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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RIO shifts gears to serve as project-driven knowledge hub

Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO Journal) upgrades its unique concept to appeal to scientific projects, conference organisers and research institutions

Over the last few years, we’ve been increasingly observing how major funders of research around the world, including the likes of the European Commission, Wellcome, U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) recognise the research cycle as a continuum, rather than scattered standalone conclusions and reports. 

Hence, as a forward-looking, open science-driven journal Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) took it as its own responsibility to encourage scientific project teams, conference organisers and research institutions to bring together unconventional research outputs (e.g. grant proposals, data management plans, project deliverables, policy briefs, conference materials) as well as traditional (e.g. research or review papers, monographs, etc.), including such published elsewhere. To do so, RIO now provides the platform ready to be used as a research knowledge hub, where published outcomes are preserved permanently and easier to share, disseminate, reference and reuse.

Hence, RIO stepped up its game by turning permanent article collections into a one-stop source of diverse research items, where project coordinators, conference organisers or research institutions can not only publish early, interim and conclusive research items as they emerge within a research project, a series of events or the continuous scientific efforts at their lab, but also link relevant publications (i.e. preprints, articles or other documents, published elsewhere) available elsewhere through their metadata. As a result, they will receive a one-stop source under their own branding for every piece of scientific contribution ready to present to funding bodies or prospective collaborators and future research teams.

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). 

Apart from bringing contextually linked research outcomes together, thus prompting findability, readership and citability en masse, RIO’s approach to collections ensures further accessibility by not only having RIO-published articles available in traditional PDF, semantically enriched HTML and minable XML format. The open-science journal has now made it possible for users to add to their collections preprints from ARPHA Preprints, as well as author-formatted PDFs (e.g. project deliverables, reports, policy briefs, etc.) and linked metadata to documents published elsewhere. Thanks to the integration of the journal with the general-purpose open-access repository Zenodo, all items in a collection are archived, and additionally indexed, disseminated and cited.

By focusing on article and preprint collections coming out from a research project, institution or conference, RIO provides a quite specific and unique combination of benefits to all actors of the research process: scientists, project coordinators, funders and institutions: 

  1. Project, institution or conference branding and promotion.
  2. One-stop point for outputs of a research project, institution or conference.
  3. Free publication of author-formatted project outputs (i.e. grant proposals, deliverables, reports, policy briefs, conference materials and others).
  4. Inclusivity through adding articles, preprints and other documents published elsewhere as easy as entering the DOI number of the document.
  5. Credit and recognition for the Collection and Guest editors, who take care to organise and manage the article collection.
  6. Easier discoverability and usability of topically related studies to benefit both authors and readers.
  7. Increased visibility of related papers in a collection, even when these might otherwise not have much exposure.
  8. Simultaneous citation of multiple articles related to a certain subject.
  9. Citation and referencing of the whole collection as a complete entity.
  10.  DOI and citation details for collections and individual articles.

Furthermore, RIO Journal maps all publications to the Sustainable Development Goals  (SDGs), in order to emphasise the real-world impact of each published contribution, by displaying the corresponding badge within the article list. 

Last, but not least, both collections and individual publications in RIO enjoy the variety of default and on-demand science communication services, provided by Pensoft.  

How do project coordinators, funders and institutions benefit from a collection in RIO?

At the time a grant proposal is submitted to a research funder for evaluation, the team behind the proposed project has already put in considerable efforts, resulting in a unique idea with the potential to make a great stride towards the resolution of an outstanding problem in science, if only given the chance. However, too many of these ideas are bound to remain locked away in the archives of those funders, not because they are lacking in scientific value, but due to limited funds.

So, with its launch back in 2015, RIO Journal made it possible to publish and shed light on grant proposals and research ideas in general, similar early research outputs regardless of whether they are eventually funded or not, a novelty in scholarly publishing which earned RIO the SPARC Innovator Award Winner in 2016. To date, the journal has already published 75 grant proposals

Then, imagine what a contribution to science it would make to bring together the whole continuum of knowledge and scientific work all the way from the grant proposal to data  and software management plans, workshop reports, policy briefs and all interim and final deliverables produced within the span of the project!

On the other hand, funders are increasingly evaluating a prospective project’s impact based on its communication strategy. So, why not publish a grant proposal at the time of the submission of your proposal, in order to prove to the funding body that your project is serious about optimising its outreach to both the public and academia? Furthermore, by having an academic journal host any subsequent project deliverable, as a coordinator, you can rest assured that the communication activities of your project remain consistent and efficient.

In an excellent example of a project collection, the EU-funded ICEDIG (Innovation and Consolidation for Large Scale Digitisation of Natural Heritage), led by several major natural history institutions, including the Natural History Museum of London, Naturalis Biodiversity Center (the Netherlands), the French National Museum of Natural History and Helsinki University, brought together policy briefs, project reports, research articles and review papers, in order to provide a fantastic overview of their own research continuum. As a result, future researchers and various stakeholders can easily piece together the key components within the project, in order to learn from, recreate or even build on the experience of ICEDIG.

