Celebrating 30 years of scholarly publishing at Pensoft!

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pensoft, we are asking ourselves: What’s a tree without its roots? Here, we’ll tell you the story of Pensoft.

It was in late 1992 when biologist and ecologist Prof Dr Lyubomir Penev in a collaboration with his friend Prof. Sergei Golovatch established Pensoft: a scholarly publisher with the ambition to contribute to novel and even revolutionary methods in academic publishing by applying its own approach to how science is published, shared and used. Inspired by the world’s best practices in the field, Pensoft would never cease to view the issues and gaps in scholarly publishing in line with its slogan: “by scientists, for scientists”.

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pensoft, we are asking ourselves: What’s a tree without its roots? 

That’s why we’ve put up an attractive timeline of Pensoft’s milestones on our website, and complemented it with some key figures, in an attempt to translate those years into numbers. Yet, one can say only that much in figures. Below, we’ll give a bit more context and background about Pensoft’s key milestones.

1994: Pensoft publishes its first book & book series

In time for New Year’s Day in 1994, we published the first book bearing the name of Pensoft. The catalogue of the sheet weaver spiders (Lyniphiidae) of Northern Asia did not only set the beginning of the publishing activities of Pensoft, but also started the extensive Pensoft Series Faunistica, which continues to this day, and currently counts over 120 titles.

2003: Pensoft joins its first EU-funded research project 

By 2003, we were well-decided to expand our activities toward participation in collaborative, multinational projects, thereby building on our mission to shed light and communicate the latest scientific work done. 

By participating in the FP6-funded project ALARM (abbreviation for Assessing LArge-scale environmental Risks with tested Methods), coordinated by Dr. Joseph Settele from  the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Germany), we would start contributing to the making of science itself in close collaboration with another 67 institutions from across Europe. Our role at ALARM during the five years of the duration of the project was to disseminate and communicate the project outcome. At the end of the project, we also produced the highly appreciated within the community Atlas of Biodiversity Risk. 

As for today, 19 years later, Pensoft has taken part in 40 research projects as a provider of various services ranging from data & knowledge management and next-generation open access publishing; to communication, dissemination and (web)design; to stakeholder engagement; consultations; and event and project management. 

Our project activities culminated last year, when we became the coordinator of a large and exciting BiCIKL project, dedicated to access to and linking of biodiversity data along the entire data and research life cycle. 

2008: Pensoft launches its first scholarly journal to revolutionise & accelerate biodiversity research

Website: https://zookeys.pensoft.net/

Openly accessible and digital-first since the very start, the ZooKeys journal was born on a sunny morning in California during the Entomological Society of America meeting in 2007, when Prof Lyubomir Penev and his renowned colleague Dr Terry Erwin from the Smithsonian Institution agreed over breakfast that zoologists from around the world could indeed use a new-age taxonomic journal. What the community at the time was missing was a scholarly outlet that would not only present a smooth fast track for their research papers, while abiding by the highest and most novel standards in the field, but do so freely and openly to any reader at any time and in any place. Fast forward to 2021, ZooKeys remains the most prolific open-access journal in zoology.

With over 1,100 volumes published to date, ZooKeys is one of our most renowned journals with its own curious and intriguing history. You can find more about it in the celebratory blog post we published on the occasion of the journal’s 1,000th volume in late 2020.

At the time of writing, Pensoft has 21 journals under its own belt, co-publishes another 16, and provides its self-developed journal management platform ARPHA to another 35 scholarly outlets.

2010a: Pensoft launches its first journal publishing platform

By 2010, we realised that the main hurdle holding our progress as a next-age publisher of scientific knowledge was posed by the technology – or lack thereof –  underlying the publishing process. We figured that – in our position of users – we were best equipped to figure what exactly this backbone structure should be made of.

This is when we released the publishing platform TRIADA, which was able to support both the editorial and the publication processes at our journals. This was also the point in time when we added “technology provider” to the Pensoft’s byline. Surely, we had so many ideas in our mind and TRIADA was only the beginning!

2010b: In the 50th issue of ZooKeys, Pensoft publishes the first semantically enhanced biodiversity research papers

Explore the 50th ZooKeys issue.

Later the same year, TRIADA let us write some history. The 50th volume of ZooKeys wasn’t only special because of its number. It contained the first scholarly papers in the study of biodiversity featuring semantic enrichments. 

The novelty that keeps a taxon only a click away from a list of related data, including its occurrences, genomics data, treatments, literature etc. is a feature that remains a favourite to our journals’ users to this very day. Unique to date, this workflow is one of the many outcomes of our fantastic long-time collaboration and friendship with Plazi.

2011: Journal of Hymenoptera Research becomes the first society journal to move to Pensoft

Website: https://jhr.pensoft.net/

Three years after the launch of the very first Pensoft journal, we received a request from the International Society of Hymenopterists who wanted for their own journal: the Journal of Hymenoptera Research to follow the example of ZooKeys and provide to their authors, editors and readers a similar set of services and features designed to streamline biodiversity knowledge in a modern, user-friendly and highly efficient manner. 

Ever since, the journal has been co-published by the Society and Pensoft, and enjoyed growing popularity and appeal amongst hymenopterists from around the world.

Impact Factor and CiteScore trend for Journal of Hymenoptera Research since 2015.

2013: Pensoft replaces TRIADA with its own in-house built innovative ARPHA Platform

Website: https://arphahub.com/

As we said, TRIADA was merely the crude foundation of what was to become the ARPHA publishing platform: a publishing solution providing a lot more than an end-to-end entirely online environment to support the whole publishing process on both journal and article level.

