New OA Journal of European Landscapes by Amsterdam University Press launched on ARPHA

By crossing traditional disciplinary and regional borders, this innovative peer-reviewed journal will document landscape studies and project results while inspiring international collaboration

Journal of European Landscape (JEL), an openly accessible, peer-reviewed academic outlet, was launched by Amsterdam University Press (AUP) with the aim to bridge the gap between heritage and future-proof landscapes, between local and international perspectives, between what is and what is only in the eye of the beholder. By publishing scientific papers, descriptions of running or finished projects, interviews and book reviews, the novel journal is to document and safely store otherwise fragile research outputs, while also promoting landscape discourse across geographies.

The inaugural issue of the journal is now out, featuring an opening editorial, two project descriptions (CHeriScape Project and PERICLES), three book reviews (Biography of an Industrial Landscape: Carlsberg’s Urban Spaces Retold, Waddenland Outstanding. History, landscape and cultural heritage of the Wadden Sea Region and Estate landscapes in northern Europe), a research paper comparing similar Iron Age settlements in England, France and Spain and an interview with geographer Dr Kenneth Olwig, whose best known work is devoted to the concept of landscape from a philological perspective and studied using historical sources and etymological methods.

Having become the second AUP’s journal to move to the scholarly publishing platform ARPHA after the Dutch journal of Accountancy & Business Economics (Maandblad voor Accountancy en Bedrijfseconomie), JEL does not only benefit from a brand new glossy and user-friendly appearance, but also from ARPHA’s signature fast-track, end-to-end publishing system to the benefit of its users: authors, reviewers and editors alike. Thereby, each submitted manuscript is carried through the review, editing, publication, dissemination and archiving stages without ever leaving ARPHA’s collaboration-centred online environment. The articles are available in PDF, machine-readable JATS XML formats, and semantically enriched HTML for better reader experience, so that they are easy to discover, access, cite and reuse.

Irene van Rossum, Senior Commissioning editor at Amsterdam University Press, says:

“We are excited by the launch of Journal of European Landscapes on the ARPHA platform. AUP believes that the platform is the ideal venue for open access journals, giving them all the features and services needed for authors and editors alike. It is a great pleasure to work with the very professional people at Pensoft in setting all this up.”

Given the complexity of landscape as a concept that brings together the physical, cultural and scenic identity of a geographical space for purposes as varied as planning and environmental management to Art, it becomes clear why until recently it has only been a concern on a local, regional or, at most, national level. However, as a result of the common issues shared within the European Union (EU) and the fact that the Old Continent has effectively ‘exported’ landscape to many other parts of the world, it becomes apparent that research results from localised studies and projects can prove of huge benefit to multiple other localities, regions and nations.

Furthermore, the same goes for knowledge obtained through work in diverse academic disciplines, including archaeology, anthropology, art history, geography, earth sciences, economics, tourism studies and sociology.

Linde Egberts, Editor-in-Chief, comments:

“We have seen a growing interest in contextualising heritage and history of local, regional and national landscape over the years. But we felt there was no platform to share the outcomes of comparative and cross-boundary landscape research. By launching this journal, we are doing just that: contributing to the understanding of the relationships between different landscapes and the way they are managed and interpreted.”

Hans Renes, Editor-in-Chief, adds:

“We are very excited about this new journal that certainly fills a gap in the study of landscapes. In our vision, landscape studies are still too much taking place within national boundaries. The new open access journal will be instrumental in making the field more international. We are grateful that AUP and Pensoft are guiding us in this fascinating journey.”

A platform like JEL is to also be especially helpful for EU projects and consortia, which despite being largely focused on novelty and sustainability, often fail to preserve the results of their work once the initiative is formally concluded, the funding is over and the project’s website is no longer maintained.

As a result, JEL aims to offer a first-of-its-kind platform, where researchers from across geographies and scientific fields will be able to publish their work and make it available to others to reuse and build-on in their own turn. By simultaneously prompting the better understanding of landscape in its historical, conceptual and practical dimensions and paving the way to forward-thinking advancements, perspectives and findings published in JEL will be well-positioned to address impending matters of concern, including the challenges of rewilding, energy transition and making landscapes ‘climate-proof’.

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About Amsterdam University Press (AUP):

Amsterdam University Press (AUP) is a leading publisher of academic books in English, journals and textbooks in the Humanities and Social Sciences. AUP contracts over one hundred and fifty titles a year specialising in the fields of History, Asian Studies, Film, Media and Communication, Social and Political Sciences, and Linguistics, with an additional active and best-selling list of non-fiction trade publications in Dutch. AUP connects authors with readers through an international network of distributors and partners, and offers sales and marketing with dedicated representatives in key markets across the world. Working on cutting-edge research, AUP authors are from a global academic network, distinguishing an open, creative, and internationally orientated attitude in acquisitions, sales and marketing. Visit http://www.aup.nl for more information.

