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. 

Herpetozoa renews contract with Pensoft for another 5 years

Herpetozoa, the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the Austrian Herpetological Society, renewed its contract with Pensoft, re-signing with the scholarly publisher for another five years. Published since 1988, the journal offers a venue for research articles, short contributions and reviews dealing with all aspects of the study of amphibians and reptiles.

Herpetozoa, the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the Austrian Herpetological Society, renewed its contract with Pensoft, re-signing with the scholarly publisher for another five years. Published since 1988, the journal offers a venue for research articles, short contributions and reviews dealing with all aspects of the study of amphibians and reptiles.

Enticed by the opportunities that open access publishing offers, and looking to improve its visibility, Herpetozoa first came to Pensoft in 2019. The move equipped the journal with a brand new website and a full suite of publishing services tailored to the needs of biodiversity-themed academic publications available from ARPHA, Pensoft’s self-developed publishing platform. 

In ARPHA’s fast-track publishing system, each manuscript is carried through all stages, from submission and reviewing to dissemination and archiving, without ever leaving the platform’s collaboration-friendly online environment. In addition, semantic enhancements, automated data export to aggregators, web-service integrations with major indexing databases, and a variety of publishing formats ensure that all articles are easy to find, access, and use by both humans and machines.

The journal also makes use of ARPHA Preprints, another service developed by Pensoft to streamline public access to the latest scientific findings. The platform allows authors to submit a preprint in a matter of seconds along with their manuscript, with no need to upload any additional files. Following a quick in-house screening, the preprint is then made available on ARPHA Preprints in a few days’ time. Once the associated paper is published, a two-way link between the article and the preprint is established via CrossRef.

In the past three years, we saw Herpetozoa publish some quite peculiar discoveries that were quick to attract the attention of the global media. Such was the case of a set of first-of-their-kind observations of kukri snakes gutting toads and eating their organs while still alive. At the same time, the journal doesn’t fail to bring public attention to urgent conservation and biodiversity loss issues like reptile poaching in Pakistan, as well as innovative methods to monitor delicate amphibians in a non-invasive manner.

New BiCIKL project to build a freeway between pieces of biodiversity knowledge

The new Horizon 2020-funded project BiCIKL (Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library) is a partnership of 14 European institutions, representing the continent’s and global key players in biodiversity research and data. They have committed to link their infrastructures and technologies, in order to provide flawless access to data across all stages of the research process. Three years in, BiCIKL will have created the first-of-its-kind Biodiversity Knowledge Hub.

In a recently started Horizon 2020-funded project, 14 European institutions from 10 countries, representing both the continent’s and global key players in biodiversity research and natural history, deploy and improve their own and partnering infrastructures to bridge gaps between each other’s biodiversity data types and classes. By linking their technologies, they are set to provide flawless access to data across all stages of the research cycle.

Three years in, BiCIKL (abbreviation for Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library) 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, thereby accessing the complete story behind an organism of interest: its name, genetics, occurrences, natural history, as well as authors and publications mentioning any of those.

Ultimately, the project’s products will solidify Open Science and FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) data practices by empowering and streamlining biodiversity research.

Together, the project partners will redesign the way biodiversity data is found, linked, integrated and re-used across the research cycle. By the end of the project, BiCIKL will provide the community with a more transparent, trustworthy and efficient highly automated research ecosystem, allowing for scientists to access, explore and put into further use a wide range of data with only a few clicks.

“In recent years, we’ve made huge progress on how biodiversity data is located, accessed, shared, extracted and preserved, thanks to a vast array of digital platforms, tools and projects looking after the different types of data, such as natural history specimens, species descriptions, images, occurrence records and genomics data, to name a few. However, we’re still missing an interconnected and user-friendly environment to pull all those pieces of knowledge together. Within BiCIKL, we all agree that it’s only after we puzzle out how to best bridge our existing infrastructures and the information they are continuously sourcing that future researchers will be able to realise their full potential,” 

explains BiCIKL’s project coordinator Prof. Lyubomir Penev, CEO and founder of Pensoft, a scholarly publisher and technology provider company.

Continuously fed with data sourced by the partnering institutions and their infrastructures, BiCIKL’s key final output: the Biodiversity Knowledge Hub, is set to persist with time long after the project has concluded. On the contrary, by accelerating biodiversity research that builds on – rather than duplicates – existing knowledge, it will in fact be providing access to exponentially growing contextualised biodiversity data.

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Learn more about BiCIKL on the project’s website at: bicikl-project.eu

Follow BiCIKL Project on Twitter and Facebook. Join the conversation on Twitter at #BiCIKL_H2020.