On top of that, ARPHA’s publishing package includes a variety of automated and manually provided services, web service integrations and highly customisable features. With all of those, we aimed at one thing only: create a comprehensive scholarly publishing solution to our own dearest journals and all their users.

2013b:  Pensoft develops an XML-based writing tool

Website: https://arpha.pensoft.net/

Having just unveiled ARPHA Platform, we were quite confident that we have developed a pretty all-in publishing solution. Our journals would be launched, set up, hosted and upgraded safely under our watchful eye, while authors, editors and reviewers would need to send not a single email or a file outside of our collaborative environment from the moment they submit a manuscript to the moment they see it published, indexed and archived at all relevant databases. 

Yet, we could still spot a gap left to bridge. The Pensoft Writing Tool (or what is now known as the ARPHA Writing Tool or AWT) provides a space where researchers can do the authoring itself prior to submitting a manuscript straight to the journal. It all happens within the tool, with co-authors, external collaborators, reviewers and editors all able to contribute to the same manuscript file. Due to the XML technology underlying AWT, various data(sets) and references can be easily imported in a few clicks, while a list of templates and content management features lets researchers spend their time and efforts on their scientific work rather than format requirements.

2015: Pensoft launches the open-science RIO Journal

Website: https://riojournal.com/

Six years ago, amid heated discussions over the pros and cons of releasing scientific knowledge freely to all, we felt it’s time to push the boundaries even further. 

No wonder that, at the time, a scholarly journal with the aim to bring to light ‘alternative’ research outputs from along the whole research process, such as grant proposals, project and workshop reports, data management plans and research ideas amongst many others, was seen as quite brave and revolutionary. Long story short, a year after its launch, RIO earned the honorary recognition from the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) to be named an Open Science Innovator.

Learn about the key milestones and achievements at RIO Journal to date – in addition to its future goals – in the special blog post and the editorial published on the occasion of the journal’s fifth anniversary.

2016: Pensoft provides ARPHA Platform as a white-label journal publishing solution for the first time

Led by our intrinsic understanding for scholars and smaller publishers, we saw the need of many journals and their owners to simultaneously secure a user-friendly and sustainable publishing solution for their scientific outlets. This is why we decided to also offer our ARPHA Platform as a standalone package of technology, services and features, dissociated with Pensoft as a publisher. This option is particularly useful for university presses, learned societies and institutions who would rather stick to exclusivity when it comes to their journal’s branding and imprint.

The first to seek out this publishing solution of ours was The Vilnius Gediminas Technical University Press and its Business: Theory and Practice journal.

2017: Pensoft launches its conference-dedicated platforms for abstracts and proceedings 

Website: https://ap.pensoft.net/

Another step forward to encompassing the whole spectrum of research outputs was to take care after conference materials: proceedings and abstracts. Once again, our thinking was that all scientific work and efforts need to be made openly available, accessible, reusable and creditable. 

Both ARPHA Conference Abstracts and ARPHA Proceedings allow for organisers to conveniently bring the publications together in a conference-branded collection, thereby providing a one-stop permanent access point to all content submitted and presented at a particular event, alongside associated data, images, videos and multimedia, video recordings of conference talks or graphic files of poster presentations. 

Publications at both platforms benefit from all key advantages available to conventional research papers at a Pensoft journal, such as registration at Crossref and individual DOI; publication in PDF, semantically enhanced HTML and data-minable XML formats; indexing and archiving at multiple major databases; science communications services.

2019: Pensoft develops the OpenBiodiv Knowledge Graph

As firm believers in the power and future of linked and FAIR data, at Pensoft we realise there is still a great gap in the way biodiversity data is collated, stored, accessed and made available to researchers and key stakeholders for further reuse. 

In fact, this is an area within biodiversity research that is in dire need of a revolutionary mechanism to provide a readily available and convenient hub that allows a researcher to access all related data via multi-directional links interconnecting various and standardised databases, in accordance with the Web 2.0 principles.

As the first step in that direction, in 2019, we launched the OpenBiodiv Knowledge Graph, which began to collate various types of biodiversity data as extracted from semantically enhanced articles published by Pensoft and taxonomic treatments harvested by Plazi. 

Since then, the OpenBiodiv Knowledge Graph has evolved into the Open Biodiversity Knowledgement Management System (OBKMS), which also comprises a Linked Open Dataset, an ontology and а website. Our work on the OBKMS continues to this day, fueled by just as much enthusiasm as in those early days in 2019.

2020: Pensoft launches ARPHA Preprints

By 2020, a number of factors and issues that had long persisted within scholarly publishing and academia had already triggered the emergence of multiple preprint servers. Yet, the onset of the unprecedented for our age COVID-19 pandemic, seemed like the final straw that made everyone realise we needed to start uncovering early scientific work, and we needed to do that fast.

At the time, we had already been considering applying the Pensoft approach to preprints. So, we came up with a solution that could seamlessly blend into our existing infrastructure.

Offered as an opt-in service to journals published on the ARPHA Platform, ARPHA Preprints allows for authors to check a box and post their manuscripts as a preprint as they are filling in the submission form at a participating journal. 

Learn more about ARPHA Preprints on the ARPHA blog.

2021a: RIO Journal expands into a project-driven knowledge hub

Ever since its launch, RIO had been devised as the ultimate scholarly venue to share the early, intermediate and final results of a research project. While collections at the journal had already been put in good use, we still had what to add, so that we could provide a one-stop place for consortia to permanently store their outputs and make them easily discoverable and accessible long after their project had concluded. 

With the upgraded collections, their owners received the oppotunity to also add various research publications – including scholarly articles published elsewhere, author-formatted documents and preprints. In the former case, the article is visualised within the collection at RIO via a link to its original source, while in the latter, it is submitted and published via ARPHA Preprints. 

