hub, where each is presented with its own video. For many services, from the same page, visitors can also download factsheets meant to serve as user guidelines. All will also be featured in the EOSC catalogue.

All services developed under BiCIKL with links to their explanatory videos:

On Wednesday, the consortium focused on BiCIKL’s activities from the Transnational and Virtual Access Pillar, which included both presentations by each open call leader and VA leader, as well as open discussions and a recap of what the teams have learnt from these experiences. 

A panel discussion took place on Thursday as part of an open event, where BiCIKL partners and ELIXIR Biodiversity and Plant Communities came together to discuss the Future of Biodiversity and Genomics data integration at the EMBL Wellcome Genome Campus.

Thursday was dedicated to an open event where BiCIKL partners and ELIXIR Biodiversity and Plant Communities came together to discuss the Future of Biodiversity and Genomics data integration at the EMBL Wellcome Genome Campus. You can find the agenda on BiCIKL’s website.

After 36 months of action, the BiCIKL project will officially end in April 2024, but does it mean that all will be done and dusted come May 2024? Certainly not, point out the partners. 

To ensure that the Biodiversity Knowledge Hub will not only continue to exist but will not cease to grow in both use and participation, the one-stop portal will remain under the maintenance of LifeWatch ERIC. 

In conclusion, we could say that an appropriate payoff for the project is “Stick together!” as put by BiCIKL’s Joint Research Activity Leader Dr. Quentin Groom.

Final words at the third and last General Assembly of the BiCIKL project.

You can find highlights from the BiCIKL General Assembly meeting on X via the #BiCIKL_H2020 hashtag (in association with #Cambridge and #finalGA)

All research outputs, including the approved grant proposal, policy briefs, guidelines papers and research articles associated with the project, remain openly accessible from the BiCIKL project outcomes collection in RIO Journal: https://doi.org/10.3897/rio.coll.105.

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All BiCIKL project partners:

Conferences across the continents: Pensoft’s events in Autumn 2023

Pensoft participated in several events all around the world in October and November 2023.

October and November 2023 were active months for the Pensoft team, who represented the publisher’s journals and projects at conferences in Europe, North America, South America, Oceania and Asia.

Let’s take a look back at all the events of the past two months.

The Biodiversity Information Standards Conference 2023

The Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) Conference, held from October 9-13 in Tasmania, Australia, brought together experts and stakeholders from the global biodiversity research community.

The annual gathering is a crucial platform for sharing insights, innovations, and knowledge related to biodiversity data standards and practices. Key figures from Pensoft took part in the event, presenting new ways to improve the management, accessibility, and usability of biodiversity data. 

Prof. Lyubomir Penev, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pensoft, gave two talks that highlighted the importance of data publishing. His presentation on “The Biodiversity Knowledge Hub (BKH): A Crosspoint and Knowledge Broker for FAIR and Linked Biodiversity Data” underscored the significance of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) data standards. BKH is the major output from the Horizon 2020 project BiCIKL (Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library) dedicated to linked and FAIR data in biodiversity, and coordinated by Pensoft.

Prof. Lyubomir Penev, Pensoft founder and CEO.

He also introduced the Nanopublications for Biodiversity workflow and format: a promising new tool developed by Knowledge Pixels and Pensoft to communicate key scientific statements in a way that is human-readable, machine-actionable, and in line with FAIR principles. Earlier this year, Biodiversity Data Journal integrated nanopublications into its workflow to allow authors to share their findings even more efficiently.

Chief Technology Officer of Pensoft Teodor Georgiev contributed to the conference by presenting “OpenBiodiv for Users: Applications and Approaches to Explore a Biodiversity Knowledge Graph.” His session highlighted the innovative approaches being taken to explore and leverage a biodiversity knowledge graph, showcasing the importance of technology in advancing biodiversity research.

Teodor Georgiev (right), Pensoft CTO.

Many authors and editors at Biodiversity Data Journal also spoke at the TDWG conference, including Vince Smith, the journal’s editor-in-chief, who is Head of Digital, Data, and Informatics at the Natural History Museum. He delivered insightful presentations on digitising natural science collections and utilising AI for insect collections.

GEO BON Global Conference 2023

GEO BON’s Global Conference on Biodiversity and Monitoring took place from 10-13 October 2023 in Montreal, Canada.

Metabarcoding and Metagenomics editor-in-chief, Florian Leese.

The theme of the conference was “Monitoring Biodiversity for Action” and there was particular emphasis on the development of best practices and new technologies for biodiversity observations and monitoring to support transformative policy and conservation action.

Metabarcoding & Metagenomics’ editor-in-chief, Florian Leese, was one of the organisers of the “Standardized eDNA-Based Biodiversity Monitoring to Inform Environmental Stewardship Programs” session. Furthermore, the journal was represented at Pensoft’s exhibition booth, where conference participants were able to discuss metabarcoding and metagenomics research.

