Pensoft took a BiCIKL ride to Naturalis to report on a 3-year endeavour towards FAIR data

Three years ago, the BiCIKL consortium took to traverse obstacles to wider use and adoption of FAIR and linked biodiversity data.

Leiden – also known as the ‘City of Keys’ and the ‘City of Discoveries’ – was aptly chosen to host the third Empowering Biodiversity Research (EBR III) conference. The two-day conference – this time focusing on the utilisation of biodiversity data as a vehicle for biodiversity research to reach to Policy – was held in a no less fitting locality: the Naturalis Biodiversity Center

On 25th and 26th March 2024, the delegates got the chance to learn more about the latest discoveries, trends and innovations from scientists, as well as various stakeholders, including representatives of policy-making bodies, research institutions and infrastructures. The conference also ran a poster session and a Biodiversity Informatics market, where scientists, research teams, project consortia, and providers of biodiversity research-related services and tools could showcase their work and meet like-minded professionals.

BiCIKL stops at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center

The main outcome of the BiCIKL project: the Biodiversity Knowledge Hub, a one-stop knowledge portal to interlinked and machine-readable FAIR data.

The famous for its bicycle friendliness country also made a suitable stop for BiCIKL (an acronym for the Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library): a project funded under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme that aimed at triggering a culture change in the way users access, (re)use, publish and share biodiversity data. To do this, the BiCIKL consortium set off on a 3-year journey to build on the existing biodiversity data infrastructures, workflows, standards and the linkages between them.

Many of the people who have been involved in the project over the last three years could be seen all around the beautiful venue. Above all, Naturalis is itself one of the partnering institutions at BiCIKL. Then, on Tuesday, on behalf of the BiCIKL consortium and the project’s coordinator: the scientific publisher and technology innovator: Pensoft, Iva Boyadzhieva presented the work done within the project one month ahead of its official conclusion at the end of April.

As she talked about the way the BiCIKL consortium took to traverse obstacles to wider use and adoption of FAIR and linked biodiversity data, she focused on BiCIKL’s main outcome: the Biodiversity Knowledge Hub (BKH).

Key results from the BiCIKL project three years into its existence presented by Pensoft’s Iva Boyadzhieva at the EBR III conference.

Intended to act as a knowledge broker for users who wish to navigate and access sources of open and FAIR biodiversity data, guidelines, tools and services, in practicality, the BKH is a one-stop portal for understanding the complex but increasingly interconnected landscape of biodiversity research infrastructures in Europe and beyond. It collates information, guidelines, recommendations and best practices in usage of FAIR and linked biodiversity data, as well as a continuously expanded catalogue of compliant relevant services and tools.

At the core of the BKH is the FAIR Data Place (FDP), where users can familiarise themselves with each of the participating biodiversity infrastructures and network organisations, and also learn about the specific services they provide. There, anyone can explore various biodiversity data tools and services by browsing by their main data type, e.g. specimens, sequences, taxon names, literature.

While the project might be coming to an end, she pointed out, the BKH is here to stay as a navigation system in a universe of interconnected biodiversity research infrastructures.

To do this, not only will the partners continue to maintain it, but it will also remain open to any research infrastructure that wishes to feature its own tools and services compliant with the linked and FAIR data requirements set by the BiCIKL consortium.

On the event’s website you can access the BiCIKL’s slides presentation as presented at the EBR III conference.

What else was on at the EBR III?

Indisputably, the ‘hot’ topics at the EBR III were the novel technologies for remote and non-invasive, yet efficient biomonitoring; the utilisation of data and other input sourced by citizen scientists; as well as leveraging different types and sources of biodiversity data, in order to better inform decision-makers, but also future-proof the scientific knowledge we have collected and generated to date.

Project’s coordinator Dr Quentin Groom presents the B-Cubed’s approach towards standardised access to biodiversity data for the use of policy-making at the EBR III conference.

Amongst the other Horizon Europe projects presented at the EBR III conference was B-Cubed (Biodiversity Building Blocks for policy). On Monday, the project’s coordinator Dr Quentin Groom (Meise Botanic Garden) familiarised the conference participants with the project, which aims to standardise access to biodiversity data, in order to empower policymakers to proactively address the impacts of biodiversity change.

You can find more about B-Cubed and Pensoft’s role in it in this blog post.

On the event’s website you can access the B-Cubed’s slides presentation as presented at the EBR III conference.

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Dr France Gerard (UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) talks about the challenges in using raw data – including those provided by drones – to derive habitat condition metrics.

MAMBO: another Horizon Europe project where Pensoft has been contributing with expertise in science communication, dissemination and exploitation, was also an active participant at the event. An acronym for Modern Approaches to the Monitoring of BiOdiversity, MAMBO had its own session on Tuesday morning, where Dr Vincent Kalkman (Naturalis Biodiversity Center), Dr France Gerard (UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) and Prof. Toke Høye (Aarhus University) each took to the stage to demonstrate how modern technology developed within the project is to improve biodiversity and habitat monitoring. Learn more about MAMBO and Pensoft’s involvement in this blog post.

MAMBO’s project coordinator Prof. Toke T. Høye talked about smarter technologies for biodiversity monitoring, including camera traps able to count insects at a particular site.

On the event’s website you can access the MAMBO’s slides presentations by Kalkman, Gerard and Høye, as presented at the EBR III conference.