IAVS and Pensoft launch a gold OA journal on vegetation classification on ARPHA Platform

Last summer, the International Association for Vegetation Science (IAVS) took the decision to launch a gold open-access academic journal, titled Vegetation Classification and Survey (VCS). Then, IAVS signed a contract with the scientific publisher and technology provider Pensoft and its self-developed innovative, fast-track scholarly platform ARPHA.

Now, VCS is officially online with the publication of its first six research articles and an exhaustive editorial, written by its four Chief Editors: Prof Dr Florian Jansen, Dr Idoia Biurrun, Prof Dr Jürgen Dengler and Dr Wolfgang Willner. They explain the mission and key features of the new journal. They also address the advantages and challenges of Open Access and share the ways VCS is to handle those.

VCS focuses on vegetation typologies and vegetation classification systems, their methodological foundation, development and application at any organisational and spatial scale. No restrictions are imposed on the methodological approaches used. 

Apart from original research papers that develop new vegetation typologies, the journal publishes applied studies that use such typologies, for example, in vegetation mapping, ecosystem modelling, nature conservation, land use management, or monitoring. Particularly encouraged are methodological studies that design and compare tools or algorithms for vegetation classification and mapping, vegetation databases and nomenclatural principles. Papers dealing with conceptual and theoretical bases of vegetation survey and classification are also welcome.

“We are delighted to welcome the latest journal by IAVS to the families of ARPHA and Pensoft. We are eager to support this wonderful Open Science initiative to facilitate access and uptake of research in this emerging field of vegetation science,”

comments Prof Lyubomir Penev, founder and CEO of ARPHA and Pensoft.

Amongst the appealing features of the new journal are its two permanent special collections: Ecoinformatics and Phytosociological Nomenclature. The former invites papers presenting vegetation-plot databases and other ecoinformatics data sources relevant for vegetation classification as well as concepts, methods and tools for using these, while the latter focuses on nomenclature issues of syntaxa.

Another novelty introduced by VCS is the implementation of double-blind peer review meant to reduce potential biases in academia. 

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Proving the international focus of VCS, the first published articles cover research from five continents. 

A Chinese study, conducted by the team of Dr Cindy Q. Tang (Yunnan University) analyses the forest structure, regeneration and growth trends of the commercially, culturally and economically important Yunnan pine tree.

The research team of Maged Abutaha (Desert Research Center) provides the first phytosociological classification of the vegetation units of Gebel Elba – an important arid mountain in Egypt – and the environmental factors controlling their distribution.

In their paper, Dr John Hunter (University of New England) and Vanessa Hunter use unsupervised techniques to produce a hierarchical classification of montane mires within the New England Tablelands Bioregion (NETB) of eastern Australia.

A national-scale phytosociological research of freshwater lake vegetation in Greece was conducted by the team of Dimitrios Zervas (Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre).

A Finite Mixture Model is proposed as an additional approach for classifying large datasets of georeferenced vegetation plots from complex vegetation systems by a large research team, led by Dr Fabio Attorre of the Sapienza University of Rome

A description of the remaining native vegetation of the Espinal province in central Argentina, presented by a research team, led by Dr Sebastián Zeballos (Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal, UNC-CONICET), calls for conservation measures to be taken to preserve the remaining forest patches. They also urge for the establishment of new protected natural areas.

“We would like to see more profound vegetation studies from species-rich regions, from both natural and anthropogenically influenced vegetation types,”

say the editors.

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Thanks to support from IAVS, VCS will be offering particularly attractive article processing charges (APCs) for submissions during the first two years. Moreover, significant discounts are available for IAVS members, members of the Editorial team and authors from low-income countries or with other financial constraints.

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Follow Vegetation Classification and Survey (VCS) on Twitter and Facebook.

Check out the official blog of the International Association for Vegetation Science (IAVS), where authors in any of the three IAVS journals are invited to submit blog contributions providing further insights into their work.

What comes after COVID-19? Special issue in the journal Population and Economics

Population and Economics

At this alarming time, when the COVID-19 pandemic is on everyone’s mind, a new special issue in the open-access peer-reviewed journal Population and Economics by Lomonosov Moscow State University (Faculty of Economics) provides a platform for discussion on the impact of the pandemic on the population and economics, both in Russia and worldwide by opening a special issue. An introductory overview of the issue is provided by its Editor-in-Chief, Irina E. Kalabikina of the Faculty of Economics at Lomonosov Moscow University.

Today is still too early to draw any final conclusions, with too many things yet to happen. Nevertheless, the time is right to start a discussion on how to soften the possible consequences of the pandemic. 

In the first published papers, brought together in the special issue, various teams of economists assess the uneasy dilemma – saving lives now or saving the economy to preserve lives in the future; demographers draw parallels with previous pandemics and its impact on demographic development; and sociologists analyse the state of various strata throughout the crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic came to Russia in mid-March – two months after China, two weeks after Spain, Italy, France, and about the same time as the United States.