Following the conference, Metabarcoding & Metagenomics announced a new special issue titled “Towards Standardized Molecular Biodiversity Monitoring.” The special issue is accepting submissions until 15th March 2024.

Asian Mycological Congress 2023

The Asian Mycological Congress welcomed researchers from around the world to Busan, Republic of Korea, for an exploration of all things fungi from 10-13 October. 

MycoKeys Best Talk award (winner not pictured).

Titled “Fungal World and Its Bioexploitation – in all areas of basic and applied mycology,” the conference covered a range of topics related to all theoretical and practical aspects of mycology. There was a particular emphasis on the development of mycology through various activities associated with mycological education, training, research, and service in countries and regions within Asia.

As one of the sponsors of the congress, Pensoft proudly presented a Best Talk award to Dr Sinang Hongsanan of Chiang Mai University, Thailand. The award entitles the winner to a free publication in Pensoft’s flagship mycology journal, MycoKeys.

Joint ESENIAS and DIAS Scientific Conference 2023

The ESENIAS and DIAS conference took place from 11-14 October and focused on “globalisation and invasive alien species in the Black Sea and Mediterranean regions.” Pensoft shared information on their NeoBiota journal and the important REST-COAST and B-Cubed projects.

Polina Nikova receiving the NeoBiota Best Talk Award.

Polina Nikova of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences received the NeoBiota Best Talk Award for her presentation titled “First documented records in the wild of American mink (Neogale vision von Schreber, 1776) in Bulgaria.” The award entitles her to a free publication in the NeoBiota journal.

XII European Congress of Entomology

Pensoft took part in the XII European Congress of Entomology (ECE 2023) in Heraklion, Crete, from 16-20 October. The event provided a forum for entomologists from all over the world, bringing together over 900 scientists from 60 countries.

Carla Stoyanova, Teodor Metodiev and Boriana Ovcharova representing Pensoft.

The ECE 2023, organised by the Hellenic Entomological Society, addressed the pressing challenges facing entomology, including climate change, vector-borne diseases, biodiversity loss, and the need to sustainably feed a growing world population. The program featured symposia, lectures, poster sessions, and other types of activities aimed at fostering innovation in entomology. For Pensoft, they were a great opportunity to interact with scientists and share their commitment to advancing entomological research and addressing the critical challenges in the field.

Throughout the event, conference participants could find Pensoft’s team at thir booth, and learn more about the scholarly publisher’s open-access journals in entomology. In addition, the Pensoft team presented the latest outcomes from the Horizon 2020 projects B-GOOD, Safeguard, and PoshBee, where the publisher takes care of science communication and dissemination as a partner.

XIV International Congress of Orthopterology 2023

The XIV International Congress of Orthopterology, held from 16-19 October in Mérida, Yucatán, México, was a landmark event in the field of orthopterology.

Group photo of XIV International Congress of Orthopterology 2023 participants.

Hosted for the first time in Mexico, it attracted experts and enthusiasts from around the world. The congress featured plenary speakers who presented cutting-edge research and insights on various aspects of grasshoppers, crickets, and related insects.

Pensoft’s Journal of Orthoptera Research was represented by Tony Robillard, the editor-in-chief, who presented the latest developments of the journal to attendees.

Symposia, workshops, and meetings facilitated discussions on topics like climate change impacts, conservation, and management of Orthoptera. The event also included introductions to new digital and geospatial tools for Orthoptera research.

The 16th International Conference on Ecology and Management of Alien Plant Invasions

The 16th International Conference on Ecology and Management of Alien Plant Invasions (EMAPI 2023) took place in Pucón, Chile, from 23-25 October . The conference focused on the promotion of diversity in the science and management of biological invasions. Several NeoBiota authors ran sessions at the conference, and the journal also presented a Best Talk Award.

4th International ESP Latin America and Caribbean Conference

The 4th International ESP Latin America and Caribbean Conference (ESP LAC 2023) was held in La Serena, Chile, from 6-10 November. Focused on “Sharing knowledge about ecosystem services and natural capital to build a sustainable future,” the event attracted experts in ecosystem services, particularly from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Organised by the Ecosystem Services Partnership, this bi-annual conference was open to both ESP members and non-members, featuring a hybrid format in English and Spanish. Attendees enjoyed an excursion to La Serena’s historical center, adding a cultural dimension to the event.

The conference included diverse sessions and a special recognition by Pensoft’s One Ecosystem journal, which awarded full waivers for publication to the authors of the three best posters.

Magaly Aldave receiving the Best Poster Award.