***

The EBR III conference also saw a presentation – albeit remote – from Prof. Dr. Florian Leese (Dean at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, and Editor-in-Chief at the Metabarcoding and Metagenomics journal), where he talked about the promise, but also the challenges for DNA-based methods to empower biodiversity monitoring. 

Amongst the key tasks here, he pointed out, are the alignment of DNA-based methods with the Global Biodiversity Framework; central push and funding for standards and guidance; publication of data in portals that adhere to the best data practices and rules; and the mobilisation of existing resources such as the meteorological ones. 

Prof. Dr. Florian Leese talked about the promise, but also the challenges for DNA-based methods to empower biodiversity monitoring. He also referred to the 2022 Forum Paper: “Introducing guidelines for publishing DNA-derived occurrence data through biodiversity data platforms” by R. Henrik Nilsson et al.

He also made a reference to the Forum Paper “Introducing guidelines for publishing DNA-derived occurrence data through biodiversity data platforms” by R. Henrik Nilsson et al., where the international team provided a brief rationale and an overview of guidelines targeting the principles and approaches of exposing DNA-derived occurrence data in the context of broader biodiversity data. In the study, published in the Metabarcoding and Metagenomics journal in 2022, they also introduced a living version of these guidelines, which continues to encourage feedback and interaction as new techniques and best practices emerge.

***

You can find the programme on the conference website and see highlights on the conference hashtag: #EBR2024.

Don’t forget to also explore the Biodiversity Knowledge Hub for yourself at: https://biodiversityknowledgehub.eu/ 

Providing solutions to restoring the natural water retention function of landscapes: Pensoft joins the SpongeBoost project

At SpongeBoost, Pensoft is to take charge of the project’s identity, while building a strong network, and providing comprehensive knowledge and well-packaged information.

In recent years, Europe’s landscapes have become the victims of extreme events – ranging from floods to droughts – that have caused considerable damage to nature as well as human society. 

With the aim to tackle such severe circumstances, the newly-started Horizon Europe-funded project SpongeBoost will be working towards protecting and promoting natural sponge landscapes

Within SpongeBoost, the functional capacity of sponge landscapes is to be enhanced through building upon existing solutions and their large-scale implementation, but also through innovative approaches.

Pensoft is among the partnering institutions within SpongeBoost and serves as the leader of Work Package #5: “Communication, dissemination, exploitation, showcasing best practices and networking”. WP5 will aim to contribute to the project’s mission by building the overall project identity, building a strong network, and providing comprehensive knowledge and well-packaged information to targeted stakeholders.

The project 

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme with a budget of EUR ~3 million, 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. Having been officially launched in January 2024, SpongeBoost is to wrap up in December 2027. 

The project is part of the EU mission “Adaptation to Climate Change”, whose task is to support EU regions, cities and local authorities in their efforts to build resilience against the impacts of climate change.

The protection and revitalisation of wetlands, particularly through peatland rewetting and river floodplain restoration, plays a central role in this,

says project manager Mathias Scholz from the UFZ. 

SpongeBoost held its official kick-off meeting in late February (2024) in Leipzig, Germany.

To officially kickstart the project, the first consortium meeting took place on 21-23 February in Leipzig, Germany. The kick-off meeting saw all 10 partnering institutions meet in person to officially lay the foundation of a promising collaboration that will flourish over the next four years.

The joint mission before the newly formed consortium is to enhance the natural sponge function of wetlands and soils in Europe, aligning with EU policies for climate adaptation, disaster risk reduction and biodiversity. To achieve that, the project plans to employ both bottom-up and top-down approaches, which will foster networking and synergy at the regional and EU level.

SpongeBoost will focus on five main objectives over the next four years:

  1. Conduct a comprehensive literature review to create a standard reference catalogue for securing and enhancing sponge functions in adaptation to climate change. This catalogue will integrate social, economic, technical, and ecological effects and serve as a widely used resource across Europe and beyond.
  1. Build a knowledge base on existing approaches for enhancing sponge functions, and highlight the reasons for success or failure. The goal is to enable regions and communities to replicate effective transformative solutions. Meanwhile, the consortium is to facilitate networking initiatives with other projects and identify suitable pilot sites for monitoring long-term success using the results of previous projects.
  1. Work on the implementation, tests, refinement, and adjustment of best practices and innovative solutions through EU-wide case studies. The goal is to enhance climate resilience to extreme events and enable upscaling from local to EU levels.
  1. Develop a roadmap with practical tools to empower stakeholders, drive transformative change, and integrate sponge solutions into regional, national and European climate adaptation processes to achieve EU Green Deal targets.
  1. Connect communities and compile online resources for climate change adaptation. The goal is to facilitate access and combine a library of tools for restoration and share research findings on soil, water, and groundwater interconnection for replication across Europe.

In addition to leading the “Communication, dissemination, exploitation, showcasing best practices and networking” work package at SpongeBoost, Pensoft is to also assist the Environmental Action Germany (DUH) in the implementation of different innovative communications methods and ideas meant to support the project’s goals.

As part of the creative communication strategy, DUH will take the lead in the development of a “SpongeBooster superhero” character. By creating such a character that will be also featured in comics, the team will translate complex concepts into clear visuals and engaging narratives, thereby shaping the project’s visual identity and letting non-experts join the discourse. The Sponge Booster is to serve as an innovative method to disseminate project knowledge and address barriers with humour while fostering dialogue and avoiding potential conflicts. 