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The project partners:

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.

Not Your Typical Conference Abstract #TDWG2021

TDWG 2021, the virtual conference of Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) being held 18–22 October, issued a call for abstracts representing presentations in fifteen symposia, as well as posters (including infographics), and contributed oral presentations appropriate to the conference theme Connecting the world of biodiversity data: uniting people, processes, and tools. Registration is now open, with the deadline for abstract submission set to 2 August 2021.

Joint blog post by #TDWG2021 Program Committee and Pensoft Editorial Team

TDWG 2021, the virtual conference of Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) being held 18–22 October, issued a call for abstracts representing presentations in fifteen symposia, as well as posters (including infographics), and contributed oral presentations appropriate to the conference theme Connecting the world of biodiversity data: uniting people, processes, and tools. Registration is now open, with the deadline for abstract submission set to 2 August 2021

Detailed instructions have also been made available to guide authors through the process. Abstract publication costs are included in the conference registration. All presenters must be fully registered before their abstracts can be published. 

Why are these not your typical conference abstracts? 

In short, each published abstract is a mini-paper designed to entice conference participants to attend your presentation, but, even more importantly, to let you provide something more enduring, a snapshot of your research progress the size of a written elevator pitch.

Using Pensoft’s ARPHA writing tool, you can enhance your abstract, so that it includes figures, keywords, references, and supplementary materials. Slides, posters, and video links can also be added to the abstract’s media tab after the conference, to build a well-rounded understanding of your work. TDWG’s open access Pensoft journal, Biodiversity Information Science and Standards (BISS), will even provide metrics about views, downloads, citations, or even online mentions of your abstract. 

Benefits of publishing your TDWG conference abstract: 

  • Free and open access to your abstract ahead of the conference via the society’s open access Pensoft journal, Biodiversity Information Science and Standards (BISS) 
  • A Digital Object Identifier (DOI), a unique, persistent, and citable reference assigned to each abstract 
  • Distribution of abstracts under the terms of Creative Commons attribution licenses, either CC BY 4.0 (default) or CC0 (by request).
  • Review provided by at least two editors for each abstract.
  • Readers can comment or ask questions within the Comment tab in the publication. Authors may also use the Comment tab for updates or errata.
  • Automatic linking of your abstract to your author record via ORCID and/or Web of Science (Publons) ResearcherID.
  • To prompt discoverability, all articles, including abstracts, are automatically harvested upon publication by a range of indexers, from AGRIS to ZDB.
  • Technical editors are cited as part of the article metadata. 
  • Abstracts are associated with the conference session in which they were presented.
  • Easy to create buzz around your presentation by sharing your abstract on Twitter, Facebook, Mendeley, Reddit, or via email with a single click thanks to share buttons.

While BISS is currently known as (just) a place to publish conference proceedings, this is a misconception. Authors are encouraged to publish full articles of methods, standards, guidelines, case studies, software descriptions, forum papers, editorials, correspondence, data or software reviews. BISS provides a discount on the article processing charges (APCs) for TDWG members.

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Join the conversation around this year’s Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) conference on Twitter via #TDWG2021.

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Visit BISS Journal website at: https://biss.pensoft.net/ and follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Recruiting participants to the first European Red list of insect taxonomists

Contributors will enable the EU to take action to plug in the essential scientific knowledge to address insect declines

The ‘Red List of Taxonomists’ initiative, funded by the European Union, launches its registration portal, where professionals and citizen scientists are called to register on. The purpose is to build a database of European taxonomy experts in the field of entomology, the biological discipline dedicated to insects. The analysis of these data will elucidate the trends in available expertise, thereby forming the basis of key recommendations for policy makers to further allocate necessary efforts and funds to support taxonomists’ work and contribute to protecting European biodiversity and beyond.

Globally, insect populations have been catastrophically plummeting over the last decades. According to the first major Europe-wide survey of honeybee colonies, conducted in 2013, some European countries lost as many as one-third of their colonies every winter. On the other hand, estimates state, the European agriculture industry alone ‘owes’ at least €22 billion per year to honey bees and wild bees, in addition to many species from other insect orders, as together they ensure pollination for over 80% of crops and wild plants in Europe.

Insect pollination of plants is an irreplaceable service to people
Photo: Lenka Z (pexels)

The health of European pollinators on species and population level and other insects essential in our ecosystems strongly relies on our ability to rapidly turn the growing awareness about these worrying trends into swift, decisive actions. These decisions are crucial to mitigate the negative impacts of these alarming trends in human activities, mainly industrial agriculture. Taxonomists – the people who can identify, discover and monitor insect species – have a decisive role to play.

