Recap time: ARPHA’s top features & achievements in 2019

Already bracing ourselves for another goodbye in a few weeks, it’s time to look back at 12 months of ceaseless efforts to further advance the user experience for authors, reviewers, editors and readers alike. 

What’s in it for ARPHA that keeps us motivated all year round? Well, it’s a win-win: we get to stay at the top of our game within the scholarly publishing and technological landscape, while honouring our word to client journals, publishers and platforms to provide a state-of-the-art publishing solution sewn with the genuine understanding of a fellow scholar. 

Frankly speaking, having observed a rapid expansion in our journal portfolio – which currently counts over 50 peer-reviewed and exclusively open-access scholarly titles – over the past few years we’ve never been so enthusiastic to draw the line of another “most successful year” and set sights on our 2020 targets.

Without further ado, here are the key innovations and milestones achieved by ARPHA in 2019.

ORCID integration to connect researchers to research

Would a researcher trust a journal with his/her manuscript if it said the research paper will not be assigned with a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) upon publication? 

Likewise, thanks to ORCID, researchers are also provided with a unique digital identifier to provide a persistent link between their identity and their work across platforms. Apart from papers, the latter includes various professional activities such as grant applications as well as links to external profiles, for example, Web of Science ResearcherID or LinkedIn.

To ensure that their work published in an ARPHA-hosted journal is automatically logged on their ORCID account, the platform allows users to sign in using their ORCID credentials. Alternatively, they can add them to their existing profile and merge the two to avoid potential duplicate records and confusion. 

Look out for the exclamation mark next to your user name: it reminds you that you haven’t taken full advantage of the ARPHA-ORCID integration just yet.
Visit ORCID’s website to learn more about their mission to connect researchers to research.

Now on display: ORCID ID, Web of Science ResearcherID and Scopus Author ID

In addition to their ORCID IDs, users at any ARPHA-hosted journal can add their Web of Science ResearcherID and SCOPUS ID to their user profiles to ensure further seamless connectivity between their identity and professional activities. Once they do so, the corresponding icon(s) will show up next to their names every time they appear in an authors list across ARPHA-associated journals.

While ORCID IDs automatically link users to their work published on ORCID-integrated platforms (records can also be added manually), a Web of Science ResearcherID – which recently is managed by Publons – creates a link between a researcher’s peer review and editorial contributions and their Web of Science Core Collection-indexed publications. Similarly, Scopus Author IDs connect Scopus-indexed publications with their authors’ profiles, including references, citations, h-index and subject areas.

Pending tasks visualised for each reviewer and Subject editor to facilitate and speed up the editorial process

Even though the high-tech and user-friendly infrastructure available from ARPHA Platform substantially reduces the time between a manuscript’s acceptance, publication, dissemination, archiving and indexing, we do realise that, technology-wise, there is little to be done in order to expedite the manual labour performed by overburdened editors and reviewers. 

This is why we’ve made it possible for an editor to see how many tasks any Subject editor or reviewer is currently handling whenever he/she gets to assign a manuscript.

Multilingualism on a journal AND platform level

Despite the ceaseless globalisation in the scholarly landscape, we can’t fail to recognise that there are, and perhaps will always be, academic journals whose specific scope and readership would do best if the content is also available in additional languages apart from English.

When we welcomed Population and Economics in April, the renowned Moscow State University’s journal became the first ARPHA-hosted scholarly title to accommodate our bilingual approach allowing for the reader to download a PDF copy of an article in Russian straight from its webpage. To avoid potential confusion in references, citations etc., both the Russian- and the English-language articles are using the same DOI.

Happy with the positive feedback from our clients and motivated by the soaring number of similar requests coming from potential client journals, we continued investing in the full transformation of ARPHA into a multilingual platform.

As a result, clients of ARPHA can now opt for our bilingual solution, where it is entirely up to the individual user to toggle between the English and Russian interface of the journal.

We’ve already started working on adding more languages to make sure that ARPHA is truly multilingual and international-friendly!

ARPHA-Proceedings inaugural issue

Recently, we also saw the publication of the inaugural issue of conference proceedings submitted to our self-titled innovative platform.

A total of 150 papers (1,496 pages) were made available in PDF format, in order to demonstrate a snapshot of the latest research on personal and professional development of teachers from around the world, as presented at the V International Forum on Teacher Education (29-31 May 2019, Kazan Federal University, Russia).

Aimed at conference organisers from across all scientific fields, ARPHA Proceedings allows for the publication of dedicated issues, where conference papers are published along associated data, figures and citations. Additionally, video recordings, posters and presentations can be uploaded in bulk once the conference is over. 

Individual conference papers as well as complete volumes are assigned with their own DOIs, which are registered by ARPHA in full compliance with CrossRef’s metadata requirements for conference materials.

Historical issues of Dutch journal of Accountancy & Business Economics (MAB) republished by modern standards

Backlist volumes of the Dutch Journal of Accountancy & Business Economics (Maandblad voor Accountancy en Bedrijfseconomie (MAB)) dating back to 1924 were re-issued, in order to cover the whole existence of the renowned scholarly outlet. 

As a result, not only are all papers published in MAB in the last 95 years openly accessible from a single online source, but they also take full advantage of the technology normally available to modern research outputs. These include a DOI assignment and CrossRef registration of metadata for each individual study. A full-text search of an article’s content is available with the PDF copy. 

MAB, a journal by Amsterdam University Press, moved to our platform using ARPHA’s white label publishing solution last year. ARPHA’s white label publishing is targeted primarily to university presses, independent publishers and societies seeking to retain their identity in an increasingly competitive high-tech environment.

A whole new batch of web integrations available to clients

Most recently, Pensoft and ARPHA signed a strategic collaboration agreement with the research discovery platform ScienceOpen, which means that content from all ARPHA-hosted journals will be indexed in the ScienceOpen’s research and discovery environment and added within the thematic context of over 60 million articles and books.