As of 24th April, according to the data available at the Center for System Science and Engineering at John Hopkins University, Russia is amongst the top 10 countries by number of recorded cases. International comparability of national data on COVID-19 is a separate issue; it will be addressed in one of the special issue articles.

“Now I just want to state that Russia is affected by the pandemic, and it disturbs population and society. Moreover, a number of anti-epidemic measures taken in the country can bite the economy. In this context, the search for specific Russian consequences of the pandemic initiated by our authors along with the global consequences are particularly interesting”,

shares Editor-in-Chief of Population and Economics, Prof. Irina E. Kalabikhina.

All economists, demographers and sociologists are invited to consider the impact of the pandemic and its attendant recession on the population and economy in Russia and the global world. Research papers are welcome to the special issue, which will remain open for submissions until the end of June 2020.

Special issue already includes contributions from top economists, sociologists, demographers from  Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityHigher School of Economics (Moscow), Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), Global Migration Policy Associates (Geneva), University of Chicago, Federal Research Institute for Health Organization and Informatics of Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation; Institute of Socio-Political Research at the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Science, the New School for Social Research (New York) and Feminist Data and Research Inc. (Toronto), University of Manchester and New Economic School (Moscow).

Different aspects of the current pandemic are considered in a series of research: cost of the pandemic to globalisation, proposals of tax system revision and reforms, future technological shift and a change in the direction and volumes of trade flows.

The current COVID-19 pandemic is “a global social drama”, after which income and wealth inequalities are expected to increase, and it’s still a good question how reliable are the data on the virus we are receiving and what could be the perception of the mass public and voters. While citizens are getting used to the existing rules, both the population and the state are in uncertainty, and lacking the flexible informal rules, which normally determine human behaviour.

Many countries face the issues of unemployment, caused by the virus outburst, and in many countries young people and those of low education level, as well as migrants and refugees are the most vulnerable groups.

Russian families face new issues in the conditions of self-isolation, while “dachas” (countryside family houses) play an important role during the pandemic.

On one hand, the current reduction in production makes a positive impact on the environment, but in the upcoming years it can get replaced by the negative effect – as weakened attention to environmental issues and redirection of cash flows to maintain or prevent a significant drop in the material standard of living.

Scientists try to consider the lessons of the previous pandemics, based on the cases of the Spanish flu of 1918 and the latest Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

These and many other topics are considered by researchers in the COVID-19 issue, and it is already quite obvious that even though the pandemic may have touched every side of our lives, life doesn’t stop. These early research works are meant to help humanity to overcome the following crisis, find the way out and adjust to the life after the pandemic.

“We are going through difficult times, and it is hardly possible to overestimate the role of science in the quickest passing through the crisis with the least human and economic losses. We hope that our Journal will contribute to the crucially important discussion on the impact of the pandemic on the economy and population”,

concludes Editor-in-Chief of Population and Economics, Irina E. Kalabikhina.

Additional information

About Population and Economics

Population and Economics is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal, published by Lomonosov Moscow State University (Faculty of Economics). The journal covers basic and applied aspects of the relationship between population and economics in a broad sense.

The journal is running on the innovative scholarly publishing platform ARPHA, developed by scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft

Original sources:

Kalabikhina IE (2020) What after? Essays on the expected consequences of the COVID-19 pandemics on the global and Russian economics and population. Population and Economics 4(2): 1-3. https://doi.org/10.3897/popecon.4.e53337

Auzan AA (2020) The economy under the pandemic and afterwards. Population and Economics 4(2): 4-12. https://doi.org/10.3897/popecon.4.e53403

Buklemishev OV (2020) Coronavirus crisis and its effects on the economy. Population and Economics 4(2): 13-17. https://doi.org/10.3897/popecon.4.e53295

Grigoryev LM (2020) Global social drama of pandemic and recession. Population and Economics 4(2): 18-25. https://doi.org/10.3897/popecon.4.e53325

Kartseva MA, Kuznetsova PO (2020) The economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic: which groups will suffer more in terms of loss of employment and income? Population and Economics 4(2): 26-33. https://doi.org/10.3897/popecon.4.e53194

Shastitko AE (2020) COVID-19: moments of truth and sources of controversy. Population and Economics 4(2): 34-38. https://doi.org/10.3897/popecon.4.e53285

Kurdin AA (2020) Institutional continuum in the context of the pandemic. Population and Economics 4(2): 39-42. https://doi.org/10.3897/popecon.4.e53299

Ivakhnyuk I (2020) Coronavirus pandemic challenges migrants worldwide and in Russia. Population and Economics 4(2): 49-55. https://doi.org/10.3897/popecon.4.e53201

Bobylev SN (2020) Environmental consequences of COVID-19 on the global and Russian economics. Population and Economics 4(2): 43-48. https://doi.org/10.3897/popecon.4.e53279

Contact:

Prof. Irina E. Kalabikhina
Editor-in-Chief of the “Population and Economics”
Email: niec@econ.msu.ru


Italian Society of Vegetation Science signs with Pensoft to publish its journal on ARPHA

The first 2020 papers of the open-access, peer-reviewed international journal Plant Sociology are now available on the journal’s new, user-friendly and visually appealing website

Having succeeded the historical journals of the Italian Society of Vegetation Science (Società Italiana di Scienza della Vegetazione): Fitosociologia (1990-2011) and Notiziario della Societa Italiana di Fitosociologia (1964-1989), the open-access, peer-reviewed international journal Plant Sociology undergoes another major transformation by moving to the technologically advanced ARPHA Platform, after signing with the scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft.