Magaly Aldave of the Transdisciplinary Center for FES-Systemic Studies claimed first prize with “The voice of children in the conservation of the urban wetland and Ramsar Site Pantanos de Villa in Metropolitan Lima, Peru.” Ana Catalina Copier Guerrero and Gabriela Mallea-Rebolledo, both of the University of Chile, were awarded second and third prize respectively.

Biosystematics 2023

Biosystematics 2023, held from 26-30 November at the Australian National University in Canberra, was a collaborative effort of the Australian Biological Resources Study, Society of Australian Systematic Biologists, Australasian Mycological Society, and Australasian Systematic Botany Society. Themed “Celebrating the Past | Planning the Future,” the conference provided a platform for exploring advancements in biosystematics.

The event featured in-person and online participation, catering to a wide audience of researchers, academics, and students. It included workshops, presentations, and discussions, with a focus on enhancing understanding in biosystematics.

Pensoft awarded three student prizes at the event. Putter Tiatragu, Australian National University, received the Best Student Talk award and a free publication in any Pensoft journal for “A big burst of blindsnakes: Phylogenomics and historical biogeography of Australia’s most species-rich snake genus.”

Helen Armstrong, Murdoch University, received the Best Student Lightning Talk for “An enigmatic snapper parasite (Trematoda: Cryptogonimidae) found in an unexpected host.” Patricia Chan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, was the Best Student Lightning Talk runner-up for “Drivers of Diversity of Darwinia’s Common Scents and Inflorescences with Style: Phylogenomics, Pollination Biology, and Floral Chemical Ecology of Western Australian Darwinia (Myrtaceae).”

As we approach the end of 2023, Pensoft looks back on its most prolific and meaningful year of conferences and events. Thank you to everyone who contributed to or engaged with Pensoft’s open-access journals, and here’s to another year of attending events, rewarding important research, and connecting with the scientific community.

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Pensoft partners with ResearchGate to drive readership and visibility of open access journals

Content from 20 Pensoft journals will now be automatically added to ResearchGate to reach the research network’s 25 million users. Each journal will also receive a dedicated profile.

ResearchGate, the professional network for researchers, and Pensoft today announced a new partnership that will see a set of Pensoft’s open access journals increase their reach and visibility through ResearchGate – increasing access and engagement with its 25 million researcher members.  

Pensoft is a fully open access publisher, providing high-quality end-to-end services to its own and third-party scientific journals via its in-house developed scholarly publishing platform ARPHA.

As part of this new partnership, 20 journals published by Pensoft – including the publisher’s flagship titles ZooKeys, PhytoKeys, MycoKeys, Biodiversity Data Journal and Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO Journal) amongst others – will now have their content automatically added to ResearchGate upon publication to benefit from enhanced visibility and discoverability through ResearchGate’s innovative Journal Home offering. These journals will all have dedicated profiles and be prominently represented on all associated article pages on ResearchGate, as well as all other relevant touch points throughout the network.

Journal Home provides a unique opportunity for Pensoft to connect its authors with their readers. The new journal profiles on ResearchGate will provide a central location for each journal, enabling researchers to learn more, discover new article content, and understand how, through their network, they are connected to the journal’s community of authors and editors. Authors of these journals additionally benefit from having their articles automatically added to their ResearchGate profile page, giving them access to metrics, including who is reading and citing their research. These rich insights will also enable Pensoft to build a deeper understanding of the communities engaging with its journals. 

“Pensoft is delighted to be working with ResearchGate to provide an even greater service to our authors and readers. ResearchGate offers an innovative way for us to grow the reach and visibility of our content, while also giving us a way to better understand and engage our author and reader audiences.”

said Prof Lyubomir Penev, CEO and founder of Pensoft.

“We couldn’t be happier to see Pensoft embark on this new partnership with ResearchGate. Journal Home will not only enable Pensoft authors to build visibility for their work, but provide them and Pensoft with greater insights about the communities engaging with that research. I look forward to seeing this new collaboration develop”

said Sören Hofmayer, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at ResearchGate.

About ResearchGate:

ResearchGate is the professional network for researchers. Over 25 million researchers use researchgate.net to share and discover research, build their networks, and advance their careers. Based in Berlin, ResearchGate was founded in 2008. Its mission is to connect the world of science and make research open to all.

Science in the sunshine: Pensoft’s month of European conferences

Pensoft participated in five conferences across Germany and Italy in September 2023.

For the Pensoft team, September 2023 was a busy and exciting month filled with conferences. Travelling across Europe, they promoted journals, connected with the scientific community, and rewarded exceptional research with free article publications. 

Let’s take a look back at all the events of the past month.

Wildlife Research and Conservation 2023

Wildlife Research and Conservation 2023 took place in Berlin between the 9th and 11th of September. Jointly organised by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria and WWF Germany, it was a fantastic event, featuring an exchange of ideas between wildlife scientists from different disciplines related to mammalian species.