Often specialised in specific insect groups, they can investigate the diversity and abundance of insects. To a great concern, the numbers of trained insect taxonomists seem also to be fast declining. There is the real danger of losing numerous species before we get the chance to even learn about their existence! 

On a more positive note, while species extinction is an irreversible event, certain taxonomic expertise can be nourished and ‘brought back to life’ if only we have the data and analyses to bring to the attention of the relevant education institutions, governments and policy-makers, so that the necessary resources are allocated to education, training, career support and recognition.

This is how the ‘Red List of Taxonomists’ project, an initiative by the organisation uniting the most important and largest European natural science collections (CETAF), the world’s authority on assessing the risk of extinction of organisms: the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the scientific publisher with a long history in the biodiversity and ecology fields: Pensoft, and funded by the European Commission, comes into play. Launched earlier this year, the ‘Red List of Taxonomists’ aims to compile the very first inventory of taxonomic expertise for any group of organisms, understandably choosing the class of insects. 

Bringing together scientists, research institutions and learned societies from across Europe, the project will compare the trends and extract recommendations to overcome the risks, while preserving and further evolving the expert capacity of this scientific community.

The precious skills of insect taxonomists must be preserved and developed
Photo: Grafvision, Adobe Stock

As partners of the project, CETAF and IUCN are mobilising experts from their respective networks to populate the ‘Red List of Taxonomists’ database. In parallel, Pensoft is extracting further data of authors, reviewers and editors from taxonomic publications across its portfolio of academic journals and books, in addition to major relevant databases working with scholarly literature. 

To reach experts, including professionals not necessarily affiliated with partnering institutions, as well as citizen scientists, the team is now calling for European taxonomists to register via the newly launched ‘Red List of Taxonomists’ portal and provide their data by filling a short survey. Their data will not be publicly available, but it will be used for in-depth analyses and reports in the concluding stage of the project, scheduled for early 2022. The collection of the data is in full compliance with GDPR requirements.

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Insect taxonomists, both professional and citizen scientists, are welcome to register on the Red List of Taxonomists portal at: red-list-taxonomists.eu and further disseminate the registration portal to fellow taxonomists.

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Follow and join the conversation on Twitter using the #RedListTaxonomists hashtag. 

Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria signs with Pensoft and moves to ARPHA

The scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft welcomes the latest addition to its diverse portfolio of scholarly outlets – the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria (AIeP), which publishes research in the fields of ichthyology and fisheries.

AIeP is an international scientific journal publishing articles in any aspect of ichthyology and fisheries concerning true fishes (fin-fishes), including taxonomy, biology, morphology, anatomy, physiology, pathology, parasitology, reproduction and zoogeography. The academic outlet, which was launched in 1970, favours research based on original experimental data or experimental methods, or new analyses of already existing data. AIeP is indexed by all major indexers, including Web of Science and Scopus. The journal’s first Impact Factor was released in 2010, and currently stands at 0.629 (2019).

The first 2021 issue of the the open-access, peer-reviewed international journal Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria is already online on a brand-new website

In joining the Pensoft portfolio, AIeP gets a brand-new user-friendly website with improved design and access to Pensoft’s self-developed full-featured platform ARPHA, which offers an end-to-end publishing solution from submission to publication, distribution and archiving. With features, such as papers available in semantically enhanced HTML and machine-readable XML formats, automated data export to aggregators, and web-service integrations with major global indexing databases, the easy-to-use, open-access platform ensures that published research is easy to discover, access, cite and reuse by both humans and machines all over the world.

AIeP’s first issue published with Pensoft features 14 scientifically diverse open-access articles on ichthyology and fisheries covering a wide geographic scope. Some of the issue’s most interesting reads explore the eating habits of the spotted rose snapper in the Gulf of California, offer the first underwater photograph of a rare scorpionfish in Japan, and record the first ever occurrence of the pharaoh cardinal fish in Libyan waters, in what constitutes the westernmost Mediterranean area of colonization of this non-indigenous species.

Amongst the published papers there are also practical suggestions for species conservation and sustainable fisheries management – for example, an evaluation of the size of freshwater fish in Bangladeshi wetlands recommends only harvesting fishes with a total length of over 8.80 cm.

Follow Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria on Facebook and Twitter.