International Consortium 

The SpongeBoost project brings together a team of 10 partners from seven European countries, spanning research, policy, and management fields. The consortium members, who individually represent various restoration projects, will join forces and expertise to promote collaboration, knowledge exchange and synergies across European regions, to ultimately instil a lasting positive impact on sponge restoration for climate change adaptation.

  1. Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Germany 
  2. Pensoft Publishers, Bulgaria
  3. Wetlands International, the Netherlands
  4. University of Tartu, Estonia
  5. Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic
  6. Iberian Center for River Restoration, Spain
  7. Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds, Portugal
  8. RWTH Aachen University, Germany
  9. Stroming BV, the Netherlands
  10. Environmental Action Germany, Germany

Stay tuned for more project information on the SpongeBoost website coming soon at: www.spongeboost.eu/. In the meantime, you can follow SpongeBoost on social media on X and Linkedin.

Pensoft turns up ‘the voice’ of two strategic EU projects aiming to safeguard nature

CO-OP4CBD & BioAgora are among the latest Horizon Europe projects to benefit from Pensoft’s expertise in science communication and dissemination

Here we are, on our way to wave goodbye the first quarter of the 21st century, and the Earth is still experiencing its largest loss of life and biodiversity since the demise of the dinosaurs

One million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction, many within decades, admits the global Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on the eve of the adoption of its boldest plan ever, the New Global Agreement to Safeguard Nature.


Europe is a major player in the political response to this global crisis mobilised through its own Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. In recognition of its global responsibilities, the EU has taken bold steps towards global leadership in setting policies and commitments. 

However, political commitments are not sufficient to mitigate and reverse biodiversity loss. To secure the future of the planet and society politicians, business leaders, scientists and society leaders must all prioritise the conservation and restoration of ecosystems through strong legislation and smart decisions. 

The recently adopted by the CBD Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) provides the basis for the instruments for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and for equitable sharing of their benefits, including the genetic resources.


About the projects

The new Horizon Europe-funded projects CO-OP4CBD (abbreviation for Co-operation for the Convention on Biological Diversity) and BioAgora (or Bio Knowledge Agora) unite experts from renowned European organisations to enhance the coordination and strengthen the EU support for the implementation of the Convention. 

Both projects will make more effective use of existing networks of experts with the aim to transform the EU policy-making process by supplying decision-makers with access to top European scientific expertise on biodiversity and social transformation.


CO-OP4CBD
Logo of the Horizon Europe project CO-OP4CBD
(abbreviation for Cooperation for the Convention on Biological Diversity).

CO-OP4CBD kicked-off in December 2022 and will be running until 2026 with the grant of EUR 4 million, provided by the European Union’s Horizon Europe programme. 

The project will put in place a mechanism for mobilising, engaging and sharing expertise necessary for effective participation of EU member States and bodies in the CBD policy and decision-making processes. 

Experts will provide advice to the European Commission, Member States and associated countries’ delegations of negotiators and technical experts.

CO-OP4CBD kick off meeting in Brussels (Belgium), February 2023.

Furthermore, the project will increase access to European expertise through enhanced mechanisms for promoting technical and scientific cooperation not only for negotiations, but also for implementation, monitoring and review of the efforts of the Parties towards the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

You can visit COOP4CBD on coop4cbd.eu and follow the project on Twitter (@coop4cbd) and LinkedIn (/COOP4CBD).

Consortium:

The consortium of CO-OP4CBD comprises 9 universities and research centers from across Europe. Together, they bring together experts from various backgrounds with extensive experience in EU projects in the field of biodiversity.

Full list of partners:


BioAgora
Logo of the Horizon Europe project BioAgora
(abbreviation for Bio Knowledge Agora).

BioAgora was launched in July 2022 and is a five-year project with nearly EUR 12 million granted from the European Union’s Horizon Europe programme. 

The project is tasked to build the Science Service for Biodiversity platform (SSBD) as the scientific pillar of the EU Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity (KCBD).

The KCBD, the European Commission’s initiative on better knowledge management for policy-making on biodiversity, plays a central role in the EU biodiversity policy landscape, and therefore BioAgora will support orchestrating a harmonious dialogue among scientists, other knowledge holders and policy actors in the biodiversity policy arena.

The project partners believe that science, policy, and society need to work closer together, if they wish to enable the sustainability transformation in Europe.

BioAgora kick-off meeting, Helsinki (Finland), November 2022.

A key part of this transformation will depend on a stronger role of knowledge, whether from science or practitioner experience in decision-making and implementation of decisions on the ground. BioAgora aims to facilitate this interaction. 

“Biodiversity and natural capital have to be integrated into public and business decision-making at all levels.
Collective actions and pluralistic principles have to be at the core of biodiversity policy-making efforts, which is why the Science Service for Biodiversity is envisioned as a bridge between science, policy, and society.”

comments project coordinator Kati Vierikko from the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).

Visit BioAgora on https://bioagora.eu/. You can also follow the project on Twitter (@BioAgoraEU), LinkedIn (BioAgora Project) and YouTube (@BioAgoraProject).

Consortium:

The consortium of BioAgora consists of 22 partnering organisations from thirteen European countries, all of which bring their extensive knowledge of biodiversity policy and decision-making. 