Explore the ICEDIG Project Outcomes collection on RIO’s website.

Similarly, conference organisers can make use of their own branded collections to overcome the ephemerality of presented research by collating virtually all valuable conference outputs, including abstracts, posters, presentations, datasets and full-text conference talks. For further convenience, a collection can be divided into subcollections, in order to organise the contribution by type or symposium. What particularly appeals to conference participants is the ARPHA Writing Tool, an intuitive collaborative online environment, which practically guides the user through each step: authoring, submission and pre-submission review, within a set of pre-designed, yet flexible templates available for each type of a conference output, thus sparing them the hassle to familiarise themselves with specific and perplexing formatting requirements

For institutions, RIO offers the opportunity to continuously provide evidence of the scholarly impact of their organisation. To better serve the needs of different labs or research teams, an institution can easily organise their outputs into various subcollections, and also customise their own article types, as well as the available usage tracking systems. Furthermore, by making use of the available pre-paid plans, institutions can support their researchers by covering fully or partially the publication charges at a discounted rate.

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Find more information regarding the submission and review process, policies and pricing, visit RIO Journal’s website.

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Making the most of conferences with modern publishing and indexing practices

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

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

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

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

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

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

Collections of conference abstracts, posters and presentations

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

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

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

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

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

Conference proceedings

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

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

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

Article topical collections and special issues resulting from conferences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pensoft and ARPHA welcome three biodiversity-themed journals in their portfolio

The scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft and its self-developed publishing platform ARPHA welcome three journals to their distinguished and growing portfolio of biodiversity-themed journals. The international, peer-reviewed and open-access journals Acta Ichthyologica et PiscatoriaCaucasiana and Zitteliana are now fully operable and open for submissions through their new websites and technologically advanced user interfaces.

By moving to ARPHA, the three scholarly outlets will not only revamp their websites and technological backbone, but will also take advantage from ARPHA’s signature fast-track, end-to-end publishing system, which is to benefit all journal users: authors, reviewers and editors alike. In addition, the journals will use all unique services offered by ARPHA, such as data publishing, linked data tables, semantic markup and enhancements, automated export of sub-article elements and data to aggregators, web-service integrations with over 40 world-class indexing and archiving databases, sub-article-level usage metrics, and more. Published articles are to be available in PDF, machine-readable JATS XML formats and semantically enriched HTML, so that they guarantee better reader experience to ensure they are easy to discover, access, cite and reuse.

Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria

Launched in 1970, Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria (AIeP) publishes research about all aspects of ichthyology and fisheries, concerning true fishes (fin-fishes), including taxonomy, biology, morphology, anatomy, physiology, pathology, parasitology, reproduction and zoogeography. To be accepted, manuscripts need to be based on original experimental data or experimental methods, or new analyses of already existing data. The journal stands against the publication of “isolated” research, linked neither to the “past” nor the “future” of science. Likewise, “salami science” is also discouraged. 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).

Caucasiana

As a successor of the Proceedings of the Institute of Zoology of the Georgian Academy of Science, the Caucasiana is to give new life to the historical, print-only zoological by becoming a full-fledged, exclusively digital scholarly journal, focused on the still poorly known biodiversity in the Caucasus region and its adjacent areas. Caucasiana‘s aim is to accumulate primary biodiversity data urgently needed to understand the big picture of the biodiversity in the area: from individuals to ecosystems. To support the mission of uncovering the secrets of the Caucasus, the journal operates a no-APCs policy.

While the journal will be considering all biodiversity-related studies, based on their merits and quality of research, Caucasiana places special attention to taxonomic inventories and systematics. Thereby, in addition to traditional research outputs, the journal also publishes data papers, annotated checklists, monographs and conference proceedings, making use of the suite of biodiversity data publishing innovations, tools and know-how available from Pensoft.

Zitelliana

In 2021, Zitelliana is celebrating its 50th anniversary in a brand new gear in an excellent example of tradition working perfectly together with innovation and modernity. Since its launch in 1961, Zitelliana, a scholarly journal devoted to all fields of paleontology and geobiology, and owned by the Bavarian State Collection of Palaeontology and Geology (SNSB), has changed several names (i.e. Mitteilungen der Bayerischen Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und historische Geologie, Zitteliana A (Abhandlungen) and Zitteliana B (Mitteilungen)) and has extended its scope to cover research from outside Bavaria and adjacent regions or materials deposited in the SNSB’s collections.

Today, Zitteliana welcomes both modern and traditional research outputs, including palaeobiology, geobiology, palaeogenomics, biodiversity, stratigraphy, sedimentology, regional geology, systematics, phylogeny, and cross-disciplinary studies. Thanks to the support of the SNSB, authors in Zitteliana publish free of charge.