As a result of the recently started partnership, the first 2020 papers of Plant Sociology are now available on the journal’s new website. All pre-2020 issues remain available on the former website.

With a wide scope covering vegetation studies from plant community to landscape level, Plant Sociology puts a special focus on topics such as Plant Sociology and vegetation survey for developing ecological models, as well as plant classification, monitoring, assessment, management and conservation, as long as the studies are based on rigorous and quantitative measures of physical and biological components.

Amongst the first newly published papers is an article by a team from the University of L’Aquila, which reports on two years of observations of the vegetation dynamics at the Gran Sasso – Monti della Laga National Park in central Italy, after the protected area suffered from an accidental fire of anthropogenic origin in 2017. With their study, the researchers aim to determine the potential of the Sentinel-2 satellite as a tool to measure, identify and monitor the short-term response of vegetation in a peculiar mountainous landscape.

Another new publication presents a phytosociological survey on the weed vegetation of two crops of Protected Designation of Origin: the bean “Fagiolo Cannellino di Atina” and the red pepper “Peperone di Pontecorvo” – both growing exclusively within a few hundreds of square kilometres in the Province of Frosinone (central Italy), conducted at four selected farms by researchers at the Sapienza University of Rome.

Thanks to the Pensoft’s signature open-access scholarly publishing platform ARPHA, Plant Sociology demonstrates a complete makeover, including a modern and user-friendly interface in addition to a long list of high-tech perks, meant to ensure that published articles are easy to discover, access, cite and reuse by both humans and machines all over the world.

Furthermore, all users of the journal’s system: authors, editors and reviewers alike, are to greatly benefit from ARPHA’s integrated approach to the publication process. This means that once submitted each manuscript goes through the whole cycle: from review and copy/layout editing to publication, dissemination and archiving without leaving ARPHA’s collaboration-focused online environment.

Plant Sociology has a completely renewed Editorial board, which sees Daniela Gigante from the University of Perugia in the role of Editor-in-Chief, and Simonetta Bagella (University of Sassari), Gianni Bacchetta (University of Cagliari) and Daniele Viciani (University of Florence) as Co-editors. The Editorial board is complemented by a Consultant editor and an Editorial secretary (respectively, Edoardo Biondi and Diana Galdenzi, both from the Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona). A large, international Editorial team includes 35 members with specific skills and long-dated expertise in various fields related to vegetation science. A dedicated Social media team takes care of the dissemination of the journal.

“At the Plant Sociology‘s Editorial board, we are looking with great expectations to the cooperation with Pensoft, certain that the publisher’s skills and experience will support the journal in its growth and consolidation as an international reference point for vegetation science studies,”

says Editor-in-Chief Dr Daniela Gigante.

“It’s delightful to have the Italian Society of Vegetation Science putting their trust in us with their signature journal. With our strong background in scholarly publishing, technology development and open science practices, I am certain that we are to provide the right venue for a high-quality and enterprising journal like Plant Sociology,”

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

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Follow Plant Sociology on Twitter and Facebook.

Acta Biologica Sibirica signs with Pensoft and moves to ARPHA

Acta Biologica Sibirica is a peer-reviewed open-access journal on the biodiversity of Siberia and the adjacent lands, published by Altai State University in collaboration with Pensoft Publishers

Acta Biologica Sibirica is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal on the biodiversity of Siberia and the adjacent lands by Altai State University. Since 2015, it has been publishing original research in the field of experimental and field biology.

Starting from 2020, Acta Biologica Sibirica moves to the full-featured technologically advanced platform ARPHA and will be published in collaboration with the scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft.

Pensoft’s original publishing system ARPHA allows Acta Biologica Sibirica to publish original research papers, reviews, short communications, letters and discussion papers, book reviews and memorial articles. The scholarly platform was designed to facilitate authors in the manuscript writing, submission and review process as end-to-end experience, including publication of the data and multimedia content in the form, suitable for both enhanced high-tech human and machine discoverability of the scholarly outputs.

Acta Biologica Sibirica accepts for publication papers in taxonomy, phylogeny, biogeography, faunistics, floristics, biological systematics, nature conservation and protected areas. In the fields of faunistics and floristics there are several types of articles, available for submission: floral and faunal lists on any region of the world, faunal and floral discoveries (e.g. species newly recorded in a particular region, additions to previously published inventories), papers on methodology of faunal and floral studies.