Full list of partners:

  • SYKE: Finnish Environment Institute
  • UB: The University of Bucharest
  • UniTrento: The University of Trento
  • INRAE: National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment
  • EV INBO: Research Institute of Nature and Forest
  • PBL: Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management
  • NINA: Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
  • UFZ: Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
  • DC: Delbaere Consulting
  • FVB-IGB: Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries
  • CREAF: Ecological and Forestry Applications Research Centre
  • ESSRG: Environmental social science research group
  • PENSOFT: Pensoft Publishers
  • ERCE PAN: European Regional Centre for Ecohydrology
  • Euronovia
  • WR: Wageningen University & Research
  • ECSA: European Citizen Science Association
  • AWI: Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
  • UNEP-WCMC
  • UK CEH: UK Centre For Ecology & Hydrology
  • Alternet Europe
  • OPPLA

Transformative changes for biodiversity and climate protection: Pensoft partners with EU project TRANSPATH

As an expert in science communication, dissemination and exploitation, Pensoft joins TRANSPATH for transformative changes at consumer, producer and organisational levels.

As an expert in science communication, dissemination and exploitation, Pensoft joins the Horizon-funded project TRANSPATH to identify leverage points and interventions for triggering transformative changes at consumer, producer and organisational levels.

Why TRANSPATH?

The magnitude of biodiversity loss and climate crisis has grown exponentially in recent years, which will inevitably lead to serious consequences at a global scale. Although reversing the degradation of ecosystems and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are top priorities for the European Union, science and policy communities are united in the belief that conventional policies alone are not enough to halt biodiversity loss or mitigate climate change.

In order to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, whilst simultaneously reshaping people’s relations with nature, we need transformative changes in our economies and societies urgently. 

How?

TRANSPATH (short for TRANSformative PATHways for synergising just biodiversity and climate actions) – a new European Union-funded project, plans to satisfy this need by accelerating diverse transformative pathways towards biodiversity-positive and climate-proofed societies, with sensitivity to social-cultural contexts and rights.

TRANSPATH will identify leverage points and interventions for triggering transformative changes at consumer, producer and organisational levels. A research team, consisting of leading academics, science-policy experts, and early-career professionals, will directly engage with diverse stakeholders, who affect and are affected by trade regimes and associated ‘greening’ mechanisms.

As a leader of WP5: Dissemination, outreach and catalysing transformative pathways, Pensoft is responsible for providing a dissemination and communication strategy, as well as taking care of the project branding and website. In addition, the Pensoft team is to organise joint activities with other projects or initiatives on transformative change and related topics.

What?

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, TRANSPATH was launched on 1st November 2022 and will be running until October 2026. The official kick-off of the project took place online and was followed by an in-person kick-off meeting of all consortium members on the 2nd and 3rd February 2023 in Wageningen, the Netherlands.

For the next four years TRANSPATH will be focussing on the design and integrated assessment of a suite of transformative pathways that hold potential to accelerate shifts in unsustainable patterns of extraction, production, consumption and trade. The project’s mission will be achieved by four objectives:

  1. Set up a Policy Board and Science-policy-practitioner Labs at multiple scales to engage and jointly deliberate on implications of diverse visions and pathways of change.
  2. Identify and characterise leverage points for diverse contexts that lead to positive synergies between biodiversity, climate and trade domains.
  3. Integrate and customise European and global pathways by considering coupled biodiversity-climate actions and critical leverage points.
  4. Identify and test alternative interventions at global and European scales that can trigger transformative change at the level of consumers, producers and organisations.

TRANSPATH will bring together and advance several strands of recent research, which hold potential for triggering and accelerating transformative changes that can restrain biodiversity loss and climate change. 

The project will draw on diverse contexts in Eastern and Western Europe, Africa and Latin America, to engage with policy makers and practitioners, individuals, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and multinational corporations.

In addition, policy packages and other interventions will be designed to facilitate the emergence of leverage points at different scales of action in ways that change the decision-making framework of everyday choices.

These interventions take into account the synergies and trade-offs of actions across multiple individuals and locations, as well as the role of incentives and political obstacles to implementation.

The EU project will provide a suite of Transformative Pathways along with a Toolbox of Transformative Interventions to trigger and enable these pathways. The Transformative Navigation Toolkit assists practitioners in enabling and navigating these pathways, acknowledging that determining what constitutes a ‘transformative pathway’ is also a product of an iterative and adaptive process that emerges and evolves over time.

Whom?

The TRANSPATH project brings together leading academics, science-policy experts, and young professionals from different social-cultural origins across Eastern and Western Europe, Africa and Latin America. Represented by nine countries and twelve nationalities, the consortium comprises a diverse range of scientific disciplines in environments, economics, and social sciences.

Dedicated to ensuring sufficient engagement from local to global levels in this project, the experts are focused on integrated and inclusive deliberation that is essential for identifying, legitimising, and navigating transformative pathways.

Full list of partners

You can find more about the project on the TRANSPATH website: transpath.eu. Stay up to date with the project’s progress on Twitter (@TRANSPATH_EU) and Linkedin (/transpath-project).

Novel tech for research & protection of marine biodiversity: Pensoft joins EU project ANERIS

Pensoft joins the ANERIS consortium as an expert in science communication with the goal to engage stakeholders and build an active community

Coastal and marine biodiversity has been declining at an alarming rate in recent years due to anthropogenic activity, climate change, ocean acidification and other factors. 