Image showing the WRC2023 logo and two women promoting Pensoft at a conference.
Pensoft representatives Mrs. Boriana Ovcharova and Mrs. Anna Sapundzhieva, ready to greet attendees in the sun.

The conference looked at evolutionary adaptations from the perspective of behavioural ecology, reproduction biology, genetics, physiology, as well as nature conservation. It particularly focused on the pressing issues of wildlife research and species conservation in the context of global environmental change. Most of the ≈100 participants were young scientists from more than 30 countries.

The Pensoft team greeted fellow attendees with an exhibition stand and presented the conservation and ecology-focused journals Neobiota, Nature Conservation, One Ecosystem, and Biodiversity Data Journal. Pensoft also advocated for EuropaBon, who are designing an EU-wide framework for monitoring biodiversity and ecosystem services, and REST-COAST, whose mission is to provide the tools to restore environmental degradation of rivers and coasts. Within both European-funded initiatives, Pensoft is a key dissemination partner that contributes expertise in science communication, scholarly publishing, and the development of digital tools and platforms.

Man holding a certificate.
Joao Pedro Meireles posing with his Best Poster award.

Pensoft presented Joao Pedro Meireles from Utrecht University with the Best Poster Award for his research on pair compatibility in okapis, entitling him to a free publication in one of Pensoft’s open-access journals.

“My study looked at pair compatibility in the zoo breeding programme of Okapi. During breeding introductions, sometimes the male becomes aggressive towards the female and we decided to investigate the potential factors. We ran a survey among all zoos that house the species in Europe and we found that differences in husbandry were linked to the aggressiveness performed by the males.”

Joao Pedro Meireles, Utrecht University

GfÖ Annual Meeting 2023

From the 12th to 16th of September, the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research hosted the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland in Leipzig, Germany. The meeting welcomed more than 1,100 participants from around the world, including scientists, policymakers, educators, and environmental enthusiasts.

This year’s meeting was held with the theme: “The future of biodiversity – overcoming barriers of taxa, realms and scales.” There was a particular emphasis on future challenges and opportunities facing biodiversity, and how to address and manage these in an interdisciplinary and integrative way. 

Woman standing beside man.
Mrs. Boriana Ovcharova (Pensoft) with Neobiota Editor-in-Chief Prof. Dr. Ingolf Kühn.

Conference participants were welcomed at the Pensoft stand, where they could learn more about the projects EuropaBon and SELINA, which deal with biodiversity, ecosystem and natural capital topics. 

The Pensoft team took great pleasure in talking to attendees about their fantastic journals focused on ecology and biodiversity, including Food and Ecological Systems Modelling Journal, Neobiota, Nature Conservation, One Ecosystem, Vegetation Classification and Survey and Research Ideas and Outcomes, as well as meeting with authors, reviewers and editors.

European Conference on Ecological Modelling

Also in Leipzig, the European Conference on Ecological Modelling took place between the 4th and 8th of September. The event focused on the transformation of how societies deal with natural resources in a world where biodiversity and ecosystem services are at high risk. 

The ECEM 2023 continued a series of conferences launched by the European chapter of ISEM, the International Society for Ecological Modelling. ISEM promotes the international exchange of ideas, scientific results, and general knowledge in the areas of systems’ analysis and simulations in ecology, and the application of ecological modelling for natural resource management.

Pensoft presented its innovative journals in the field of ecology and modelling, such as Nature Conservation, Food and Ecological Systems Modelling Journal and Neobiota, as well as the projects PoshBee and B-GOOD, which aim to help beekeepers and support healthy bee populations where Pensoft acts as the dissemination partner.

The Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung team presented a poster on the Formal Model format and potential new MiDox formats, unique publication types that can be submitted to Pensoft’s Food and Ecological Modelling Journal.

118th Congress of the Italian Botanical Society

Three men sitting before a projector screen at a conference.
Speakers at the 118th Congress of the Italian Botanical Society.

Pensoft was proud to sponsor the 118th Congress of the Italian Botanical Society, which took place in Pisa, Italy from the 13th to 16th of September. Experts in various fields of Botany gathered to share their research on the following topics:

  • Molecular and cell biology
  • Taxonomy, systematics and evolution
  • Biodiversity
  • Environmental monitoring and policies
  • Biotechnology and applied botany
  • Ecology

Pensoft awarded Emma Cocco, University of Cagliari, and Lucrezia Laccetti, University of Naples Federico II, a free article publication in any of Pensoft’s journals related to botany.  Additionally, Silvia Cannucci, University of Siena, and Flavia Guzzi received the Italian Botanical Society’s support for publishing papers in Italian Botanist for their excellent research.