“At Pensoft, we take pride in our experience and achievements in the field of biodiversity research publishing and dissemination, so we’re particularly pleased to welcome these three wonderful journals and share our know-how with them at all levels: readership, editorship, publication and dissemination,” comments Prof. Lyubomir Penev, CEO and founder of Pensoft and ARPHA.

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Overview: top new ARPHA features from 2020

As another year is drawing to a close, it’s time for us to evaluate what we’ve achieved to better our services, or, as we’d rather refer to those, our mutual collaboration with our client journals and publishers, as well as their users: editors, reviewers, authors and readers alike. 

Without a doubt, 2020 has been an extraordinary year that posed plenty of challenges at both personal and professional level to everyone, everywhere in the world. Having said that, at ARPHA, we’re proud that our perseverance and dedication to never let down those who have put their trust in us have pulled us through, while ensuring that we close the year with a positive outlook.

In 2020, we saw the move of a total of 14 international scientific journals to ARPHA Platform of diverse origin, background and scientific fields:

Some of them opted to use our white-label publishing solution, while others decided to sign up with Pensoft as a (co-)publisher. Browse the complete list of ARPHA-hosted journals on our website.

Naturally, we understand that each journal has its own needs and wants, in addition to its own short- and long-term plans and goals. This is why it is from day one that we assume responsibility to work closely together to ensure a personal, customer-centric approach at all times. One way to do this is by having our various services flexible and available as opt-in, mix-and-match features, so that journals can customise their own publishing solution.

Furthermore, based on our clients’ feedback, in addition to our in-house observations and know-how, we don’t cease to introduce new opportunities for journals to upgrade their functionality to the benefit of their own teams and users. 

Below you will find an overview of the top new features and services ARPHA introduced in 2020:

  • ARPHA Preprints
  • Dedicated editorial workflow for Special Issues and Topical article collections
  • Editor and reviewer application form
  • Journal performance statistics
  • Journal performance reports
  • Workload statistics for reviewers and subject editors
  • Review rating
  • Contributor roles for co-authors 
  • Easy update of user expertise
  • Integration with the research discovery app Researcher

ARPHA Preprints

In October, we officially launched ARPHA’s preprint platform, aptly named ARPHA Preprints. Frankly speaking, we’ve been planning for our own preprint platform for quite a while now, as we were determined to ensure the feature is ultimately convenient and beneficial to our journals and their authors. Undeniably, 2020 proved the perfect timing to see this idea ripe, as we’ve been witnessing a significant rise in preprints use and demand.

So, what’s it in ARPHA Preprints that stands out? 

Available to all ARPHA Platform-hosted journals as an opt-in and free of charge service, ARPHA Preprints provides authors with the opportunity to post a preprint at the mere ‘cost’ of several clicks while submitting their article manuscript.

Submission of preprints workflow at participating ARPHA-hosted journals

By doing so, their pre-review manuscripts appear on ARPHA Preprints in a matter of one to a few days’ time, subject to a quick screening performed at the journal’s editorial office, in order to verify the submission conforms with the journal’s scope and standards, and does not contain any unethical content or plagiarism. If the associated paper is published in the journal, a link between the article and preprint is provided to prompt the citation of the paper rather than the preprint. On the occasion that the article is rejected at the ARPHA-hosted journal, where it has been submitted, the preprint is disassociated from the journal. 

Read more about ARPHA Preprints on our blog.

Dedicated editorial workflow for Special Issues and Topical article collections

Following a series of meetings with the editorial boards of our client journals, where we discussed the next steps in their plans in terms of journal development, we came up with the decision that we need a dedicated workflow to facilitate guest editors, who wish to propose a special issue or a topical article collection. Naturally, this workflow had to work just as convenient for the journal’s managing editors and everyone further down the line. Similarly to the ARPHA Preprints integration, we made this feature available to all ARPHA-hosted journals as an opt-in, free of charge service.

Firstly, we provided a clear information note on the key specifics, advantages and requirements for each article collection type. These are now available on the websites of all participating journals, in addition to an easy to spot proposal form, located on the journal’s homepage, in order to ensure that guest editors won’t be dissuaded by any technicalities.

Manuscript handling workflow at special issues / article collections in ARPHA-hosted journals

Secondly, by implementing direct proposal forms delivered straight to the Editors-in-Chief’s inboxes and easily visible on the journal website, as well as our distinguished highly automated manuscript handling workflow, we ended up with a smooth process that avoids potential delays, misunderstandings and annoying issues for everyone.

Read more about ARPHA’s approach to article collections and special issues on our blog.

Editor and reviewer application form

Similarly, after receiving valuable feedback from our client’s editorial board members, we figured that we could provide an easier application for subject editors at ARPHA-hosted journals. 

At the request of a journal’s managing editor, we are ready to add a convenient Become an Editor button on the homepage of the journal that takes the applicant to an exhaustive, yet simple to fill-in form. Upon submission, the application is delivered straight to the Editor-in-Chief’s inbox providing him/her with all necessary information to make a decision and reply to the applicant. 