Earlier in 2019, ARPHA was integrated with several other research databases, including Portico, EBSCO and Transpose, so that content published across the journals is even easier to discover and access and ultimately facilitating the citability, reusability and reproducibility of scientific research.

A list of all web-service integrations available to ARPHA-hosted journals is available on our website.


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ARPHA Platform’s content integrated into ScienceOpen to take advantage of novel streams of science communication

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

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

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

The Pensoft Biodiversity collection on ScienceOpen.

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

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

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

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About ScienceOpen:

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

Field research in Turkmenistan’s highest mountain reveals high biological diversity

New open-access book presents a comprehensive report on the remarkable ecosystems of the Koytendag nature reserve

Location of Koytendag
Image by Atamyrat Veyisov

Situated in the extreme south-east of Turkmenistan: on the border with Uzbekistan and close to the border with Afghanistan, Koytendag presents one of the most distinct landscapes in Central Asia. Reaching elevations of up to 3,137 m, this is also the highest mountain in Turkmenistan.

Koytendag State Nature Reserve and its three Wildlife Sanctuaries: Hojapil, Garlyk and Hojaburjybelent, were established between 1986 and 1990 to protect and preserve the mountain ecosystem of the Koytendag region and maintain the ecological balance between the environment and increasing economic activities.

Since 2013, a series of scientific expeditions and assessments were coordinated and funded by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to pave the way for the protection and preservation of the unique landscape and rare wildlife the site is recognised for.

As a result, the efforts of the conducted field studies of multidisciplinary international research teams are brought together in a comprehensive report, which is now openly available as an Advanced Book from the scientific publisher and technology provider Pensoft, edited by Geoff Welch (RSPB) and Prof. Pavel Stoev (National National Museum of Natural History of Bulgaria and Pensoft). Soon, the book will also be available in Russian.

The book is split into eight sections focused on different areas within the study of biodiversity: Flora, Surface dwelling invertebrates, Cave fauna, Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals. An additional chapter is dedicated to the hydrogeology of the site because of its key role in supporting both the cave fauna and the local communities.

Entrance to the newly discovered record-breaking underground lake at the Koytendag State Nature Reserve
Photo by Mikhail Pereladov

In the summary of the report, the authors make a list of the most significant findings made during the research. These include the discovery of a cave hosting the largest underground lake in the whole North Eurasia (4,400 m2) and a total of 48 species of higher plants that can only be found in Koytendag. In terms of Koytendag’s surface-dwelling fauna, the report lists a number of species new to science: a scorpion (most likely yet unnamed species currently recognised as a species complex) and a spider. Meanwhile, a total of seven previously unknown species were found underground, including the very first exclusively subterranean animal found in the country: the insect-like ‘marvellous’ dipluran named Turkmenocampa mirabilis, and a strongly adapted to the underground waters of a desert sinkhole Gammarus troglomorphus. Additionally, the annual monitoring, conducted since 1995 by the reserve staff, report an encouraging increase in the populations of the rare markhors and mouflons. An intact predator-prey community was also identified as a result of observations of numerous Eurasian lynxes and grey wolves, as well as prey species.

Entrance of the cave Kaptarhana, (Lebap Province, Eastern Turkmenistan), where scientists discovered the first ever exclusively subterranean dweller for the country in 2017 (find more here).
Photo by Aleksandr Degtyarev

Stephanie Ward, RSPB Central Asia Partner Development Officer, says:

“RSPB has been working in Turkmenistan under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government since 2004. In that time we have had the privilege of working with a team of talented and dedicated national experts across the diverse and inspiring nature of this fascinating country. Our work in Koytendag has captured the attention and interest of many international scientists who hope that their contemporary biodiversity research will help to deepen the understanding and therefore ensure protection of the unique wonders of this mountain ecosystem. As a potential UNESCO World Heritage Site, we will continue to collaborate with the Turkmen people on the research and promotion of Koytendag State Nature Reserve.

Book editor and member of the research team Prof. Pavel Stoev adds:

“Koytendag Mountain is among the least explored and, simultaneously, one of the most biologically diverse regions in Central Asia. The rapid assessments of its flora and fauna revealed a high number of highly specialised species, all of which have undergone a long evolution to adapt to the harsh environments of the mountain. The establishment of Koytendag State Nature Reserve and the associated wildlife sanctuaries is a step in the right direction for the protection of this unique biota.”

The report, published in an openly accessible Advanced Book format, is available from
https://doi.org/10.3897/ab.e37858.

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Original source:

Welch G, Stoev P (2019) A report of RSPB-supported scientific research at Koytendag State Nature Reserve, East Turkmenistan. Advanced Books. https://doi.org/10.3897/ab.e37858

Additional information:

This work was carried out under the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment Protection of Turkmenistan and the RSPB, within the Project on “Improvement of the status of birds and other biodiversity in Turkmenistan”.

About Koytendag State Nature Reserve:

Koytendag State Nature Reserve was established in 1986 to protect and preserve the mountain ecosystem of the Koytendag region and maintain the ecological balance between the environment and the increasing anthropogenic activities. Of particular importance was the protection of rare species, such as the markhor; important habitats, including pistachio and juniper forests; and the impressive dinosaur trackways at Hojapil.

Advanced Books publishing by Pensoft:

Launched by Pensoft and powered by the scholarly publishing platform ARPHA, the Advanced Books approach aims to issue new books or re-issue books previously only available in print or PDF. In the Advanced Books format, the publications are semantically enhanced and available in HTML and XML as well, in order to accelerate open access, data publication, mining, sharing and reuse. The Advanced books builds on the novel approaches developed by the Pensoft’s journals.