To help protect and preserve these precious ecosystems, the new research project under the name of ANERIS (operAtional seNsing lifE technologies for maRIne ecosystemS) and coordinated by the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC) was launched under the Horizon Europe program.

ANERIS aims to contribute to improving the understanding, monitoring and protection of these ecosystems through technological, scientific and methodological innovation in the fields of marine life-sensing and monitoring.

Pensoft is joining the ANERIS consortium as a leader of WP6 Exploitation, Communication and Networking. The Pensoft team is to develop and implement sustainable communication and dissemination strategies, which will ensure the impactful knowledge exchange between partners and external stakeholders.

In addition, Pensoft is responsible for the development of a long-lasting brand identity of the project, which shall be reached by establishing and maintaining a user-friendly and eye-appealing public website. The overall visual identity of ANERIS will be supported by a set of innovatively-designed promotional materials

The project

ANERIS launched in January 2023 and will be running until December 2026 with the support of EUR 10 million of funding provided by the European Union’s Horizon Europe program and the work on the project officially kicked off with the project’s first consortium meeting, which took place on the 8th and 9th of March 2023 in Barcelona, Spain. 

The joint mission of the ANERIS partners for the next four years is to build the next generation of marine-sensing instruments and infrastructure for systematic routine measurements and monitoring of oceanic and coastal life, and their rapid interpretation and dissemination to all interested stakeholders.

In total, ANERIS aims to pioneer 11 novel technologies rerelated to marine ecosystem monitoring, data processing and dissemination:

  • NANOMICS – NAnopore sequeNcing for Operational Marine genomICS
  • MARGENODAT – workflows for the MARine GENOmics DAta managemenT
  • SLIM-2.0 – A Virtual Environment for genomic data analysis (ANERIS extended version)
  • EMUAS – Expandable Multi-imaging Underwater Acquisition System
  • AIES-ZOO – Automatic Information Extraction System for ZOOplankton images
  • AIES-PHY – Automatic Information Extraction System for PHYtoplankton images
  • ATIRES – Automatic underwaTer Image REstoration System
  • AIES-MAC – Automatic Information Extraction System for MACroorganisms
  • AMAMER – Advanced Multiplatform App for Marine lifE Reporting
  • AMOVALIH – Advanced Marine Observations VALidation-Identification system based on Hybrid intelligence
  • AWIMAR – Adaptive Web Interfaces for MARine life reporting, sharing and consulting

These technologies will be validated across four ANERIS case studies which aim to bridge the gaps between existing technologies and incorporate them into a functional technological framework:

  • High-temporal resolution marine life monitoring in research infrastructure observatories;
  • Improved spatial and temporal resolution of marine life monitoring based on genomics;
  • Large scale marine participatory actions;
  • Merging imaging and genomic information in different monitoring scenarios.

The final goal of the project through the creation and validation of these novel technologies and involving academia, industry, governments and civil society, is to build up the concept of Operational Marine Biology (OMB) to provide faster, higher quality, reliable, and accessible marine and coastal life data. OMB opens the door for near-real-time marine observations, data interpretation and decision making based on that data.

International Consortium

The interdisciplinary ANERIS consortium consists of 25 partnering organisations from 13 countries around Europe, the Mediterranean basin and Israel, bringing diverse expertise spanning from robotics, biooptics, marine biology and genomics, to programming and sustainability.

Many partners represent acclaimed scientific institutions with rich experience in collaboration in EU projects, specifically in the fields of marine research.

Full list of partners:

Visit the ANERIS website on https://www.aneris.eu/. You can also follow the project on Twitter (@ANERISproject), LinkedIn (/ANERIS Project) and Instagram (@aneris_project).

Pensoft joins EU-funded project SOLO, supporting the EU Mission “A Soil Deal for Europe”

Apart from communication, dissemination and data management tasks, within SOLO, Pensoft is also responsible for the development of the key project output: the SOLO platform

The issue at hand

As the foundation of our food systems, healthy soils are essential for life on Earth. They provide clean water and habitats for biodiversity while contributing to climate resilience and support our cultural heritage and landscapes and are the basis of our economy and prosperity.

Soils are under multiple pressures, including climate change, urbanisation, pollution, overexploitation, nutrient mining and biodiversity loss with the European Commission estimating that under current management practices, it’s between 60% and 70% of our soils that are unhealthy.

The ‘deal’ with soils

The EU Mission “A Soil Deal for Europe” aims to address these issues by:

  • funding an ambitious research and innovation programme with a strong social science component;

  •  putting in place an effective network of 100 living labs and lighthouses to co-create knowledge, test solutions and demonstrate their value in real-life conditions;

  • developing a harmonised framework for soil monitoring in Europe;

  •  raising people’s awareness on the vital importance of soils.

Achieving those objectives requires a direct involvement of a wide range of stakeholders, bringing together multiple perspectives in ecological, environmental, economic and social contexts.

The project

SOLO launched in December 2022 and will be running until November 2027 with the support of 5 million euros provided by the European Union’s Horizon Europe program. 

SOLO will identify current knowledge gaps, drivers, bottlenecks, and novel research and innovation approaches to be considered in the European Soil Mission research and innovation roadmap.

The project aims to create a knowledge hub for soil health research and innovation that will last beyond the project’s lifespan by establishing strategic partnerships and by implementing a participatory and transparent process.