Learn more about the upgraded collections module on our blog and explore the collections on RIO’s website. 

Research projects with collections in RIO Journal.

2021b: Pensoft becomes a coordinator of the BiCIKL project 

Over the years, we have been partnering with many like-minded innovators and their institutions from across the natural science community. Surely, we hadn’t successfully developed all those technologies and workflows without their invaluable feedback and collaborations. 

In 2021, our shared passion and vision about the future of research data availability and usage culminated in the project BiCIKL (abbreviation for Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library), which was granted funding by the European Commission and will run until April 2024.

Within BiCIKL, our team of 14 European institutions are deploying and improving our own and partnering infrastructures to bridge gaps between each other’s biodiversity data types and classes with the ultimate goal to provide flawless access to data across all stages of the research cycle. By the end of the project, together we will have created the first-of-its-kind Biodiversity Knowledge Hub, where a researcher will be able to retrieve a full set of linked and open biodiversity data.

Naturally, being a coordinator of such a huge endeavour towards revolutionising biodiversity science is a great honour by itself. 

For us, though, this project has a special place in our hearts, as it perfectly resonates with the very reason why we are here: publishing and sharing science in the most efficient and user-friendly manner.

Visit the BiCIKL website, explore the news section and follow @BiCIKL_H2020 on Twitter.

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Natural History Museum of Berlin’s journal Fossil Record started publishing on ARPHA Platform

Fossil Record – the paleontological scholarly journal of the Natural History Museum of Berlin (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin) published its first articles after moving to the academic publisher Pensoft and its publishing platform ARPHA Platform in late 2021. The renowned scientific outlet – launched in 1998 – joined two other historical journals owned by the Museum: Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift and Zoosystematics and Evolution, which moved to Pensoft back in 2014.

Fossil Record – the paleontological scholarly journal of the Natural History Museum of Berlin (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin) published its first articles after moving to the academic publisher Pensoft and its publishing platform ARPHA in late 2021. The renowned scientific outlet – launched in 1998 – joined two other historical journals owned by the Museum: Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift and Zoosystematics and Evolution, which moved to Pensoft back in 2014.

Published in two issues a year, the open-access scientific outlet covers research from all areas of palaeontology, including the taxonomy and systematics of fossil organisms, biostratigraphy, palaeoecology, and evolution. It deals with all taxonomic groups, including invertebrates, microfossils, plants, and vertebrates.

As a result of the move to ARPHA, Fossil Record utilises the whole package of ARPHA Platform’s services, including its fast-track, end-to-end publishing module, designed to appeal to readers, authors, reviewers and editors alike. A major advantage is that the whole editorial process, starting from the submission of a manuscript and continuing into peer review, editing, publication, dissemination, archiving and hosting, happens within the online ecosystem of ARPHA. 

As soon as they are published, the articles in Fossil Record are available in three formats: PDF, machine-readable JATS XML and semantically enriched HTML for better and mobile-friendly reader experience. 

The publications are equipped with real-time metrics on both article and sub-article level that allow easy access to the number of visitors, views and downloads for every article and each of it’s figures, tables or supplementary materials. In their turn, the semantic enhancements do not only allow for easy navigation throughout the text and quick access to cited literature and the article’s own citations, but also tag each taxon that appears in the paper to provide links to further information concerning its occurrences, genomics, nomenclature, treatments and more as available from various databases.      

The first five papers – now available on the brand new journal website powered by ARPHA – already demonstrate the breadth of topics covered by Fossil Record, including systematics, paleobiogeography, palaeodiversity and morphology, as well as the international appeal of the scholarly outlet. The articles are co-authored by collaborative research teams representing ten countries and spanning three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa.

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About the Natural History Museum of Berlin:

The “Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science” is an integrated research museum within the Leibniz Association. It is one of the most important research institutions worldwide in the areas of biological and geological evolution and biodiversity.

The Museum’s mission is to discover and describe life and earth – with people, through dialogue. As an excellent research museum and innovative communication platform, it wants to engage with and influence the scientific and societal discourse about the future of our planet, worldwide. Its vision, strategy and structure make the museum an excellent research museum. The Natural History Museum of Berlin has research partners in Berlin, Germany and approximately 60 other countries. Over 700,000 visitors per year as well as steadily increasing participation in educational and other events show that the Museum has become an innovative communication centre that helps shape the scientific and social dialogue about the future of our earth. 

Museum of New Zealand’s journal Tūhinga moves to Pensoft’s ARPHA Publishing Platform

Having decided to turn Tūhinga “into a 21st-century”, digital-native diamond open-access journal, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa signed with scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft and its publishing platform ARPHA. As part of their agreement, not only is the journal to make its future content easy to read and discover by readers and computer algorithms, but will also do so for its legacy content.

Having decided to turn Tūhinga “into a 21st-century”, digital-native diamond open-access journal, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa signed with scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft and its publishing platform ARPHA. As part of the agreement, not only is the journal to make its future content easy to read and discover by readers and computer algorithms, but will also do so for its legacy publications previously available solely in print. 

Tūhinga: Records of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the successor of the Museum of New Zealand Records, the National Museum of New Zealand Records, and the Dominion Museum Records in Ethnology. Together, the outlets have acquired a nearly two century-worth of scientific knowledge provided by the museum’s curators, collection managers, and research associates across disciplines, from archaeology to zoology.

The renovated Tūhinga is to utilise the whole package of signature services provided by the platform, including ARPHA’s fast-track, end-to-end publishing system, which benefits readers, authors, reviewers and editors alike. 