By opting to add the feature, journals can make a simple, yet efficient step towards expanding the journal’s editorial team, thus optimising and expediting the editorial process, and naturally improving user satisfaction and journal performance.

Journal performance statistics

As we’re talking about journal development and striving for progress and success, the logical question is: how do we know what needs to be improved, revised or built upon? As always in science, the answer is: we need data and insight.

While we have had plenty of statistics available to Editors-in-Chief and managing editors for years already, we recently introduced several extra ones to provide further insight into the journal’s performance and how the numbers fare against those of previous months, quartiles or years.

So far, the Editors-in-Chief and managing editors have had access to:

  • manuscript submissions at any moment and their status;
  • publications and submissions for any period of interest; 
  • publications by article type for a period of choice; 
  • international representation based on lead author’s country for a period of choice;
  • article views for a period of choice.

In 2020, we added statistics about turnaround times, so that the editors are aware of the average time submitted manuscripts spend at different stages (e.g. peer review or editorial decision). Also, they now have access to a record of all online mentions from across the Internet, including traditional and new media, blogs, Wikipedia, policy documents and many others, thanks to our partners at Altmetric.

Journal performance reports

Even though we already made all those data concerning a journal’s real-time performance readily available for Editors-in-Chief and managing editors, we knew we could do more. As open-research proponents, we are well aware that openness and free access is not quite the same as findability. So, we set up bi-annual reports to be delivered to the inboxes of Editors-in-Chief and managing editors as a convenient and regular reminder of the current progress of the journal compared to the last period. 

In those reports, we point to the most recent statistics, concerning:

  • current submissions and their status;
  • submissions, publications and rejections;
  • acceptance rate;
  • turnaround times;
  • average review invitations, declines and review rounds;
  • authors by country;
  • article views;
  • online article mentions;
  • Journal Impact Factor and CiteScore trends.

Furthermore, for journals using ARPHA’s Standard and Premium reporting services, we have prepared an extended report for the end of the calendar year, where they will find even more insights into the citability, outreach, readership and scholarly impact of their journals and their content. For Premium customers, the report will also feature a review and recommendations provided by ARPHA’s journal development team.

Workload for reviewers and subject editors

We know that prolonged peer review time presents a frustrating stumbling block for many otherwise renowned for their high standards and academic rigour journals. Striving to further optimise this process at ARPHA-hosted journals, we developed workload statistics and record of past activity for reviewers and subject editors, visible to the editor at the stage of assignment. Thus, the editor is able to give priority to users who aren’t busy with editorial/review assignments at the moment, and/or those who have a good record of past activity at the journal and/or similar journals on ARPHA Platform.

Review rating

Similarly, to further encourage diligence and speed in peer review at ARPHA-hosted journals, we offer our clients an optional feature where subject editors can evaluate submitted reviews using a 5-star rating system. As a result, the next subject editors will be able to see the average score of a reviewer before they assign him/her for the manuscript they’re handling.

Contributor roles for co-authors 

Determined to always give credit where credit is due, while promoting transparency in academia and scholarship, we enabled submitting authors to assign each co-author with a role, depending on his/her primary contribution to the preparation of the manuscript. Thus, once published, a paper will clearly indicate the author who has, for example, conceptualised the study, developed the utilised software or written the original draft. 

The options available in the drop-down menu follow CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy): a high-level taxonomy, which includes 14 roles typically assumed by contributors to scholarly output.

Easy update of user expertise

As everything is (hopefully!) moving quickly in academia, we figured it’s time to take extra care after ensuring the users profiles in our systems are as relevant as possible. This is important, because ARPHA uses the expertise listed in a user’s profile to suggest reviewers and subject editors for each manuscript. So, in order to facilitate our editors and, ultimately, further expedite the peer review process at ARPHA-hosted journals, we’ve scheduled a few reminders throughout the year to prompt users to have a look at their profiles and update them, if necessary.

Integration with the research discovery app Researcher

Well aware of the fact that Open Science is way more than cost-free access to scientific and publicly funded knowledge, we understand that in the digital reality of today, the question is much more about findability and discoverability, i.e. the probability that you stumble across a particular research paper while browsing. This is why we’re continuously integrating our platform and the journals hosted on ARPHA with additional research discovery platforms used by scientists around the world to inform themselves about the latest findings in their fields of interest. 

So, we recently collaborated with Researcher: an innovative mobile and web application, currently used by 1.8 million people globally, which allows you to set up your own social media-style feed of research papers by following your favourite academic journals or research topics. Now, all articles published in Pensoft’s journals – as well as participating journals using ARPHA’s white-label publishing solution – are continuously fetched by the app and delivered to their right audiences.   

Read more about our integration with Researcher on our blog.