Four people at a certificate presentation.
Best poster award, presented by Pensoft.

94th Annual Meeting of the Paläontologische Gesellschaft

Finally, between the 18th and 22nd of September, the 94th Annual Meeting of the Paläontologische Gesellschaft was held in Jena, Germany. Pensoft couldn’t make it in person, but still made sure to showcase journals publishing papers in palaeontology, especially Zitteliana and Fossil Record. The international meeting was a great success, and focused on cutting-edge research from palaeobiology, palaeontology, geobiology and related subjects.

Journals promoted by Pensoft at the 94th Annual Meeting of the Paläontologische Gesellschaft.

Summer may be well and truly over, but as a new academic year begins, Pensoft looks forward to attending more conferences, rewarding more incredible research, and connecting with more of the scientific community. Thank you to everyone who contributed to or engaged with Pensoft’s open-access journals this year, and here’s to a successful final quarter of 2023.

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New special issue of Neotropical Biodiversity and Conservation pays homage to the Unisinos Postgraduate Program in Biology

The program, which birthed the NBC journal, was discontinued in 2022 for financial reasons.

Today, a special issue of Neotropical Biodiversity and Conservation has been released in tribute to the discontinued Postgraduate Program in Biology (PPG Biologia Unisinos) of the Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (Unisinos), Brazil.

Diversity and Wildlife Management: The legacy of PPG Biologia Unisinos was edited by former professors and students of PPG Biologia Unisinos, and features eight articles focused on the Neotropical region. Each study was conducted by the research teams of the program, or was only made possible with their help. It serves as a testament to the importance of the program.

On 21 July 2022, Unisinos, a private institution in southern Brazil, announced that it would discontinue 12 of its postgraduate programs, including PPG Biologia Unisinos. The program specialised in diversity and wildlife management and was the birthplace of the journal Neotropical Biology and Conservation in 2006.

Cover image for Diversity and Wildlife Management: The legacy of PPG Biologia Unisinos.

The closure of the programs was explained by Unisinos as a measure to maintain the university’s financial stability. However, this decision is widely seen as a significant setback for Brazilian research. It has disrupted the work of many professors and graduate students and is expected to have a noticeable negative impact on Brazilian research in the coming years.

“PPG Biologia Unisinos was a resilient postgraduate program with amazing professors that always did their best to keep the high quality of their research even when facing adversities such as budget cuts.

“We hope that this special issue helps raise awareness on the importance of biological research and encourages researchers from other institutions to defend their programs and advocate for more investment in biological research.”

Piter Boll, Neotropical Biology and Conservation’s editor-in-chief and former student of PPG Biologia Unisinos

Notable research featured in the issue includes a review of the management effectiveness of nature conservation units in southern Brazil, and a paper discussing the consequences of the program’s closure.

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Nanopublications tailored to biodiversity data

Novel nanopublication workflows and templates for associations between organisms, taxa and their environment are the latest outcome of the collaboration between Knowledge Pixels and Pensoft.

First off, why nanopublications?

Nanopublications complement human-created narratives of scientific knowledge with elementary, machine-actionable, simple and straightforward scientific statements that prompt sharing, finding, accessibility, citability and interoperability. 

By making it easier to trace individual findings back to their origin and/or follow-up updates, nanopublications also help to better understand the provenance of scientific data. 

With the nanopublication format and workflow, authors make sure that key scientific statements – the ones underpinning their research work – are efficiently communicated in both human-readable and machine-actionable manner in line with FAIR principles. Thus, their contributions to science are better prepared for a reality driven by AI technology.

The machine-actionability of nanopublications is a standard due to each assertion comprising a subject, an object and a predicate (type of relation between the subject and the object), complemented by provenance, authorship and publication information. A unique feature here is that each of the elements is linked to an online resource, such as a controlled vocabulary, ontology or standards. 

Now, what’s new?

As a result of the partnership between high-tech startup Knowledge Pixels and open-access scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft, authors in Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ) can make use of three types of nanopublications:

  1. Nanopublications associated with a manuscript submitted to BDJ. This workflow lets authors add a Nanopublications section within their manuscript while preparing their submission in the ARPHA Writing Tool (AWT). Basically, authors ‘highlight’ and ‘export’ key points from their papers as nanopublications to further ensure the FAIRness of the most important findings from their publications.
  1. Standalone nanopublication related to any scientific publication, regardless of its author or source. This can be done via the Nanopublications page accessible from the BDJ website. The main advantage of standalone nanopublication is that straightforward scientific statements become available and FAIR early on, and remain ready to be added to a future scholarly paper.
  1. Nanopublications as annotations to existing scientific publications. This feature is available from several journals published on the ARPHA Platform, including BDJ. By attaching an annotation to the entire paper (via the Nanopublication tab) or a text selection (by first adding an inline comment, then exporting it as a nanopublication), a reader can evaluate and record an opinion about any article using a simple template based on the Citation Typing Ontology (CiTO).