This means that each submitted manuscript is to be carried through the review, editing, publication, dissemination and archiving stages without leaving the platform’s collaboration-centred online environment. The articles themselves are to be openly available in PDF, machine-readable JATS XML formats, and semantically enriched HTML for better reader experience. Thus, the journal’s articles will be as easy to discover, access, reuse and cite as possible. Once published, the content is to be indexed and archived instantaneously and its underlying data exported to relevant specialised databases. Simultaneously, a suite of various metrics is to be enabled to facilitate tracking the usage of articles and sub-article elements – like figures and tables – in real time.

The journal’s legacy content is to also become machine-discoverable and more user-friendly. Each of these papers will also be assigned with DOI and registered at CrossRef, while their metadata will be indexed at relevant databases. On the new journal website, they will be displayed as embedded PDF documents, while the reader will be able to do a full-text search of the article’s content.

Tūhinga welcomes original collections-based research in the natural sciences and humanities, including museological research, where its multidisciplinarity reflects the breadth and range of museum-based scholarship. The journal focuses primarily on New Zealand and the Pacific, but all contributions are considered. Having opted for a Diamond Open Access policy, the journal is to charge neither its readers, nor the authors.

“It’s a great honour to sign with the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and provide our publishing services to Tūhinga. Particularly, we take pride in letting the whole wide world straight into the holdings of Te Papa and the knowledge they have prompted in the distant past: something that would not typically be possible had they remained only on paper,”

says Prof. Dr Lyubomir Penev, founder and CEO at ARPHA and Pensoft.

The journal Biosystematics and Ecology moves to ARPHA Platform

The scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft and its self-developed publishing platform ARPHA welcome Biosystematics and Ecology – a journal by the Austrian Academy of Sciences – to its growing open-access scholarly portfolio. By moving to ARPHA, Biosystematics and Ecology now enjoys a long list of high-tech perks, which dramatically enhance the entire publishing process, from submission to publication, distribution and archiving.

The Austrian Academy of Sciences’ journal Biosystematics and Ecology now boasts an improved publishing infrastructure after moving to the technologically advanced ARPHA Platform and signing with publisher and technology provider Pensoft. The publisher, well-established in the domain of biodiversity-themed journals, is eager to welcome this latest addition to its growing open-access portfolio.

Biosystematics and Ecology is a continuation and replaces the established print-only Biosystematics and Ecology Series of the Austrian Academy of Sciences’s Commission for Interdisciplinary Ecological Studies. It publishes research focused on biodiversity in Central Europe and around the world, a domain of rapidly growing importance as а global biodiversity crisis is looming. A great advantage of Biosystematics and Ecology, in contrast to its predecessor, is the ability to simply update existing checklists and therefore to account for new scientific findings about taxonomic groups or regions. 

The peer-reviewed outlet includes contributions on a wide range of ecology and biosystematics topics, aiming to provide biodiversity data, such as catalogi, checklists and interdisciplinary research to the scientific community, while offering the maximum in accessibility, usability, and transparency. The journal is currently indexed in Crossref and archived in CLOCKSS, Portico and Zenodo.

Having already acquired its own glossy and user-friendly website provided by ARPHA, the journal also takes advantage of the platform’s signature fast-track publishing system, which offers an end-to-end publishing solution from submission to publication, distribution and archiving. The platform offers a synergic online space for authoring, reviewing, editing, production and archiving, ensuring a seamlessly integrated workflow at every step of the publishing process.

Thanks to the financial support of the Academy, Biosystematics and Ecology will publish under Diamond Open Access, which means that it is free to read and publish. Opting for ARPHA’s white-label publishing solution, the journal is published under the Academy’s branding and imprint, while benefiting from all signature high-tech features by ARPHA.

Biosystematics and Ecology also makes use of ARPHA Preprints, another platform developed by Pensoft, where authors can post a preprint in a matter of seconds upon submitting a manuscript to the journal. Once the associated manuscript gets published, the preprint is conveniently linked to the formal paper, displaying its citation details.

ARPHA’s easy-to-use, open-access publishing platform offers high-end functionalities such as diverse paper formats (PDF, machine-readable JATS XML, and semantically enriched HTML), automated data export to aggregators, web-service integrations with major global indexing databases, advanced semantics publishing, and automated email notifications and reminders. Features like these make it easy for both humans and machines all over the world to discover, access, cite, and reuse published research.

Senckenberg Nature Research Society transfers three journals to ARPHA Platform

Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny, Vertebrate Zoology and Geologica Saxonica are the latest historic titles to select the various services and advanced technology provided by the OA-born scholarly publishing platform

One of the largest natural research associations in Germany, the Senckenberg Nature Research Society moved three of its international, open-access scholarly journals to the publishing platform ARPHA, following a recent contract with the scientific publisher and technology provider Pensoft.

Having opted for the white-label publishing solution, the journals remain under the brand of the Society and the Senckenberg Natural History Collections Dresden, one of the oldest natural-science museums in the world. Despite transitioning to a new platform, the past volumes of the journals remain accessible from a link on their website homepages.

Following their recent move to the Pensoft-developed publishing platform, Arthropod Systematics & PhylogenyVertebrate Zoology and Geologica Saxonica have not only acquired their own glossy and user-friendly websites, but have also taken advantage from ARPHA’s signature fast-track, end-to-end publishing system, which is to benefit all journal users: authors, reviewers and editors alike. In addition, the journals are already using many of the unique services offered by ARPHA, including publication in PDF, semantically enhanced HTML and machine-readable XML formats; advanced data publishing; sub-article-level usage metrics; automated export of sub-article elements and data to key aggregators; web-service integrations with major indexing and archiving databases; and others.