The project will implement Think Tanks, one for each Mission objective, with the aim of co-creating knowledge and identifying the knowledge gaps, drivers, bottlenecks, and novel approaches in terms of research and innovation.

The Think Tanks will consist of groups of experts who will together tackle the issues regarding soil health, set out in the EU Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’.
Together with an open digital platform, based on Pensoft’s ARPHA Writing Tool, the Think Tanks will function as an operational tool for implementing a participatory process that will last beyond SOLO’s lifespan.

The project will engage users at regional, national and European level to support the co-design of comprehensive research and innovation roadmaps for the Soil Mission and identify knowledge gaps and novel avenues for European soil research and innovation in the context of the Soil Mission objectives. 

Furthermore, SOLO will identify, describe and assess the drivers and barriers to soil health in Europe, develop dynamic roadmaps as effective research and innovation agendas for the Soil Mission with a particular focus on the integration and synthesis across sectors.

The 3rd Global Soil Biodiversity Conference (March 2023; Dublin, Ireland) saw several talks by researchers involved in the SOLO project, while communication materials provided additional information to the delegates who stopped by the Pensoft exhibition stand.

You can find out more about the project on the Soils for Europe (SOLOwebsitesoils4europe.eu. Stay up to date with the project’s progress on Twitter (@soils4europe) and LinkedIn (/Soils-for-Europe).

UPDATE: The Soils for Europe journal is NOW LIVE at: https://journal.soils4europe.eu/.


The innovative open-access digital publishing platform provides a forum for open review and co-creation of the European Mission Soil research and innovation roadmaps in support of more integrative and encompassing policies aiming to achieve improvements in soil health and a thriving environment for soil-related research in Europe.

The consortium

SOLO’s consortium comprises a European network of established professionals from the academic and non-academic fields from various backgrounds, who have agreed to work collaboratively to fulfil the objectives set by the EU Mission “A Soil Deal for Europe” which aims to create a shared research and innovation vision that will accelerate Europe’s trajectory towards sustainable soil management and restoration as part of a wider, green transition in rural and urban areas.

Full list of partners:
  1. National Resources Institute Finland
  2. University of Leipzig
  3. Pesticide Action Network
  4. Agroecology Europe
  5. Leitat Technological Centre
  6. Netherlands Institute of Ecology
  7. Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research
  8. Lund University
  9. Pensoft Publishers
  10. University of Évora
  11. Institute of Advanced Studies Kőszeg
  12. National Observatory of Athens
  13. Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  14. University of Antwerp
  15. University of Trento
  16. Fraunhofer Society
  17. ICLEI European Secretariat GMBH

Redefining nature-based decision-making: Pensoft joins EU project SELINA

“Ecosystem services is one of the topics that Pensoft has been involved in for over 10 years,” points out COO Prof Pavel Stoev.

Ambitious goals have been set by the European Union, in order to tackle the biodiversity conservation challenges over the coming decade. No less ambitious are the goals of the Horizon Europe project SELINA, which is one of the current major initiatives looking in the same direction. 

SELINA (Science for Evidence-based and Sustainable Decisions about Natural Capital) is a transdisciplinary project aimed at promoting the conservation of biodiversity, enhancing ecosystem conditions, and supporting the sustainable use of the environment through evidence-based decision-making.

As an experienced science communicator and open-science publisher, Pensoft will be leading the project’s communication and dissemination activities.

“Ecosystem services is one of the topics that Pensoft has been involved in for more than 10 years, so it was only natural for us to continue our work as a communicator of scientific information in the ambitious SELINA project as well,”

says Prof Pavel Stoev, COO at Pensoft.

“We have already collaborated with many of the partners within the earlier EC Horizon 2020 project ESMERALDA, which concluded with the launch of a pan-European network of scientific institutions engaged with biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services.

In addition, Pensoft has been strongly connected to the community through the scholarly journal One Ecosystem, which is supported by Ecosystem Services Partnership, and offers an opportunity for scientists in the field to publish their results in a new and innovative way.”

he adds.

The project

SELINA was launched in July 2022 and will run for 5 years. Having received EUR 13 million in funding, the project is seen as an unprecedented opportunity for smart, cost-effective, and nature-based solutions to historic societal challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and food security. 

One of the project’s main objectives is to identify biodiversity, ecosystem condition, and ecosystem service factors that can be successfully integrated into decision-making processes in both the public and private sectors. 

To achieve this objective, SELINA will develop, test, and integrate new and existing knowledge, including methodological approaches to improve biodiversity, ecosystem condition, and ecosystem service information uptake by decision-makers. 

In addition, the project will utilise EU-wide workshops and multi-disciplinary Communities of Practice involving a wide range of stakeholders, including scientists, policymakers, business leaders, and civil society organisations. 

The project will also organise Demonstration Projects on biodiversity, ecosystem condition, and ecosystem service integration in decision-making and co-create a Compendium of Guidance that will allow stakeholders to make full use of the project’s results and fit-for-purpose recommendations with real-world applications in policy-making and business decisions. 

International consortium

SELINA project brings together experts from 50 partnering organisations across all European Union member states, Norway, Switzerland, Israel, and the United Kingdom.

The project comprises a Pan-European and transdisciplinary network of professionals from the academic and non-academic sectors with various (inter)disciplinary backgrounds – including ecologists, economists, social scientists – who have agreed to work collaboratively to support transformative change based on evidence-based decision-making related to the management of natural resources.