Nanopublications for biodiversity data?

At Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ), authors can now incorporate nanopublications within their manuscripts to future-proof the most important assertions on biological taxa and organisms or statements about associations of taxa or organisms and their environments

On top of being shared and archived by means of a traditional research publication in an open-access peer-reviewed journal, scientific statements using the nanopublication format will also remain ‘at the fingertips’ of automated tools that may be the next to come looking for this information, while mining the Web.

Using the nanopublication workflows and templates available at BDJ, biodiversity researchers can share assertions, such as:

So far, the available biodiversity nanopublication templates cover a range of associations, including those between taxa and individual organisms, as well as between those and their environments and nucleotide sequences. 

Nanopublication template customised for biodiversity research publications available from Nanodash.

As a result, those easy-to-digest ‘pixels of knowledge’ can capture and disseminate information about single observations, as well as higher taxonomic ranks. 

The novel domain-specific publication format was launched as part of the collaboration between Knowledge Pixels – an innovative startup tech company aiming to revolutionise scientific publishing and knowledge sharing and the open-access scholarly publisher Pensoft.

… so, what exactly is a nanopublication?

General structure of a nanopublication:

“the smallest unit of publishable information”,

as explained on nanopub.net.

Basically, a nanopublication – unlike a research article – is a tiny snippet of a precise and structured scientific finding (e.g. medication X treats disease Y), which exists as a reusable and cite-able pieces of a growing knowledge graph stored on a decentralised server network in a format that it is readable for humans, but also “understandable” and actionable for computers and their algorithms.

These semantic statements expressed in community-agreed terms, openly available through links to controlled vocabularies, ontologies and standards, are not only freely accessible to everyone in both human-readable and machine-actionable formats, but also easy-to-digest for computer algorithms and AI-powered assistants.

In short, nanopublications allow us to browse and aggregate such findings as part of a complex scientific knowledge graph. Therefore, nanopublications bring us one step closer to the next revolution in scientific publishing, which started with the emergence and increasing adoption of knowledge graphs. 

“As pioneers in the semantic open access scientific publishing field for over a decade now, we at Pensoft are deeply engaged with making research work actually available at anyone’s fingertips. What once started as breaking down paywalls to research articles and adding the right hyperlinks in the right places, is time to be built upon,”

said Prof. Lyubomir Penev, founder and CEO at Pensoft, which had published the very first semantically enhanced research article in the biodiversity domain back in 2010 in the ZooKeys journal.

Why are nanopublications necessary?

By letting computer algorithms access published research findings in a structured format, nanopublications allow for the knowledge snippets that they are intended to communicate to be fully understandable and actionable. With nanopublications, each of those fragments of scientific information is interconnected and traceable back to its author(s) and scientific evidence. 

A nanopublication is a tiny snippet of a precise and structured scientific finding (e.g. medication X treats disease Y), which exists within a growing knowledge graph stored on a decentralised server network in a format that it is readable for humans, but also “understandable” and actionable for computers and their algorithms. Illustration by Knowledge Pixels. 

By building on shared knowledge representation models, these data become Interoperable (as in the I in FAIR), so that they can be delivered to the right user, at the right time, in the right place , ready to be reused (as per the R in FAIR) in new contexts. 

Another issue nanopublications are designed to address is research scrutiny. Today, scientific publications are produced at an unprecedented rate that is unlikely to cease in the years to come, as scholarship embraces the dissemination of early research outputs, including preprints, accepted manuscripts and non-conventional papers.

A network of interlinked nanopublications could also provide a valuable forum for scientists to test, compare, complement and build on each other’s results and approaches to a common scientific problem, while retaining the record of their cooperation each step along the way. 

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We encourage you to try the nanopublications workflow yourself when submitting your next biodiversity paper to Biodiversity Data Journal

Community feedback on this pilot project and suggestions for additional biodiversity-related nanopublication templates are very welcome!

This Nanopublications for biodiversity workflow was created with a partial support of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 BiCIKL project under grant agreement No 101007492 and in collaboration with Knowledge Pixels AG.The tool uses data and API services of ChecklistBank, Catalogue of Life, GBIF, GenBank/ENA, BOLD, Darwin Core, Environmental Ontology (ENVO), Relation Ontology (RO), NOMEN, ZooBank, Index Fungorum, MycoBank, IPNI, TreatmentBank, and other resources. 