In particular, to the appeal of the authors, editors and reviewers, the ARPHA’s collaboration-centred online environment takes care after each submitted manuscript during the review, editing, publication, dissemination and archiving stages, so that no one needs to deal with locally stored files and their transfer by email or third-party cloud storages. Additionally, the platform is designed to regularly notify the users about any required action, thus sparing the burden of unnecessary communication and ensuring the speedy processing of manuscripts.

All three journals operate a Diamond Open Access policy, thanks to the support of the Senckenberg Nature Research Society, making the journals free to publish for all authors.

Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny

Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny is the successor of the historical Entomologische Abhandlungen, formerly published by the Museum of Zoology at Dresden.

Its scope covers the taxonomy, morphology, anatomy, phylogeny, historical biogeography and palaeontology of arthropod taxa, but excludes faunistics and research with a strong regional focus. Descriptions of new taxa are only welcome when embedded in a wider context, for example, a phylogenetic, evolutionary, or biogeographical framework.

Currently, the journal enjoys an Impact Factor of 1.51 and a continuously increasing Scopus CiteScore.

Vertebrate Zoology

Similarly, Vertebrate Zoology was preceded by Zoologische Abhandlungen, also formerly published by the Museum of Zoology at Dresden. Its first publications since the move to ARPHA Platform and part of the first journal volume for 2021 are already a fact.

The journal deals with research on taxonomy, morphology, anatomy, phylogeny, historical biogeography and palaeontology of vertebrates. Again, descriptions of new taxa should be integrated into a proper context, for example, a complete revision of a taxon. To support accountability and reproducibility in science and academia, the journal requires that studied specimens have to be deposited in a public scientific collection.

Vertebrate Zoology’s Impact Factor is currently standing at 1.167, while its last Scopus CiteScore reached 2.1 (2019).

Geologica Saxonica

Geologica Saxonica – Journal of Central European Geology, began its life in distant 1876, when it was founded under the name Mitteilungen aus dem Königlichen Mineralogisch-Geologischen und Prähistorischen Museum by German geologist Hanns Bruno Geinitz, renowned for his work on the Carboniferous and Cretaceous rocks and fossils of Saxony.

The journal’s scope ecompasses geology, paleontology, stratigraphy, petrography, mineralogy and geoscience history with focus on Central Europe.

“At Pensoft, we are delighted to support a world-renowned natural history association like Senckenberg in carrying its legacy and treasure of knowledge into our days and well beyond. Now, with ARPHA’s white-label solution, we’re certain that the journals will simultaneously preserve their identity and enjoy all perks of modern and technologically advanced publishing,”

comments Pensoft and ARPHA’s founder and CEO Prof. Lyubomir Penev.

“We are very pleased to have found reliable partners in Pensoft and the ARPHA platform for our three publications to further increase their visibility. Senckenberg’s scientific publications have a long – almost 200-year tradition – and are now shown in a new and innovative design with unprecedented information retrieval options!”

says Prof. Dr. Uwe Fritz, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Vertebrate Zoology and head of the Department of Zoology at Senckenberg Natural History Collections in Dresden.

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Senckenberg is not the first prestigious German research institution to sign an agreement with Pensoft and ARPHA Platform. Since 2014, the Natural History Museum Berlin has trusted the publisher with its own historical titles in the Biology domain: Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift and Zoosystematics and Evolution. In 2017, Evolutionary Systematics by the University of Hamburg, another prominent journal with a legacy in the field of Zoology, followed suit. Last year, Zitteliana, a historical scholarly journal covering all fields of paleontology and geobiology by the State Natural History Collection of Bavaria (SNSB) also announced its joining the journal portfolio of Pensoft and ARPHA Platform.

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Making the most of conferences with modern publishing and indexing practices

Given scientific conferences present academics with the fantastic opportunity to meet up and discuss their latest work, as well as share their vision for the future of their field, it’s no wonder that, historically, the majority of ground-breaking science can easily be traced back to a particular event.

This said, don’t you think that we need to do everything within our powers to ensure the visibility, dissemination and long-term accessibility of research presented and linked to these wonderful drivers of scientific progress that conferences are? Similarly to the care conference organisers take to make sure the event runs smoothly and the attendants are happy with the programme and enjoy themselves, the organisational committee should also be thinking how to preserve all those promising pieces of research well after the event is over.

Here at Pensoft, an open-access scholarly publisher, founded by scientists, we’ve been contemplating for a while now how to encourage and support the community to efficiently open up the valuable outputs to researchers and readers well beyond the publication of abstracts in an abstract book of the conference. 

As a result, we came up with several simple, yet efficient publishing solutions for scientific conferences to collect and contextualise various research outputs either presented at or resulting from the event.

Bear in mind that with any solution, all publications enjoy the benefits seen in conventional research papers, such as:

  • Crossref registration and individual DOI to ensure preservation;
  • Publication in PDF, semantically enhanced HTML and data-minable XML formats to improve readability, accessibility and findability;
  • Indexing and archiving at multiple, industry leading databases to increase visibility;
  • PR and social media promotion to boost outreach to various audiences.

Collections of conference abstracts, posters and presentations

Conference (video) abstracts, posters and presentations are easily the first to fall victims of the ephemerality of an event, yet these are too often the stepping stones to major scientific discoveries. This is why a few years back we launched ARPHA Conference Abstracts (ACA), where conference organisers can open their own collection and provide the participants with submission, review and publication of their abstracts ahead of the conference.

Furthermore, these abstracts can be handled editorially in sub-collections, e.g. the convenors of symposia or working groups within a conference will take care of the abstracts submitted to them, thus spreading the editorial workload across larger teams of editors and organisers.