Find out more about the project on the SELINA website: project-selina.eu/.

Stay up to date with the project’s progress on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and YouTube.

BiCIKL keeps on adding project outcomes in own collection in RIO Journal

The publications so far include the grant proposal; conference abstracts, a workshop report, guidelines papers and deliverables submitted to the Commission.

The dynamic open-science project collection of BiCIKL, titled “Towards interlinked FAIR biodiversity knowledge: The BiCIKL perspective” (doi: 10.3897/rio.coll.105), continues to grow, as the project progresses into its third year and its results accumulate ever so exponentially. 

Following the publication of three important BiCIKL deliverables: the project’s Data Management Plan, its Visual identity package and a report, describing the newly built workflow and tools for data extraction, conversion and indexing and the user applications from OpenBiodiv, there are currently 30 research outcomes in the BiCIKL collection that have been shared publicly to the world, rather than merely submitted to the European Commission.

Shortly after the BiCIKL project started in 2021, a project-branded collection was launched in the open-science scholarly journal Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO). There, the partners have been publishing – and thus preserving – conclusive research papers, as well as early and interim scientific outputs.

The publications so far also include the BiCIKL grant proposal, which earned the support of the European Commission in 2021; conference abstracts, submitted by the partners to two consecutive TDWG conferences; a project report that summarises recommendations on interoperability among infrastructures, as concluded from a hackathon organised by BiCIKL; and two Guidelines papers, aiming to trigger a culture change in the way data is shared, used and reused in the biodiversity field. 

In fact, one of the Guidelines papers, where representatives of the Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF), the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) and the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) came together to publish their joint statement on best practices for the citation of authorities of scientific names, has so far generated about 4,000 views by nearly 3,000 unique readers.

At the time of writing, the top three of the most read papers in the BiCIKL collection is completed by the grant proposal and the second Guidelines paper, where the partners – based on their extensive and versatile experience – present recommendations about the use of annotations and persistent identifiers in taxonomy and biodiversity publishing. 

Access to data and services along the entire data and research life cycle in biodiversity science.
The figure was featured in the BiCIKL grant proposal, now made available from the BiCIKL project collection in RIO Journal.

What one might find quite odd when browsing the BiCIKL collection is that each publication is marked with its own publication source, even though all contributions are clearly already accessible from RIO Journal

So, we can see many project outputs marked as RIO publications, but also others that have been published in the likes of F1000Research, the official journal of TDWG: Biodiversity Information Science and Standards, and even preprints servers, such as BiohackrXiv

This is because one of the unique features of RIO allows for consortia to use their project collection as a one-stop access point for all scientific results, regardless of their publication venue, by means of linking to the original source via metadata. Additionally, projects may also upload their documents in their original format and layout, thanks to the integration between RIO and ARPHA Preprints. This is in fact how BiCIKL chose to share their latest deliverables using the very same files they submitted to the Commission.

“In line with the mission of BiCIKL and our consortium’s dedication to FAIRness in science, we wanted to keep our project’s progress and results fully transparent and easily accessible and reusable to anyone, anywhere,” 

explains Prof Lyubomir Penev, BiCIKL’s Project Coordinator and founder and CEO of Pensoft. 

“This is why we opted to collate the outcomes of BiCIKL in one place – starting from the grant proposal itself, and then progressively adding workshop reports, recommendations, research papers and what not. By the time BiCIKL concludes, not only will we be ready to refer back to any step along the way that we have just walked together, but also rest assured that what we have achieved and learnt remains at the fingertips of those we have done it for and those who come after them,” he adds.

***

You can keep tabs on the BiCIKL project collection in RIO Journal by subscribing to the journal newsletter or following @RIOJournal on Twitter and Facebook.

Towards a climate-neutral society: Pensoft takes part in the Horizon project ForestPaths

Apart from science communication, Pensoft is also tasked with the development and maintenance of the CANOPY platform, whose aim is to support policymakers and national and regional authorities

Dedicated to bridging the gap between science, policy, industry and society, Pensoft is striving to maximise ForestPaths’ impact in meeting Europe’s climate and biodiversity targets
The backdrop

The European Union (EU) has set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% in 2030 and to become climate neutral by 2050, which require urgent and major societal and economic reforms. 

In the meantime, the EU also aims to protect biodiversity and reverse the degradation of ecosystems, while using natural resources to mitigate climate change. 

ForestPaths – a recently started Horizon Europe project will help meet Europe’s climate and biodiversity targets by providing clear policy options that enable European forests and the forest-based sector to contribute to climate change mitigation, while conserving their biodiversity and sustaining the services they provide to people.

As an experienced science communicator, Pensoft is dedicated to maximising ForestPaths’ impact. The team will do so by means of tailored communication, dissemination and exploitation strategies aimed at sharing the project’s results with relevant stakeholder groups.

Furthermore, Pensoft is tasked with the development and long-term maintenance of the CANOPY platform, whose aim is to support policymakers and national and regional authorities by granting them access to the knowledge and scientific evidence acquired within ForestPaths long after the project is finalised.