We are always looking forward to hearing from our clients about what they like or dislike in ARPHA, as well as their recommendations on what we could do better! You are welcome to contact us with your feedback and questions at: info@arphahub.com.

Follow @ARPHAPlatform on Twitter. 

Special issues & Topical collections made simple with ARPHA

Recently, we held a series of meetings with the editorial boards of our client journals, where we focused on journal development and how we, as a publisher and services provider, can further chip in in the ultimate editorial task: quality content acquisition. One thing that we reaffirmed was a longstanding notion: academics are deeply fond of special issues and topical collections (collectively referred to as “article collections”).

So, there’s a good reason why this remains to be the case, even in the high-tech era of today where everything changes and evolves day by day. Come to think about it, it’s several of them:

  • Good for the editors: guest editors receive highly valued credit and recognition for bringing together extensive quantities of thematic content, where the topic is usually a pressing and highly appreciated amongst fellow academics. Showcasing that you have pitched and taken the responsibility of managing an article collection is a wonderful way to sprinkle some sparkle in your academic resume!
  • Good for the readers: collated content makes it easier to discover and, in turn, use relevant studies, thereby saving precious time for the next research team looking to develop the topic.
  • Good for the authors: it’s the bitter truth that many research papers fall short on academic and/or public attention for no reason other than the fact they haven’t gone viral on Twitter, nor have their titles been made artificially appealing. Getting your paper next to a highly attractive publication, however, can give your study that delicate boost of first-sight appeal!
  • Good for the journal: having multiple papers conveniently grouped together by topic and relevance prompts their simultaneous use and citation, naturally increasing the overall impact of the journal hosting the article collection. As a bonus, the issue as an entity is likely to receive references, further aiding the journal’s outstanding reputation.

Having acknowledged all of this, we found ourselves contemplating how we could possibly help our client journals and their users pitch and manage article collections. 

Firstly, we refined the concepts for both special issues and topical collections. Then, we developed a dedicated editorial management system to allow for a smooth and efficient workflow all the way from the moment the collection’s proposal is submitted to its successful conclusion. 

Special issue vs. Topical collection

While both types of article collections overlap considerably, we shall start by explaining what are the key differences between a special issue and a topical collection:

Special issueTopical collection
Available* only at journals published in consequent numbered issuesAvailable* at all journals
Deadline for manuscript submission and publication of the issueNo deadline for manuscript submission (until the collection is announced to be closing soon)
Possible limits in the volume and/or number of articles in the special issue No limits for volume or number of articles
Pre-scheduled (approximate) date of publication announced with the initial call for papersCollection editors need to provide a timely notice when/if the collection is planned to close for submission
Papers wait for publication until completion of the special issue and the set publication date Papers are published on a rolling basis as soon as ready
All papers published in a separately numbered issue within the yearly journal’s volumePapers in the collection normally published in different journal issues, depending on time of publication
Normally published within a year from the initial call for papers Can be published across many years, depending on the Collection editor’s commitment and journal’s decision

*Availability is subject to request by the journal.

How it works

  • Each submission meant for the collection will be first delivered to the editorial office and/or Editor-in-Chief (depending on the journal’s policy), in order to ensure that the manuscript is compatible with the journal’s scope, focus and standards. 
  • If approved, the manuscript is forwarded to the Collection editor who assigns it to either himself/herself or another Guest editor to take care after the peer review process and make the editorial decision on its acceptance or rejection. 
  • Once the Collection editor submits the decision, the submission’s processing will be finalised at the journal’s editorial office.

As a result, ARPHA’s automated journal management system, in combination with our experienced editorial team, provides an efficient and convenient service that balances out user interface intuitivity, time-efficiency and quality.

The editor’s point of view

To provide an efficient organisation and balance in the workload, we’ve designated two roles for the guest editors of an article collection: a Collection editor and a Guest editor(s). While both are able to handle manuscripts as handling (subject) editors (i.e. manage the peer review process and make a final decision on the manuscript’s acceptance or rejection), the Collection editor is the one who pitches the collection, appoints the Guest editors and works with the journal’s editorial office on matters regarding the collection, including its appearance on the journal’s website. It’s also the responsibility of the Collection editor to ensure that the collection meets any applicable requirements.

A designated Edit a Special issue button available from the homepage of the journal’s website navigates a guest editor to the proposal form, which is then directly emailed to the journal’s Editor-in-Chief and/or the Editorial office (see example).

Thanks to the refined ARPHA workflow, all the Collection editor needs to do is fill in an application form on the journal’s website, then wait to be contacted by the journal’s editorial office and/or Editor-in-Chief. If the collection is approved, the editorial office will set up the collection and grant the Collection editor with the necessary rights and provide instructions for ARPHA’s comprehensive journal management system, where he/she will be able to track and perform the actions needed to handle the manuscript. Similarly to the regular editorial workflow at ARPHA-hosted journals, the platform will be automatically notifying the editors each time they need to take an action.    