Not only will conference organisers spare themselves the worries about providing a special platform for abstracts submissions, but this will also facilitate presenting authors, who will be able to easily point to their contribution before, during or after their presentations. On the contrary, the abstracts are assigned with DOIs, published in human-readable PDF and HTML and machine-actionable JATS XML, permanently preserved on ARPHA and Zenodo, and easy to find, access and cite, just like a conventional research paper, providing authors with full credit for their work early on.

Further, with ACA, the conference abstracts can be enhanced into what we call “extended abstracts”, meaning they can also include data, images, videos and multimedia. After the conferences, we can add video recordings of the presentations or graphic files of posters, so that these are visualised on the page of each abstract.

For example, take a look at the conference abstract collection of the Vth International Congress on Biodiversity: “Taxonomy, Speciation and Euro-Mediterranean Biodiversity”.

Conference proceedings

About the time we launched ACA, we also created ARPHA Proceedings, in order to also find a place for full-text conference papers. Similarly, the platform supports dedicated collections, where conference attendants are invited to submit and publish dynamically articles under the imprint of the event.

Conference papers in ARPHA Proceedings can also include data, figures and citations, and can also be updated with video recordings, posters and presentations following the conference.

Check out an example by the VI International Forum on Teacher Education.

Article topical collections and special issues resulting from conferences

Naturally, papers resulting from a particular conference are contextually linked, so a one-stop place to discover topical studies sharing one and the same topic would be greatly appreciated by readers and future researchers. In turn, this would lead to better viewership and citability of the papers in the collection.

With our user-friendly, dedicated workflow for special issues and permanent topical article collections, we’ve made it easy for guest editors across our journals to pitch and manage article collections, in order to bring together valuable and related studies. Using such a collection under the theme of your conference in a suitable journal, you can invite your conference’s participants or, better yet, all scientists working within the field, to submit their work in a nice package of topical science. We’d be happy to assist you with the identification of the most suitable journal for your conference, authors and goals.

See an example from One Ecosystem and the collection “Mapping and assessment of ecosystem condition and ecosystem services across different scales and domains in Europe”, the result from the “Mapping and assessment of ecosystem services – Science in action” conference, held in 2017.

Bringing together traditional and non-conventional research outputs, (e.g. research ideas, grant proposals, conference materials or workshop reports) with RIO Journal’s article collections

Undoubtedly, valuable research outcomes come in many shapes and sizes well beyond research papers, conference abstracts, posters and proceedings. We are firm supporters that every research item, even early and interim outputs, could be of value to the scientist next in line within a particular study.

This is why we launched the award-winning journal Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO), where your collections can include both conventional and non-traditional research outputs, such as research ideas, posters, workshop reports, forum papers, policy briefs, software and data management plans to name a few. Furthermore, in RIO, you can even link articles or preprints published elsewhere to your collection via their metadata. Similarly to other Pensoft journals, in RIO, you will have the full control to whom you are opening your collection for submissions, allowing you to either limit it to the outcomes coming from your conference or welcome submissions from other researchers as well.

A permanent topical collection in RIO Journal may include a diverse range of both traditional and unconventional research outputs, as well as links to publications from outside the journal (see What can I publish on the journal’s website). 

See the Brainhack 2016 Project Reports, whose aim is to collate reports from the 2016 Brainhack events. Also, check out the collection of the European Biodiversity Observation Network (EU BON) Project, providing a nice example for a wide range of publication types.

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Don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your own case and select the best option for your conference – we’ll be happy to hear from you!

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Pensoft signs with Senckenberg Nature Research Society to publish three journals on ARPHA

Recently, the scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft signed with one of the largest natural research associations in Germany: the Senckenberg Nature Research Society, to publish three journals: Arthropod Systematics & PhylogenyVertebrate Zoology and Geologica Saxonica on behalf of the Senckenberg Natural History Collections Dresden, one of the oldest natural-science museums in the world.

Expected to move to the Pensoft-developed technologically advanced scholarly publishing platform ARPHA later in 2020, the three academic outlets will not only acquire their own glossy and user-friendly websites, but will also take advantage from ARPHA’s signature fast-track, end-to-end publishing system, which is to benefit all journal users: authors, reviewers and editors alike. In addition, the journals will use all unique services offered by ARPHA, such as data publishing, linked data tables, semantic markup and enhancements, automated export of sub-article elements and data to aggregators, web-service integrations with more than 40 world-class indexing and archiving databases, sub-article-level usage metrics, and more.

Thereby, each submitted manuscript will be carried through the review, editing, publication, dissemination and archiving stages without leaving ARPHA’s collaboration-centred online environment. The articles are to be available in PDF, machine-readable JATS XML formats, and semantically enriched HTML for better reader experience to ensure they are easy to discover, access, cite and reuse.

Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny succeeded the historical Entomologische Abhandlungen, formerly published by the Museum of Zoology, Dresden, in 2006. Its scope covers the taxonomy, morphology, anatomy, phylogeny, historical biogeography and palaeontology of arthropod taxa.

Similarly, Vertebrate Zoology was preceded by Zoologische Abhandlungen, also formerly published by the Museum of Zoology, Dresden. It deals with research on the taxonomy, morphology, anatomy, phylogeny, historical biogeography and palaeontology of vertebrates.

Meanwhile, Geologica Saxonica – Journal of Central European Geology, began its life in distant 1876, when it was founded under the name Mitteilungen aus dem Koniglichen Mineralogisch-Geologischen und Prahistorischen Museum by German geologist Hanns Bruno Geinitz, renowned for his work on the Carboniferous and Cretaceous rocks and fossils of Saxony.

“At Pensoft, we take pride in our latest partnership with the world-renowned natural history association of Senckenberg. We are certain that our collaboration will bring many advantages to the research community: readers, authors and their affiliates alike,”

comments Pensoft and ARPHA’s founder and CEO Prof. Lyubomir Penev.