«Our basic task is to turn our journal into a high-quality world-class publication. Without the help of modern publishers, this is almost impossible. The choice of the publisher was perfectly logical – the reputation of Pensoft Publishers and its founder, the famous Bulgarian zoologist Lubomir Penev, is impeccable. To stand in one cohort with powerful publications with a long history is an honor for us. High standards of editing and reviewing manuscripts, the absolute level of originality and scientific novelty – these are the criteria on which we will rely»,

comments the editor-in-chief of the journal, Professor of Altai University Roman Yakovlev.

«At Pensoft, we are delighted to initiate this wonderful partnership with yet another renowned research institution in Russia, namely Altai State University. With our long-year experience in zoological and biodiversity research publishing and dissemination, I am certain that the journal has found a fitting place in the family of Pensoft and ARPHA»,

comments Prof. Lyubomir Penev, CEO and founder of Pensoft and ARPHA.

The first papers of 2020 are already available online on the new website of Acta Biologica Sibirica.

Within the pioneering papers published in the renewed journal, there is a research article about the first result of DNA-studies on the Central Asiatic owlet moths in the genus Euchalcia. The studied specimens were collected in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan during the expeditions of the Russian Entomological Society in 2017-2019. When comparing a specific mitochondrial gene (cytochrome C oxidase subunit I or COI) between various species, the scientists revealed that the difference amongst European Euchalcia species is smaller than the one amongst high-mountainous Central Asiatic species.

Another study records the first occurrence of the moorland clouded yellow in Altai Region. The butterfly was found to share a mitochondrial barcode with some specimens from mountain populations from the Alps and the Czech Republic.

Colias palaeno, male, vicinity of Ozerki village, Talmenskiy district, Altai region, Russia
Credit: Nazar A. Shapoval
License: CC-BY 4.0
Colias palaeno, male, vicinity of Ozerki village, Talmenskiy district, Altai region, Russia
Credit: Nazar A. Shapoval
License: CC-BY 4.0

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Follow Acta Biologica Sibirica on Twitter and Facebook.

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Additional information

About Altai State University:

Altai State University is one of the leading Russian classical higher education institutions established in 1973. It is a major educational, research and cultural center located in the Asian part of the country, integrated into the international academic community, training the intellectual elite and conducting high-impact research.

The unique geographical position of Altai region, located in the center of Asia predestinates the University’s mission – to appear as an international research and educational center that integrates, develops and spreads the modern Western, Russian and Asian knowledge in education, science and culture within the Asian region.

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: 

Prof. Lyubomir Penev, founder and CEO at ARPHA and Pensoft
Email: penev@pensoft.net

Prof. Alex Matsyura, Editor-in-Chief of Acta Biologica Sibirica
Email: amatsyura@gmail.com 

Prof. Roman Yakovlev, Editor-in-Chief of Acta Biologica Sibirica
Email: yakovlev_asu@mail.ru


Open Science RIO Journal invites early research outcomes for the free-to-publish collection “Observations, prevention and impact of COVID-19”

Looking at today’s ravaging COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, which, at the time of writing, has spread to over 220 countries; its continuously rising death toll and widespread fear, on the outside, it may feel like scientists and decision-makers are scratching their heads more than ever in the face of the unknown. In reality, however, we get to witness an unprecedented global community gradually waking up to the realisation of the only possible solution: collaboration. 

On one hand, we have nationwide collective actions, including cancelled travel plans and mass gatherings; social distancing; and lockdowns, that have already proved successful at changing what the World Health Organisation (WHO) has determined as “the course of a rapidly escalating and deadly epidemic” in Hong Kong, Singapore and China. On the other hand, we have the world’s best scientists and laboratories all steering their expertise and resources towards the better understanding of the virus and, ultimately, developing a vaccine for mass production as quickly as possible. 

While there is little doubt that the best specialists in the world will eventually invent an efficient vaccine – just like they did following the Western African Ebola virus epidemic (2013–2016) and on several other similar occasions in the years before – the question at hand is rather when this is going to happen and how many human lives it is going to cost?

Again, it all comes down to collective efforts. It only makes sense that if research teams and labs around the globe join their efforts and expertise, thereby avoiding duplicate work, their endeavours will bear fruit sooner rather than later. Similarly to employees from across the world, who have been demonstrating their ability to perform their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities from the safety of their homes just as efficiently as they would have done from their conventional offices, in today’s high-tech, online-friendly reality, no more should scientists be restricted by physical and geographical barriers either. 

“Observations, prevention and impact of COVID-19”: Special Collection in RIO Journal

To inspire and facilitate collaboration across the world, the SPARC-recognised Open Science innovator Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO Journal) decided to bring together scientific findings in an easy to discover, read, cite and build on collection of publications. 