The author’s point of view

The only thing authors, who wish to submit their paper to an article collection within an ARPHA-hosted journal, will have to do differently in comparison to the regular submission process, is to select the name of the collection in a dropdown menu during the submission process.

On the occasion that the manuscript complies with the scope and standards of the journal, meaning it successfully passes the pre-review evaluation, however, is declined from the collection by the Collection editor prior to peer review, the submission will be processed through the journal’s standard editorial process, and if accepted for publication, the article will appear as a regular article in the journal.

Find more information about the article collections workflow and requirements in the About space at the website of the journal you’re interested in (see example from ZooKeys). 

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We’re open to feedback and further information requests. You can contact us on email: info@arphahub.com

Follow @ARPHAPlatform on Twitter and make sure to subscribe to our blog to keep yourself updated about new features coming to ARPHA-published journals.

Energy transition at the crossroads: New topical issue in Russian Journal of Economics

Titled “Energy transition at the crossroads”, the new issue of the Russian Journal of Economics gets a set of profound messages across, which can be summarized as: “transition matters, transition goes, yet transition is not a simple, unified march towards a Green future”.

Together, the seven articles in the issue bring forward the notion that the world is a diverse place regarding resources, population growth, human capital, development and political agendas. However, the path to the Energy transition–an integral part of the United Nations’ Sustainable development goals (SDGs)–is something every nation needs to face in the wake of multiple and unprecedented simultaneous global crises: systemic for health, economic, environmental, political and humanitarian.

“All papers look into substantive issues that have emerged following key, global decisions made in recent years. It’s high time that we stop persuading each other into taking the Green path and, instead, turn to the actual problems, costs and obstacles on the way,” says the issue’s editor Prof. Leonid Grigoryev, HSE University, Moscow, Russia.

The collection of articles analyses the outcomes of recent trends in the field of global energy, as well as the mechanisms behind the dramatic changes in the business world, public attitudes and government policies.

“Gazing into the crystal ball right now may be a question of analyzing the casualties from the 2020 recession and the interaction with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the logic of interests and intentions of all parties and actors involved in the decision-making process. This is certainly an ‘interesting time’ — as the oriental curse allegedly says,” comments Grigoryev.

The first article in the issue: “Long-term development of the global energy sector under the influence of energy policies and technological progress” is authored by renowned energy economists at the Energy Research Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Energy Centre of the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO: Alexey Makarov, Tatyana Mitrova, Vyatcheslav Kulagin. It addresses the current period of transformation in the world energy sector, defined by the emergence of a whole range of cost-effective technologies and the formation of new state priorities that can radically change the structure of energy use. The researchers use a complex forecasting model to predict how the world energy markets will be developing in the period up to 2040. Amongst their estimations is that oil and coal will pass their peak of consumption before 2040. That will not only lead to a radical change in the price environment of energy markets, but also to a transformation of the way they are organized and regulated, as well as to a revision of business models of most energy companies.

The second article, authored by Emre Hatipoglu, Saleh Al Muhanna and Brian Efird and titled “Renewables and the future of geopolitics: Revisiting main concepts of international relations from the lens of renewables” covers a diverse scope of research. It presents a review of the geopolitical, institutional, and technological aspects of the development of renewable energy sources, including transportation and delivery of energy across national borders. With their work, the research team at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (Saudi Arabia) warn that global issues currently linked to the use of non-renewable sources are most likely bound to remain after the energy transition. These include security, export interdependence, and availability of source materials.

The third article is focused on the energy transition in the European Union in line with the evolution of the European Green Package to the New Green Deal. The paper is authored by Manfred Hafner and Pier Paolo Raimondi, affiliated with Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (Italy), Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe (Italy) and the Science Po Paris School of International Affairs (France). The authors give an analyzed full-fledged account of the growing ambition of the EU to lead the global transition to a climate-neutral world. In their work, they also suggest that the transition will also impact the external relations of the EU, for example with Russia, and suggest that the two blocs can preserve their energy relationship in light of the energy transition, notably through the conversion of natural gas to hydrogen and storing the resulting CO2.

The fourth article: “The role of gases in the European energy transition” by Prof. Jonathan Stern (Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, United Kingdom) suggests an interesting approach to the role of gases in the global economy, with a focus on the EU. He bases his evaluation of the next three decades on the forecast for global demand of gases, which will reach its peak by 2030 in North America, Eurasia and China, and then subsequently diminish by 2050. The demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) is predicted to increase, given the relatively low prices. However, later on, LNG producers will need “revolutionary” technologies of decarbonization as well.

In the fifth article by Kirsten Westphal (German Institute for International and Security Affairs): “German-Russian gas relations in face of the energy transition”, the author reviews the subject of energy transition from a few different perspectives. Firstly, she discusses it as a part of the historically tested alliance between Russia and Germany, developed and framed over time. Then, she refers to it as an “energy diplomacy” case. “This would require a political shift away from securitization to decarbonization, not only in Germany, but even more so in the EU, and in particular, in Russia,” concludes Westphal.