Senckenberg is not the first prestigious German research institution to enter into an agreement with Pensoft. Since 2014, the Natural History Museum Berlin has trusted the publisher with its own historical titles in the Biology domain: Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift and Zoosystematics and Evolution. In 2017, Evolutionary Systematics, another prominent journal with a legacy in the field of Zoology by the University of Hamburg followed suit. Zitteliana, a historical scholarly journal covering all fields of paleontology and geobiology by the State Natural History Collection of Bavaria (SNSB) is to also join the journal portfolio of Pensoft and ARPHA Platform in the next months.

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About Senckenberg:

Senckenberg, Research Institutes and Natural History Museums, conduct research in bio- and geoscience. Major research fields are biodiversity and ecosystem research and the research on the entire Earth-Human-Earth system. Senckenberg headquarters are located in Frankfurt am Main, but research on marine, terrestrial and climate systems is also housed at additional nine locations throughout Germany: in Dresden, Gelnhausen, Gorlitz, Hamburg, Messel, Muncheberg, Tubingen, Weimar and Wilhelmshaven. Senckenberg employs about 1,000 people, including 300 scientists. Senckenberg scientists are active in projects worldwide, most of which are international collaborations with universities and other research institutions. Senckenberg hosts biological and geological research collections with more than 35 million series.

Food Modelling Journal: New open-access venue provides a platform for food scientists

The open-access Food Modelling Journal (FMJ) was launched by the AGINFRA+ community and Pensoft with the aim to encourage food science specialists, agronomists and computer scientists to come together and work on assuring and improving food supply, quality and safety in our globalised and rapidly changing world.

An introductory editorial and an article of a unique publication type are already made available in the next-generation journal

The open-access Food Modelling Journal (FMJ) was launched by the AGINFRA+ community and Pensoft with the aim to encourage food science specialists, agronomists and computer scientists to come together and work on assuring and improving food supply, quality and safety in our globalised and rapidly changing world.

The Food Modelling Journal will be focusing on the publication of information objects and digital resources in the food science field, related (but not limited) to: food safety, food quality, food control, food defence and food design, documenting experimental or observational data and mathematical models.

By providing a platform and tools for describing scientific records and crediting for dedicated models, data, data analytics workflows and software, FMJ fosters the overall reproducibility and reusability of research.

FMJ also aims to shed light on what we refer to as research objects – data, software scripts, visualisation routines or models. Usually, they would stay undervalued, underused and uncredited, despite their importance for the scientific progress.

The focus and scope of the journal are supported by a number of specific key features:

  • Quality but not quantity
  • Cross-disciplinary approach
  • Open data and software code policy
  • Rapid turnaround time
  • Advanced open access and machine-readability.

It should be noted that the Open Science movement and the barrier-free access to research, is at the heart of the FMJ project.

To support its authors, the AGINFRA+ community, Pensoft and Food Modelling Journal have provided them access to the ARPHA Writing Tool, where researchers are able to work together with their co-authors, colleagues and peers on manuscripts from the drafting stage to publication.

A FSKX model run using the executable paper feature available in Food Modelling Journal.

A particularly appealing feature, meant to promote reproducibility, collaboration and openness in science, is the executable papers, where users can reproduce research findings using the published model and running it either with default or new parameters. By clicking an “Execute” button within the body of the article, users are taken to an external virtual environment where they will be able to execute the computation. By ‘encapsulating’ all the details needed to perform the action within the paper, this feature ensures that the published findings will remain testifiable in the future.

“While the long-lasting tradition in science used to focus on crediting researchers’ work through conventional research articles and especially by counting their citations, many exciting, useful and often invaluable products of the research cycle, such as data, software scripts, visualisation routines or models (usually called “research objects”) normally stay undervalued, underused and uncredited, despite their importance for scientific progress,” note the editorial board in the introductory editorial.

“The consequences of this neglect of the initial and intermediate steps of the research cycle in favour of the research articles or research books are obvious: scientists often repeat efforts done by others instead of using these as a stepping stone for further analyses and generating new knowledge, let alone the impossible or restricted reproducibility and reusability of research results,” they add.

The first paper of a unique publication type: FSKX (Food Safety Knowledge), is already publicly accessible in the journal. Classified as an early research outcome, the article presents a new generic model for assessing the risk of salmonellosis associated with the consumption of table eggs. To ensure the reusability of the model, the research team of Virginie Desvignes (ANSES – French Food Safety Agency) have made it available in the Food Safety Knowledge Markup Language (FSK-ML) format alongside the executable model script, visualisation script and simulation settings.

FSK-ML is an open information exchange format that is based on harmonised terms, metadata and controlled vocabulary to harmonise annotations of risk assessment models and that was significantly improved and extended during the AGINFRA+ project.

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Follow Food Modelling Journal on Twitter and Facebook.

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Food Modelling Journal is indexed by BASE, CNKI, CrossRef, Dimensions, Google Scholar, J-Gate, Mendeley, Microsoft Academic, Naviga (Softweco), OCLC WorldCat, OpenAIRE, OpenCitations, ReadCube, Transpose, Ulrichsweb™ and Unpaywall; and archived at CLOCKSS, Zenodo and Portico.

Strategic collaboration agreement signed between ScienceOpen and Pensoft

The research discovery platform ScienceOpen and Pensoft Publishers have entered into a strategic collaboration partnership with the aim of strengthening the companies’ identities as the leaders of innovative content dissemination.

The research discovery platform ScienceOpen and Pensoft Publishers have entered into a strategic collaboration partnership with the aim of strengthening the companies’ identities as the leaders of innovative content dissemination. The new cooperation will focus on the unified indexation, the integration of Pensoft’s ARPHA Platform content into ScienceOpen and the utilization of novel streams of scientific communication for the published materials.