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On the journal website: https://bdj.pensoft.net/, you can find more about the unique features and workflows provided by the Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ), including innovative research paper formats (e.g. Data Paper, OMICS Data Paper, Software Description, R Package, Species Conservation Profiles, Alien Species Profile), expert-provided data audit for each data paper submission, automated data export and more.

Don’t forget to also sign up for the BDJ newsletter via the Email alert form on the journal’s homepage and follow it on Twitter and Facebook.

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Earlier this year, Knowledge Pixels and Pensoft presented several routes for readers and researchers to contribute to research outputs – either produced by themselves or by others – through nanopublications generated through and visualised in Pensoft’s cross-disciplinary Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) journal, which uses the same nanopublication workflows.

Beware of scientific scams! Tips to avoid predatory publishing in biological journals

Predatory publishing has been growing exponentially, with severe consequences for society and the environment.

Guest blog post by Cássio Cardoso Pereira, Gabriela França Fernandes, and Walisson Kenedy Siqueira

We are bombarded day and night with slot-machine invitations from journals, books, and events such as congresses and lectures. Predatory publishing has reached alarming levels in biology, which is why we published an editorial in the journal Neotropical Biology and Conservation to alert the community, show the modus operandi of these publishers, and pass on good practices so that researchers, especially beginners, can escape this trap.

Piggybacking on the open access movement, numerous predatory publishers have emerged in search of easy profits. These cybercriminals take advantage of the publish-or-perish culture without providing any information about their peer-review protocols, concerned not with the scientific, bibliographic, or ethical aspects of publishing, but with the money received from authors.

The number of predatory publishers has grown exponentially in recent years and spread across all areas of knowledge, including biology. It is a common practice of these journals, often with an equally fake editorial staff, to send electronic invitations to potential authors to publish articles. These invitations are often facilitated by initial screenings of the emails of corresponding authors available on the internet. The emailed invitations from the supposed editors often stress that the author’s work is sound and, since it has already gone through the scrutiny of the editorial board, requires only the payment of a fee to publish it, with no need for further peer review.

Invitations to join the editorial board of these journals are also frequent, mostly intended to take advantage of the scientists’ prestige. Instead of editing articles, these invited editors are used as poster boys, i.e., they have their names published on the journal’s website, thus attracting unsuspecting authors to submit their manuscripts.

These journals are generally not included in the directory of open access journals (DOAJ) and are not indexed in the main bibliometric databases, such as Google Scholar, SciELO, Scopus, and Web of Science, for the simple reason that they do not meet their inclusion criteria. The websites of these journals often have little information about the editorial board, have a fake International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), lack transparency regarding their scope, provide no indication of a policy of retraction, have no transparency regarding copyright transfer, and provide very vague contact information, often omitting the address of the journal’s office.

In addition to papers, there are also invitations to publish books and book chapters with fake International Standard Book Numbers and dubious editorial boards. There is also a flood of invitations to predatory meetings, such as online conferences, symposia, workshops, and lectures. These often have websites that are equally confusing and never linked to a university or a postgraduate program. Above all, one should consult advisors, supervisors, or senior colleagues about the invitation and the sender’s academic reputation. In any case, one must pay attention not only to the citation metrics but also, mainly, to their editorial board, ISSN, ISBN, contact information, and relationships with recognized institutions.

When we analyze the impacts of predatory publishing on the scientific community, the worst problems are:

  • the dissemination of erroneous information about scientific problems of interest
  • the facilitation of plagiarism
  • the waste of public resources intended for publication
  • the appointment of researchers at universities and research institutes based on curricula full of doubtful publications, generating negative cascading effects that undermine higher education as a whole.

The damage done to society can be even worse. Governments, large companies, and decision-makers can be misled by false information, resulting in attitudes that undermine responses to major human problems such as climate change, biodiversity, and pandemics.

Efforts to fight predatory publishers require collaboration and support at higher levels. Governments need to create regulatory agencies that carefully and systematically evaluate the activities carried out by scientific journals. Science funding agencies should require that publication fees be paid only to publishers that adhere to an internationally recognized set of transparency and ethical rules. We need to discuss our values and incentives in the academic community, so we can start prioritizing quality over quantity. This would provide a reference point for research, help design coherent interventions, and improve information and public policy in favor of society and the environment.

Reference:

Pereira CC, Mello MAR, Negreiros D, Figueiredo JCG, Kenedy-Siqueira W, Maia LR, Fernandes S, Fernandes GFC, Ponce de Leon A, Ashworth L, Oki Y, de Castro GC, Aguilar R, Fearnside PM, Fernandes GW (2023) Beware of scientific scams! Hints to avoid predatory publishing in biological journals. Neotropical Biology and Conservation 18(2): 97-105. https://doi.org/10.3897/neotropical.18.e108887

Eye for Detail: Papers in Pensoft journals sport a new look

As behaviours and needs of readers change, we strive to keep up with the times. Let’s run through what & why has changed to the PDF format.