The sixth article: “Fossil fuels markets in the ‘energy transition’ era” is authored by Vyatcheslav Kulagin, Dmitry Grushevenko and Nikita Kapustin of the Energy Research Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences. In their study, the researchers investigate the long-term impact of the energy transition and related processes on the markets of key fossil fuels: oil, natural gas, and coal. In addition, they discuss important cases, such as traditional versus electric cars, with subsidies also factored in. Overall, the article can be seen as a “technology-friendly” one, while simultaneously avoiding overoptimistic expectations on efficiency and decarbonization. One may call this approach to energy transition as “optimism through a rational lens”.

The last article in the special issue: “Global energy trilemma” by Leonid Grigoryev and Dzhanneta Medzhidova (HSE University and Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russia), brings us back to the profound interaction between growth, poverty, inequality and the problems concerning energy transition and climate change. Essentially, the authors pose a rather simple and straightforward question: if the EU succeeds in its fast decarbonization program by 2030-2050, but the globe ends up with another billion of people suffering from poverty (including energy poverty), would this be a satisfactory outcome, according to the UN, as outlined in the SDGs? This problem is referred to as the “Global energy trilemma”, which sets poverty and inequality,?growth, and?energy and climate against each other. The authors also point out that reaching the UN Agenda 2030 will be very difficult, given the consequences of the 2020 recession. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, financial resources for development and energy transition are expected to be heavily diverted to inevitable health care reforms, while investments are declining on a global level. The researchers conclude that the solution lies in coordinated actions aimed at avoiding the potential aggravations of global social problems.

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Find the full “Energy transition at the crossroads” issue in the Russian Journal of Economics” at: https://rujec.org/issue/2951/.

Follow Russian Journal of Economics on Twitter at @RuJEconomics.

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Cover image:

Three Czarevnas of Underground Kingdom (1879). A painting by Viktor Vasnetsov. The painting is based on the Russian fairy tale The Three Kingdoms: Copper, Silver, and Golden.

Credit: Viktor Vasnetsov; Tretyakov Gallery (License: PD-Art)

All articles published in Pensoft journals at your fingertips with the Researcher app

Following a recent integration with the novel, social network-style research discovery app Researcher, the scholarly publishing platform ARPHA has taken yet another step to ensure scholarly publications from across its open-access, peer-reviewed journal portfolio are as easy to find and read as possible. Now, research papers published in all Pensoft’s, as well as all other journals hosted on ARPHA, can reach the 1.8 million current users of Researcher directly on their screens.

Similarly to the world’s best known and used social media networks: Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, Researcher allows its users, scientists and academics, to follow their favourite scholarly journals and topics, in order to receive their content in a personalised newsfeed format, either on their phones or computers. Thus, they can stay up to date with the latest research in their scientific fields by simply scrolling down: much like what they are already used to in their everyday life outside academia. 

Additionally, Researcher lets users bookmark papers to go back to later on and even invite friends to join the platform. Furthermore, the users can also synchronise their accounts with their ORCID iDs, in order to load their own papers on their profiles on Researcher. 

The Researcher app fetches new publications from all indexed journals several times a day, thus ensuring that a user’s newsfeed is updated in almost real time. Now, the ARPHA-hosted journals have joined the 17,000 academic outlets from across the sciences already sharing their publications on the app.

“At Pensoft, we are perfectly aware that good and open science practices go far beyond cost-free access to research articles. In reality, Open Science is also about easier findability and reusability, that is the probability one stumbles across a particular research publication, and consequently, cite and build on the findings in his/her own studies. By indexing our journals with Researcher, we’re further facilitating the discoverability of their content to the benefit of the authors who trust us with their work,”

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

“We share ARPHA’s belief that Open Science means more than just free access – it means giving scholarly and scientific content the best chance to get in front the right reader at the right time. Our mission is to make sure that scientists and researchers never miss vital research. This partnership will ensure that distribution to our users across the world is built into the ARPHA platform – boosting discoverability and smoothing the path to impact,”

adds Olly Cooper, CEO of Researcher.

Follow ARPHA on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Open call for papers by the new OA International Journal of Heritage, Memory and Conflict

Launched in collaboration with the Amsterdam University Press and the Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture (AHM), and hosted on the innovative, high-tech scholarly publishing platform ARPHA, the latest addition to the AUP’s journal portfolio is already inviting contributions. 

The open-access, peer-reviewed International Journal of Heritage, Memory and Conflict (HMC) aims to offer an interdisciplinary space for the rich scholarship within a wide range of studies by crossing academic, artistic and professional boundaries; while also contributing to the better understanding of the extent to which memory sites and discourses operate as vehicles at local, national and transnational levels.

The HMC covers the fields of memory studies, cultural studies, museum studies, Arts and media and performative studies, postcolonial studies, ethnology, Holocaust and genocide studies, conflict and identity studies, archaeology, material culture and landscapes, conservation and restoration, cultural, public and oral history, critical and digital heritage studies. 