Furthermore, due to its revolutionary approach to publishing, where early and brief research outcomes (i.e. ideas, raw data, software descriptions, posters, presentations, case studies and many others) are all considered as precious scientific gems, hence deserving a formal publication in a renowned academic journal, RIO places a special focus on these contributions. 

Accepted manuscripts that shall deal with research relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic across disciplines, including medicine, ethics, politics, economics etc. at a local, regional, national or international scale; and also meant to encourage crucial discussions, will be published free of charge in recognition of the emergency of the current situation. Especially encouraged are submissions focused on the long-term effects of COVID-19.

Why publish in RIO Journal? 

Launched in 2015, RIO Journal has since proved its place at the forefront of Open Science, which resulted in the SPARC’s Innovator Award in 2016. Supported by a renowned advisory board and subject editors, today the journal stands as a leading Open Science proponent. 

Furthermore, thanks to the technologically advanced infrastructure and services it provides, in addition to a long list of indexers and databases where publications are registered, the manuscripts submitted to RIO Journal are not only rapidly processed and published, but once they get online, they immediately become easy to discover, cite and built on by any researcher, anywhere in the world. 

On top of that, Pensoft’s targeted and manually provided science communication services make sure that published research of social value reaches the wider audience, including key decision-makers and journalists, by means of press releases and social media promotion.

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More info about RIO’s globally unique features, visit the journal’s websiteFollow RIO Journal on Twitter and Facebook.

Challenges for Russia’s agriculture: new special issue in Russian Journal of Economics

While Russia seems to have successfully tackled its historic problem: food shortage – with the agri-food sector becoming one of the most steadily developing of the national economy – the country is already facing a new set of challenges. Today, Russia needs to address several key growth factors, such as sustainability, missing national strategies and lagging research and development progress. These are the topics of the research articles comprising the latest special issue of the open-access peer-reviewed Russian Journal of Economics. An overview and introduction for the issue is provided by its guest editor Eugenia Serova of the Institute for Agrarian Studies at HSE University in Moscow.

Since 2012, Russia’s agriculture is the most steadily developing sector of the national economy. Production of selected crops is reaching historical records. Today, Russia is a world champion for export of wheat and buckwheat and amongst the top ten in terms of export of many other crops. The country has also begun exporting livestock products and value-added food products. Additionally, the past ten years have seen a significant progress in the food quality and safety in Russia, which has already been recognised. According to conventional indicators applied to food security, the country keeps a consistent place amongst the top three in the world.

However, even though Russia has been successful at achieving national food security, largely contributed to a strong emphasis on self-sufficiency, world known experts in food security at KU Leuven (Belgium) and International Food Policy Research Institute (USA) point out that this might have come at the expense of neglecting nutrition in the national policies, thus potentially exposing the nation at a higher risk of already concerning and quite common public health risks, such as malnourishment and obesity. In their paper, Saule Burkitbayeva, Johan Swinnen and Nele Warrinnier evaluate the state of art of food security in major Eurasian countries, in order to see where Russia stands compared to other former Soviet republics. The researchers also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of self-sufficiency policy.

Along with growth in the food sector in Russia, there have been drastic changes in the agrarian structure. With their profound analysis of two censuses from 2006 and 2016, recognised experts on Russia’s farming structure Renata Yanbykh and Valeriy Saraikin (both affiliated with the Institute for Agrarian Studies at HSE University, Moscow) and Zvi Lerman (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel) conclude that the old classification used for statistical purposes (organisations, family farms and households) does not reflect adequately the dynamic changes stemming from the response to market signals. In their study, the authors find that over 90% of the agricultural producers contribute less than 5% of the total standard revenue.

A need to shift budget support to general services which support all Russian producers is highlighted in the research article by Olga V. Shik of the Institute for Agrarian Studies at HSE University. The renowned expert in the field conducts an exhaustive analysis of the public expenditures in the Russian agri-food sector from the last decade to conclude that despite having a positive effect on agricultural growth, Russia’s budget support benefits mostly the larger and already the most successful producers. The second major drawback of budget support in agriculture the author identifies is the inefficient distribution of support between the federal and regional budgets, which leads to market disintegration and reduces the efficiency of budget spending.

In their article, distinguished American experts on Russia’s agri-food trade William M. Liefert and Olga Liefert of the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS) report on how Russia’s move from planned to a market economy has fundamentally restructured the country’s agricultural production and trade since the 1990s. Most notably, previously a large importer of grain, soybeans, and soybean meal, the former Soviet state has transitioned to becoming one of the world’s major grain exporters. In fact, Russia has become the world’s top wheat exporter, responsible for 20-23% of the total world exports in 2017-2018. Having also discussed the consequences for the world agricultural markets, the researchers forecast further increase in Russia’s presence in the global market along with slight growth in its produce of value-added foods.