Additional information

About ARPHA:

ARPHA is the first end-to-end, narrative- and data-integrated publishing solution that supports the full life cycle of a manuscript, from authoring to reviewing, publishing and dissemination. ARPHA provides accomplished and streamlined production workflows that can be customized according to the journal’s needs. The platform enables a variety of publishing models through a number of options for branding, production and revenue models to choose from.

About Pensoft:

Pensoft is an independent academic publishing company, well-known worldwide for its innovations in the field of semantic publishing, as well as for its cutting-edge publishing tools and workflows. In 2013, Pensoft launched the first ever end to end XML-based authoring, reviewing and publishing workflow, as demonstrated by the Pensoft Writing Tool (PWT) and the Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ), now upgraded to the ARPHA Publishing Platform. Flagship titles include: Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO), One Ecosystem, ZooKeys, Biodiversity Data Journal, PhytoKeys, MycoKeys and many more.

Contacts:

Wojciech Piasecki, Editor-in-Chief at AIeP

editor@aiep.pl

Lyubomir Penev, founder and CEO at Pensoft and ARPHA

l.penev@pensoft.net 

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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Follow ARPHA Platform on Twitter and LinkedIn.

A Red List of insect experts in Europe

New EC-funded project will identify trends in taxonomic expertise across Europe to identify gaps in expert knowledge

Europe’s largest bumblebee, Bombus fragrans, is currently assessed as an Endangered species.
Illustration by Denitza Peneva.

Insects are the largest taxonomic group in the animal kingdom. Three out of four described animal species belong to the class Insecta. They are widely distributed in terrestrial and aquatic environments. Indispensable to the ecosystem, insects drive key processes such as pollination, decomposition, soil formation and supply an essential part of the food webs.

Yet, insect populations have been catastrophically plummeting. For example, recent studies have shown a decrease of 75% of insect biomass in German Nature Reserves in less than 30 years, and the situation is probably no less dramatic anywhere in Europe. According to the European Red List of threatened species, one in ten bee species and a quarter of all grasshopper species are at risk of extinction. As it becomes clear how dependent on insects our ecosystems and our economy are, people gradually realise the dramatic consequences of insect decline.

One less known aspect of this global crisis is on the agenda today: the shrinking number of insect taxonomists, the scientists on whose highly specialised skills we depend to obtain knowledge on the diversity of organisms. Without taxonomists, no study of species or ecosystems would be possible, as we would not be able to recognise what biodiversity we are losing.

Here is why the European Commission has funded a new project to embark on the pioneer task to assess the status of taxonomic expertise on insects in Europe. A “Red List” of taxonomists will be compiled for the first time for any group of organisms. The effort is being undertaken by a diverse and interdisciplinary team of experts, including the organisation uniting the most important and largest European natural science collections (CETAF) and the world’s authority on assessing the risk of extinction of organisms: IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature).

As with typical European Red List (ERL) assessments, normally applied to species level, the project involves the collection and evaluation of the available information about the number, location, qualification and field of specialisation of insect taxonomists and the application of systematic criteria to assess the risk of their “extinction”. This concept has never been applied to scientists before, but by using the ERL analogy, the project aims to combine those groups of insects and those countries that bear the highest risk of losing the associated taxonomic expertise and potential gaps.

Bringing together individual scientists, research institutions and learned societies from across Europe, the project will compare the trends and pull up recommendations to overcoming the risks, preserving and further evolving the expert capacity of this scientific community. Unlike species extinctions, the loss of taxonomic knowledge is reversible, especially when the needs are clear and the necessary resources are invested in education, training, career development and recognition.

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Additional information:

CETAF is the European organization of Natural History Museums, Botanic Gardens and Research Centers with their associated natural science collections comprising 71 of the largest taxonomic institutions from 22 European countries (18 EU, 1 EEA and 3 non-EU), gathering expertise of more than 5,000 researchers. Their collections contain a wide range of specimens including animals, plants, fungi and rocks, and genetic resources which are used for scientific research and exhibitions. CETAF aims to promote training, research collaborations and understanding in taxonomy and systematic biology as well as to facilitate access to our natural heritage by sharing the information derived from the collections.

IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) is a membership Union composed of both government and civil society organisations. It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,400 Member organisations and the input of more than 17,000 experts. This diversity and vast expertise makes IUCN the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.

Pensoft is an independent academic publishing company and technology provider, well known worldwide for its novel cutting-edge publishing tools, workflows and methods for text and data publishing of journals, books and conference materials. Through its Research and Technical Development department, the company is involved in various research and technology projects. Founded in 1992 “by scientists, for scientists” and initially focusing on book publishing, Pensoft is now a leading publisher of innovative open access journals in taxonomy and biodiversity science.

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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