Pensoft is an independent academic publishing company, well known worldwide for bringing novelty through its cutting-edge publishing tools and for its commitment to open access practices. In 2013, Pensoft launched the first ever, end-to-end, XML-based, authoring, reviewing and publishing workflow, now upgraded to the ARPHA Publishing Platform. As of today, ARPHA hosts over 50 open access, peer-reviewed scholarly journals: the whole Pensoft portfolio in addition to titles owned by learned societies, university presses and research institutions.

As part of the strategic collaboration, all Pensoft content and journals hosted on ARPHA are indexed in the ScienceOpen’s research and discovery environment, which puts them into thematic context of over 60 million articles and books. In addition, thousands of articles across more than 20 journals were integrated into a “Pensoft Biodiversity” Collection. Combined this way, the content benefits from the special infrastructure of ScienceOpen Collections, which supports thematic groups of articles and books equipped with a unique landing page, a built-in search engine and an overview of the featured content. The Collections can be reviewed, recommended and shared by users, which facilitates academic debate and increases the discoverability of the research.

The Pensoft Biodiversity collection is available from: https://www.scienceopen.com/collection/PensoftBiodiversity

“It is certainly great news and a much-anticipated milestone for Pensoft, ARPHA and our long-year partners and supporters from ScienceOpen to have brought our collaboration to a new level by indexing the whole ARPHA-hosted content at ScienceOpen,” comments Pensoft’s and ARPHA’s CEO and founder Prof. Lyubomir Penev. “Most of all, the integration between ARPHA and ScienceOpen at an infrastructural level means that we will be able to offer this incredible service and increased visibility to newcoming journals right away. On the other hand, by streaming fresh and valuable publicly accessible content to the ScienceOpen database, these journals will be further adding to the growth of science in the open.”

Stephanie Dawson, CEO of ScienceOpen says, “I am particularly excited to add new high-quality, open access biodiversity content from Pensoft Publishers to the ScienceOpen discovery environment as we have a very active community of researchers on ScienceOpen creating and sharing Collections in this field. We are looking forward to working with Pensoft’s innovative journals to support their open science goals.”

The collaboration reflects not only the commitment of both Pensoft and ScienceOpen to new methods of knowledge dissemination, but also the joint mission to champion open science through innovation. The two companies will cooperate at a strategic level in order to increase the international outreach of their content and services, and to make them even more accessible to the broad community.

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About ScienceOpen:

From promotional collections to Open Access hosting and full publishing packages, ScienceOpen provides next-generation services to academic publishers embedded in an interactive discovery platform. ScienceOpen was founded in 2013 in Berlin and Boston by Alexander Grossmann and Tibor Tscheke to accelerate research communication.

All Pensoft journals indexed in Transpose to support transparency in journal policies

All open-access, peer-reviewed academic titles of Pensoft‘s, as well as those using the white-label publishing solution provided by the scholarly publishing platform ARPHA, have their journal policy data fed into the Transpose database, in order to increase their discoverability and transparency.

Thanks to the recent integration with the community-sourced initiative Transpose, details about each journal’s approach to peer review, co-review and preprint publication can be easily accessed, navigated and compared through a user-friendly interface. Visitors can also query the data by journal title, publisher, ISSN or DOI, and apply several filters.

Having estimated that almost 1/3 of the top-cited journals across disciplines do not provide clearly basic information about their editorial policies, including whether they operate blind peer review or not, the team behind Transpose launched the forward-thinking community-sourced initiative with the aim to advance practices in academia and increase awareness and transparency amongst authors, editors and many other stakeholder groups. To highlight the essentiality of free and easy access to editorial policies for a wide range of actors, Transpose have published user testimonials on their website coming from various points of view, including early researchers, supervisors, project investigators, funders, publishing staff, and others.


Recent integration of the scholarly publishing platform ARPHA and Transpose results in the editorial policies of all ARPHA-hosted journals being fed into the associated database. Thus, various stakeholders from across the academic landscape are provided with an easy access to details about the peer review, co-review and preprint policies at each journal via a user-friendly interface.

Pensoft and ARPHA’s founder and CEO Prof. Lyubomir Penev says:

“Having been Open Science advocates from the very beginning, at Pensoft and ARPHA, we have always supported our clients and users in being as transparent as possible. Favourite examples are the open-science journal Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO), welcoming continuously updatable publications from across the whole research cycle, and Rethinking Ecology, launched to voice innovative and even bold ideas for the purposes of taking swift actions towards the conservation of the environment. The former operates public pre- and post-publication peer review to support efficient collaboration in research, while the latter relies on double-blind peer reviews, in order to encourage researchers of various experience and background to share their inventive ideas in ecology. Obviously, journal policies are and should be crucial when it comes to picking a specific journal over another regardless of the perspective. This is why I am certain that joining Transpose is doing good for all ARPHA-hosted journals, as well as the academic community.”

ASAPbio‘s Executive Director and member of the team behind Transpose, Dr Jessica Polka adds:

“We’re thrilled to incorporate data from Pensoft into Transpose. Making policy information clear and easy to find ensures that authors and reviewers can work with journals that best align with their values — and that scholarly work can be fairly interpreted by everyone, including general readers.”

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Additional information:

About Transpose:

Transpose is an initiative to build a database of journal policies. It focuses on three areas: open peer review, co-reviewing, and detailed pre-printing policies. It welcomes contributions from anyone, but seeks verification from journals and publishers. The goal of Transpose is to foster new practices while increasing awareness among authors, editors, and other stakeholders, and we seek to provide resources to assist journals in setting, sharing, and clarifying their policies.