The last article, authored by researchers of the Institute for Agrarian Studies at HSE University Natalia Karlova and Eugenia Serova also addresses the issue of Russia’s presence in the world agri-food market with a focus on the trade with China. Since the significant increase in export is one of the major targets of Russia’s modern agri-food policy, China is seen as the most prospective market. However, there are a number of obstacles and risks that need to be taken into consideration. On one hand, Russia has a fairly limited list of exported agri-food products that have comparative advantages in the Chinese market. On the other hand, the Chinese market is limited by the scale of the country’s domestic demand. Moreover, China has already embarked on a course to self-sufficiency in terms of staple food produce.

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Original sources:

Burkitbayeva S, Swinnen J, Warrinnier N (2020) Food and nutrition security in Eurasia: Evolution, shocks and policies. Russian Journal of Economics 6(1): 6-25. https://doi.org/10.32609/j.ruje.6.49749

Yanbykh R, Saraikin V, Lerman Z (2020) Changes in Russia’s agrarian structure: What can we learn from agricultural census? Russian Journal of Economics 6(1): 26-41. https://doi.org/10.32609/j.ruje.6.49746

Shik OV (2020) Public expenditure for agricultural sector in Russia: Does it promote growth? Russian Journal of Economics 6(1): 42-55. https://doi.org/10.32609/j.ruje.6.49756

Liefert WM, Liefert O (2020) Russian agricultural trade and world markets. Russian Journal of Economics 6(1): 56-70. https://doi.org/10.32609/j.ruje.6.50308

Karlova N, Serova E (2020) Prospects of the Chinese market for Russian agri-food exports. Russian Journal of Economics 6(1): 71-90. https://doi.org/10.32609/j.ruje.6.50824

Vegetation Classification and Survey (VCS), the new journal of the Int’l Association for Vegetation Science

The journal is to launch with a big editorial and several diverse, high-quality papers over the next months

In summer 2019 IAVS decided to start a new, third association-owned journal, Vegetation Classification and Survey (VCS), next to Journal of Vegetation Science (JVS) and Applied Vegetation Science (AVS).

Vegetation Classification and Survey (VCS) is an international, peer-reviewed journal of plant community ecology published on behalf of the International Association for Vegetation Science (IAVS) together with its sister journals, Journal of Vegetation Science (JVS) and Applied Vegetation Science (AVS). It is devoted to vegetation survey and classification at any organizational and spatial scale and without restriction to certain methodological approaches.

The journal publishes original papers that develop new vegetation typologies as well as applied studies that use such typologies, for example, in vegetation mapping, ecosystem modelling, nature conservation, land use management or monitoring. Particularly encouraged are methodological studies that design and compare tools for vegetation classification and mapping, such as algorithms, databases and nomenclatural principles. Papers dealing with conceptual and theoretical bases of vegetation survey and classification are also welcome. While large-scale studies are preferred, regional studies will be considered when filling important knowledge gaps or presenting new methods. VCS also contains Permanent Collections on “Ecoinformatics” and “Phytosociological Nomenclature”.

VCS is published by the innovative publisher Pensoft as a gold open access journal. Thanks to support from IAVS, we can offer particularly attractive article processing charges (APCs) for submissions during the first two years. Moreover, there are significant reductions for IAVS members, members of the Editorial Team and authors from low-income countries or with other financial constraints (learn more about APCs here).

Article submissions are welcomed at: https://vcs.pensoft.net/

Post by Jürgen Dengler, Idoia Biurrun, Florian Jansen & Wolfgang Willner, originally published on Vegetation Science Blog: Official blog ot the IAVS journals.

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Upcoming Special Issue of Biodiversity Data Journal to feature data papers on European Russia

Partners GBIF, FinBIF and Pensoft to support publication of data papers that describe datasets from Russia west of the Ural Mountains

Original post via GBIF

GBIF—the Global Biodiversity Information Facility—in collaboration with the Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility (FinBIF) and Pensoft Publishers, are happy to issue a call for authors to submit and publish data papers on European Russia (west of the Urals) in an upcoming special issue of Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ).

Between now and 31 August 2020, the article processing fee (normally €450) will be waived for the first 20 papers, provided that the publications are accepted and meet the following criteria that the data paper describes a dataset:

The manuscript must be prepared in English and is submitted in accordance with BDJ’s instructions to authors by 31 August 2020. Late submissions will not be eligible for APC waivers.

Sponsorship is limited to the first 20 accepted submissions meeting these criteria on a first-come, first-served basis. The call for submissions can therefore close prior to the stated deadline of 31 August. Authors may contribute to more than one manuscript, but artificial division of the logically uniform data and data stories, or “salami publishing”, is not allowed.

BDJ will publish a special issue including the selected papers by the end of 2020. The journal is indexed by Web of Science (Impact Factor 1.029), Scopus (CiteScore: 1.24) and listed in РИНЦ / eLibrary.ru

For non-native speakers, please ensure that your English is checked either by native speakers or by professional English-language editors prior to submission. You may credit these individuals as a “Contributor” through the AWT interface. Contributors are not listed as co-authors but can help you improve your manuscripts.