Readers at some of the journals published by Pensoft, who have downloaded/printed a publication or ordered a physical copy of a journal issue over the last few weeks, might be in for a surprise concerning the layout of the PDF format of the articles. 

Research papers published in ZooKeys demonstrating the former (left) and the current (right) article layout seen in the PDF format. 

Even though it’s been years since online publishing has become the norm in how we are consuming information – including scientific publications – we understand that academia is still very much fond of traditional, often paper-based, article layout format: the one you use when accessing a PDF file or a print copy, rather than directly scrolling down through the HTML version of the article. 

Even if today large orders of printed volumes from overseas are the exception, rather than the rule, we know we have readers of ours who regularly print manuscripts at home or savе them on their devices. Trends like this have already led to many journals first abandoning the physical- for digital-first, then transitioning to digital-only publication format.

Meanwhile, it is true that needs and demands have fundamentally changed in recent times. 

As we speak, readers are accessing PDF files from much higher-quality desktops, in order to skim through as much content as possible. 

In the meantime, authors are relying on greater-quality cameras to document their discoveries, while using advanced computational tools capable of generating and analysing extra layers of precise data. While producing more exhaustive research, however, it is also of key importance that their manuscripts are processed and published as rapidly as possible.

So, let’s run through the updates and give you our reasoning for their added value to readers and authors.

Revised opening page

One of the major changes is the one to the format of the first page. By leaving some blank space on the left, we found a dedicated place for important article metadata, i.e. academic editor, date of manuscript submission / acceptance / publication, citation details and licence. As a result, we “cleaned up” the upper part of the page, so that it can better highlight the authors and their affiliations. 

Bottom line: The new layout provides a better structure to the opening page to let readers find key article metadata at a glance. 

Expand as much – or as little – as comfortable

As you might know, journals published by Pensoft have been coming in different formats and sizes. Now, we have introduced the standard A4 page size, where the text is laid in a single column that has been slightly indented to the right, as seen above. Whenever a figure or a table is used in a manuscript, however, it is expanded onto the whole width of the page.

Before giving our reasons why, let’s see what were the specific problems that we address.

Case study 1

Some of our signature journals, including ZooKeys, PhytoKeys and MycoKeys, have become quite recognisable with their smaller-than-average B5 format, widely appreciated by people who would often be seen carrying around a copy during a conference or an international flight.

However, in recent times, authors began to embrace good practices in research like open sharing of data and code, which resulted in larger and more complex tables. Similarly, their pocket-sized cameras would capture much higher-resolution photos capable of revealing otherwise minute morphological characters. Smaller page size would also mean that often there would be pages between an in-text reference of a figure or a table and the visual itself.

So, here we faced an obvious question: shall we deprive their readers from all those detailed insights into the published studies?

Case study 2

Meanwhile, other journals, such as Herpetozoa, Zoosystematics and Evolution and Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift, had long been operating in A4 size, thereby providing their readers with a full view of the figures in their publications. 

Yet, the A4 format brought up another issue: the lines were too long for the eye comfort of their readers. 

What they did was organise their pages into two-column format. While this sounds like a good and quite obvious decision, the format – best known from print newspapers – is pretty inconvenient when accessed digitally. Since the readers would like to zoom in on the PDF page or simply access the article on mobile, they will need to scroll up and down several times per page. 

In addition, the production of a two-column text is technologically more challenging, which results in extra production time.

Bottom line: The new layout allows journals to not sacrifice image quality for text readability and vice versa. As a bonus, authors enjoy faster publication for their papers.

Simplified font

If you have a closer look at the PDF file, you would notice that print-ready papers have also switched to a more simplistic – yet easier to the eye – font. Again, the update corresponds to today’s digital-native user behaviour, where readers often access PDF files from devices of various resolutions and skim through the text, as opposed to studying its content in detail.

In fact, the change is hardly new, since the same font has long been utilised for the webpages (HTML format) of the publications across all journals.

Bottom line: The slightly rounder and simplified font prompts readability, thereby allowing for faster and increased consumption of content. 

What’s the catch? How about characters and APCs?

While we have been receiving a lot of positive feedback from editors, authors and readers, there has been a concern that the updates would increase the publication charges, wherever these are estimated based on page numbers.

Having calculated the lines and characters in the new layout format, we would like to assure you that there is no increase in the numbers of characters or words between the former and current layout formats. In fact, due to the additional number of lines fitting in an A4 page as opposed to B5, authors might be even up for a deal.

________

* At the time of the writing, the new paper layout has not been rolled out at all journals published by Pensoft. However, most of the editorial boards have already confirmed they would like to incorporate the update.

________

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