The ForestPaths approach

ForestPaths will work with practitioners through four demo cases to determine climate- and biodiversity-smart forest management options

Building on these options, the project will collaborate with policymakers and key authorities through a series of Policy labs, where the partners will co-design policy pathways, which will then be analysed with next-generation integrated assessment techniques

Lastly, ForestPaths will apply this framework for an all-round assessment of the climate mitigation potential of European forests and the forest-based sector.

Aerial view of a forest road.
The ForestPaths legacy

ForestPaths’ policy pathways – as well as their supporting information and evidence – will be made openly available through the project’s policy-support platform CANOPY, hosted on the ForestPaths website. 

The platform, whose launch is scheduled for 2026, will feature an interactive policy analysis tool explaining the policy pathways and showcasing their implications, as well as providing detailed assessment results and policy recommendations in an easily accessible manner. Its long-term mission is to become the go-to place for easily accessible assessment results and policy recommendations.

“We are excited to be doing our part for Europe’s fight for climate neutrality by extending ForestPaths reach to policy, industry and society at large! As an open-access scientific publisher engaged in about 50 environmental research projects, Pensoft echoes ForestPaths’ aim to support the EU’s climate neutrality transition through what we are sure will be a prolific international research collaboration,” says ForestPaths’ WP7 leader Anna Sapundzhieva.

You can find out more about the project on the ForestPath website: forestpaths.eu. Stay up to date with the project’s progress on Twitter (@forestpaths_eu) and LinkedIn (/forestpaths-project).

Full list of project partners:
  1. European Forest Institute
  2. Lund University
  3. Technical University of Munich
  4. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  5. Natural Resources Institute Finland
  6. Wageningen Research
  7. Flemish Institute for Technological Research
  8. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
  9. Oeko-Institut
  10. Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change
  11. Prospex Institute
  12. Transilvania University of Brasov
  13. Pensoft Publishers
  14. Joint Research Centre – European Commission
  15. University of Edinburgh
  16. Teesside University

Boosting the reproducibility of research: Pensoft joins the EU-funded project TIER2

As an experienced science communicator and open-science publisher, Pensoft is joining this promising project on its mission within its acronym: Trust, Integrity, and Efficiency in Research, through next-level Reproducibility

Recent years have seen perceptions of a “reproducibility crisis” grow in various disciplines. Scientists see poor levels of reproducibility as a severe threat to scientific self-correction, the efficiency of research processes, and societal trust in research results. 

Now, a newly launched Horizon Europe-funded project: TIER2 brings together 10 major European organisations and proponents of open science to dig deeper into the issues surrounding reproducibility in research work with the aim to improve practices and policies across diverse scientific fields. 

In its capacity as an experienced science communicator and open-science publisher, Pensoft is joining this promising project on its mission within its acronym: Trust, Integrity, and Efficiency in Research, through next-level Reproducibility (TIER2).

TIER2’s interdisciplinary, expert project team will use co-creative methods to work with researchers in social, life and computer sciences, research funders, and publishers to further understand and address the causes of poor reproducibility. 

The project will produce and test new tools, connect initiatives, engage communities, and test novel interventions to increase reuse and overall quality of research results. 

“It is very exciting to take part in such significant work for the benefit of scientific rigor and integrity. As an open-access publisher, the goals of Pensoft and TIER2 are very much aligned – increasing the trust and efficiency of the research apparatus on a large scale. We are looking forward to collaborating on this mutual goal.”

said Teodor Metodiev, TIER2 Principal Investigator for Pensoft.
The project

TIER2 launched in early January 2023 and will be running until December 2025 with the support of EUR 2 millions in funding, provided by the European Union’s Horizon Europe program and the United Kingdom’s Research & Innovation

TIER2 will study reproducibility in diverse contexts by selecting three broad research areas (i.e. social, life and computer sciences) and two cross-disciplinary stakeholder groups (i.e. research publishers and funders). Reaching different contexts will allow the project team to systematically investigate the causes and implications of the lack of reproducibility across the research spectrum. Together with curated co-creation communities of these groups, the project will design, implement, and assess systematic interventions – addressing critical levers of change (tools, skills, communities, incentives, and policies) in the process.

In 3 years’ time, TIER2-led activities will have significantly boosted knowledge on reproducibility, created valuable tools, engaged communities, and implemented interventions and policies across science. As a result, the reuse of resources and the quality of research results in the European research landscape and beyond will be improved and increased, and so will trust, integrity, and efficiency in research overall.

You can read more about the project’s plans, rationale and mission in the full project proposal, recently published in the open-science journal Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO).

You can also browse the project’s website at https://tier2-project.eu/.

The website – including its design and software development – is itself one of Pensoft’s communication contributions to TIER2.

Stay up to date with the project’s activities and progress on Twitter: @TIER2Project.

International consortium

The interdisciplinary TIER2 consortium comprises ten members from universities and research centers across Europe to bring together a range of expertise spanning open science, research integrity, AI, data analytics, policy research, science infrastructures, stakeholder engagement, and core knowledge in social, life, and computational sciences. They share a long history of successful cooperation and have extensive experience in completed EU projects, especially in the fields of Open Science, Research Integrity, and Science Policy.

Full list of partners:
  1. Know Center
  2. Athena Research Center
  3. Amsterdam University Medical Center
  4. Aarhus University 
  5. Pensoft Publishers
  6. GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences 
  7. OpenAIRE
  8. Charité – University of Medicine Berlin
  9. Oxford University
  10. Alexander Fleming Biomedical Sciences Research Center