The HMC is the third journal by AUP to move to the scholarly publishing platform ARPHA after the Dutch journal of Accountancy & Business Economics (Maandblad voor Accountancy en Bedrijfseconomie), and the Journal of European Landscape

Likewise, HMC will also benefit not only from the signature glossy and intuitive user interface provided by ARPHA, but also from the platform’s distinguished fast-track, end-to-end publishing experience available to the use of authors, reviewers and editors. Within ARPHA’s seamless environment, each manuscript submitted to HMC is carried through the review, editing, publication, dissemination and archiving stages without ever leaving ARPHA’s collaboration-centred online environment. 

Furthermore, in order to ensure that HMC’s content is as easy to find, access, cite and reuse as possible, the articles are published in three formats: traditional PDF, machine-readable JATS XML formats, and semantically enriched HTML. The journal is also indexed at major indexers and archivers.

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More information on submission and article processing charges can be found on the journal’s website here.

Now launched: ARPHA Preprints to fast-track research submitted to ARPHA-hosted journals

Having long considered how to help authors at our client journals get their work out in the open as early as possible, and prompted by the current research ecosystem, we came up with a new landmark feature, the ARPHA Preprints, where the preparation and posting of a preprint would be as much of a hassle as ticking a couple of check-boxes. Posting a preprint is an optional service for both journals and authors. 

ARPHA Preprints in short

ARPHA Preprints is a new platform designed by ARPHA and Pensoft to host pre-review manuscripts submitted to participating ARPHA-hosted journals. The key here is that it only takes a few clicks for the author to submit a preprint, and no more than a few days before the preprint becomes accessible on ARPHA Preprints, thus open to feedback and contribution by fellow scientists.

Once the associated manuscript successfully completes peer review in the ARPHA-hosted journal and gets published, the preprint will be conveniently linked to the formal paper, thus facilitating and prompting citation of peer-reviewed research.

ARPHA Preprints publication workflow in participating ARPHA-hosted journals.

Visit ARPHA Preprints website to see the growing list of ARPHA-hosted journals integrated with ARPHA Preprints to date.

Manuscript submitted to Biodiversity Data Journal (currently under review) and posted as a preprint (DOI: 10.3897/arphapreprints.e59250) on ARPHA Preprints. If published in BDJ, the text will change to “Published in Biodiversity Data Journal”. If rejected, the preprint will be disassociated from the journal to prevent potential issues with future resubmission.

ARPHA Preprints in practice

During submission at any of the journals that have been integrated with ARPHA Preprints, an author will come to a question asking them whether they wish to post a preprint. If they check that box and agree to the terms and conditions of posting a preprint, the platform will use the files uploaded to compile a preprint in PDF format. Here, the author will be able to preview the file and either agree they are happy with how it looks, or, alternatively, replace it with their own copy. The bottom line is, the manuscript and the preprint are submitted simultaneously.

Having confirmed they wish to post a preprint while submitting to the journal, ARPHA lets the authors review and, if needed, replace the preprint with their own PDF file. This is the version that will be posted as a preprint on ARPHA Preprints in a few days’ time – once it successfully completes the in-house screening.

At this point, it is only one to a few days keeping the preprint away from public knowledge. This time is needed for the submission to undergo a basic screening, meant to verify that it complies with the journal’s focus and scope, and does not contain offensive language, pseudoscience, plagiarism or any other unethical content.

When posted, preprints indicate the name of the journal, where the associated manuscript has been submitted. If published in that journal, this status changes to Published, while a link and citation details to the formal publication are provided via DOI and the Citation tab, respectively. This means that whenever a reader finds information in the preprint he/she would like to cite in their own work, he/she will have easy to spot, intuitive access to the peer-reviewed paper. If the manuscript is rejected on this occasion, the preprint is disassociated from the journal to prevent potential issues with future resubmission.

Preprints are open to public as well as private comments, in order to encourage constructive feedback and contribution well before the formal publication sees the light of the day.

ARPHA Preprints extra perks

Preprints posted on ARPHA Preprints are:

  • Registered with CrossRef and assigned with their own digital object identifier (DOI) to ensure scientific record and permanent availability;
  • Indexed in several indexing services covering preprints to increase findability;
  • Easy to track for viewership (via ARPHA Platform-provided views counting tools), online engagement (via integration with Altmetric) and citation (via integration with Dimensions) rates;
  • Promptly shared on social media to increase visibility and outreach.

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Got further questions about ARPHA Preprints? Visit our FAQs page or email us at info@arphahub.com.

Much like an author of a preprint, we will be happy to hear some constructive feedback from you!

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Follow ARPHA Preprints on Twitter.

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Register with Pensoft to customise your email alerts from ARPHA Preprints and ARPHA-hosted journals by title and/or topic.