In addition to the BDJ instruction to authors, it is required that datasets referenced from the data paper a) cite the dataset’s DOI and b) appear in the paper’s list of references.

Authors should explore the GBIF.org section on data papers and Strategies and guidelines for scholarly publishing of biodiversity data. Manuscripts and datasets will go through a standard peer-review process.

To see an example, view this dataset on GBIF.org and the corresponding data paper published by BDJ.

Questions may be directed either to Dmitry Schigel, GBIF scientific officer, or Yasen Mutafchiev, managing editor of Biodiversity Data Journal.

Definition of terms

Datasets with more than 5,000 records that are new to GBIF.org

Datasets should contain at a minimum 5,000 new records that are new to GBIF.org. While the focus is on additional records for the region, records already published in GBIF may meet the criteria of ‘new’ if they are substantially improved, particularly through the addition of georeferenced locations.

Justification for publishing datasets with fewer records (e.g. sampling-event datasets, sequence-based data, checklists with endemics etc.) will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Datasets with high-quality data and metadata

Authors should start by publishing a dataset comprised of data and metadata that meets GBIF’s stated data quality requirement. This effort will involve work on an installation of the GBIF Integrated Publishing Toolkit.

Only when the dataset is prepared should authors then turn to working on the manuscript text. The extended metadata you enter in the IPT while describing your dataset can be converted into manuscript with a single-click of a button in the ARPHA Writing Tool (see also Creation and Publication of Data Papers from Ecological Metadata Language (EML) Metadata. Authors can then complete, edit and submit manuscripts to BDJ for review.

Datasets with geographic coverage in European Russia west of the Ural mountains

In correspondence with the funding priorities of this programme, at least 80% of the records in a dataset should have coordinates that fall within the priority area of European Russia west of the Ural mountains. However, authors of the paper may be affiliated with institutions anywhere in the world.

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Data audit at Pensoft’s biodiversity journals

Data papers submitted to Biodiversity Data Journal, as well as all relevant biodiversity-themed journals in Pensoft’s portfolio, undergo a mandatory data auditing workflow before being passed down to a subject editor.

Learn more about the workflow here:
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-10/pp-aif101819.php.

Book on plants in the Murmansk region (Russia) scores 4/19 correct insect identifications

A recently published book on some aspects of the ecology of woody introducents in the Murmansk oblast of Russia provides the information on 19 species of plant-damaging insects out of which only 4 species are identified correctly. Dr Mikhail V. Kozlov from the University of Turku provides correct identifications for the insects, illustrated in the book, in his paper, published in the open-access journal Arctic Environmental Research in order to prevent the spread of erroneous information across future publications and databases.

Insect fauna of the Murmansk region is relatively well-studied and that’s why any new faunistic records from this region immediately attract the attention of entomologists. Those findings are especially exciting when they extend the distribution range of certain species by 1,000 to 2,000 km towards the North Pole.

The published misidentifications of insect species can lead to a cascading effect of mistakes, because entomologists commonly use faunistic data published by colleagues decades and even centuries ago. That’s why it is very important to keep a track of such cases and provide correct identifications if possible, remarks the author.

“In particular, three moth species (Archips crataegana, A. podanaand Erannis defoliaria) reported in this book to occur around Kirovsk have not yet been found either in the Murmansk oblast or in the more southern Karelia. In neighbouring Finland, the northernmost records of these species are from locations some 1,000 km to the south of Kirovsk”,

Dr Kozlov shares his concerns.

The most striking examples of misidentification in the book are at the order level: a syrphid fly (Diptera) identified as a leafcutter bee (Hymenoptera), and a sawfly (Hymenoptera) identified as a psyllid (Hemiptera).


Leaf beetle Chrysomela lapponica, erroneously mentioned in the criticized book as a pest of bird cherry, shadbush and chokeberry, feeds in the Murmansk oblast only on willows.
Credit: Vitali Zverev
License: CC-BY 4.0

In conclusion, Dr Kozlov’s revision found that 15 out of the 19 species illustrated were incorrectly identified. Thus, the leaf damage associated with certain insect species, considered in the book, also becomes very questionable.

“The misidentification of pest species can easily result in incorrect pest management and face unnecessary costs, while publication of incorrect data distorts our knowledge of the distribution and biology of insects. Therefore, insect identification for scientific, educational or pest management purposes should always be performed by professionals or by volunteers and students who have specific training for this
purpose”,

concludes Dr Mikhail V. Kozlov.

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Original source:
Kozlov MV (2019) Insects identified by unqualified scientists: multiple “new” records from the Murmansk oblast of Russia are dismissed as false. Arctic Environmental Research 19(4): 153-158. https://doi.org/10.3897/issn2541-8416.2019.19.4.153