Earlier this year, in a pilot project, the teams of high-tech startup Knowledge Pixels and open-access scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft released a novel workflow to publicly share and future-proof scientific findings by means of nanopublications.
Nanopublications complement human-created narratives of scientific knowledge with elementary, machine-actionable, simple and straightforward scientific statements that prompt sharing, finding, accessibility, citability and interoperability. By making it easier to trace individual findings back to their origin and/or follow-up updates, it also helps to better understand the provenance of biodiversity data.
These semantic statements expressed in community-agreed terms, openly available through links to controlled vocabularies, ontologies and standards, are not only freely accessible to everyone in both human-readable and machine-actionable formats, but also easy-to-digest for computer algorithms and AI-powered assistants.
Now, the collaborators – also partly supported by the Horizon 2020-funded project BiCIKL (abbreviation for Biodiversity Community Integrated Knowledge Library) – have built up on a pilot workflow already launched in the Biodiversity Data Journal – to create a specialised nanopublication solution to address the need for FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) data in the biodiversity science domain.
In their studies, researchers need to use and refer to extensive and diverse biodiversity data at once, e.g. information about groups of organisms and their classification, collections, authors and genetic sequences. However, those would normally be scattered across a vast number of articles or belong to dissociated databases. This is a major and widely recognised issue in biodiversity science, which is currently stagnating progress not only in building up the world’s knowledge about the natural world around us, but also impeding biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration.
Using the newly released nanopublication workflow, biodiversity researchers can now incorporate nanopublications within their manuscripts to future-proof their most important assertions on biological taxa and organisms or statements about associations of taxa or organisms and their environments.
In addition, the authors can also create standalone nanopublications that comment or derive from already existing research journals published in an academic journal or another citable source (e.g. expert database), regardless of the author of the source.
“With the nanopublication format, authors make sure that key scientific statements – the ones underpinning their research work – are efficiently communicated in a machine-actionable and FAIR manner. Thus, their contributions to science become future-proof for a reality driven by AI technology,”
explains Prof. Lyubomir Penev, founder and CEO at Pensoft.
“Biodiversity is the ideal field for this pilot exploring the next steps in scientific publishing. Biodiversity and its neighbouring fields have produced a remarkable number of high-quality resources, such as controlled vocabularies and databases, which we can now build upon. Moreover, many Biodiversity researchers have shown to be very open to such new methods and are enthusiastic about working together to build a more powerful ecosystem for scientific knowledge sharing, and we share their enthusiasm,”
says Tobias Kuhn, CTO and co-founder of Knowledge Pixels.
Likewise, Contributions to Entomology is to continue as a journal published exclusively by Senckenberg, thanks to the white-label publishing solution designed by ARPHA to preserve the identity of historical journals. Still, the journal is to utilise the whole package of signature services provided by the platform, including ARPHA’s fast-track, end-to-end publishing system, which benefits readers, authors, reviewers and editors alike.
With ARPHA – the scholarly publishing platform initially developed by Pensoft to cater for the needs for academic journals – each submitted manuscript is carried through the review, editing, publication, dissemination and archiving stages without leaving the platform’s collaboration-centred online environment.
Thanks to ARPHA’s highly automated workflow, once published, the content is indexed and archived instantaneously and its underlying data exported to the relevant specialised databases. Simultaneously, a suite of various metrics is enabled to facilitate tracking the usage of articles and sub-article elements – like figures and tables – in real time .
The articles themselves are openly available in PDF, machine-readable JATS XML formats, and semantically enriched HTML for better reader experience. Thus, the journal’s content is made as easy to discover, access, reuse and cite as possible.
Founded back in 1951 under the title “Beiträge zur Entomologie”, Contribution to Entomology publishes original contributions on insect systematics, taxonomy, phylogeny, zoogeography, faunistics, ecology, applied entomology, entomological bibliography, and the history of entomology. The journal operates a Diamond Open Access policy, where neither access to content, nor publication incurs charges.
“We are delighted to welcome this particular journal on ARPHA Platform. While we’re publishing academic titles from across the sciences, Pensoft and ARPHA are still best known for their biodiversity- and ecology-themed journals and domain-specific innovations. This is why we are honoured to be able to share our experience and approach with Senckenberg and Contributions to Entomology,”
says Prof. Dr Lyubomir Penev, founder and CEO at ARPHA and Pensoft.
Senckenberg, Research Institutes and Natural History Museums, conduct research in bio- and geoscience. Major research fields are biodiversity and ecosystem research and the research on the entire Earth-Human-Earth system. Senckenberg headquarters are located in Frankfurt am Main, but research on marine, terrestrial and climate systems is also housed at additional nine locations throughout Germany: in Dresden, Gelnhausen, Gorlitz, Hamburg, Messel, Muncheberg, Tubingen, Weimar and Wilhelmshaven. Senckenberg employs about 1,000 people, including 300 scientists. Senckenberg scientists are active in projects worldwide, most of which are international collaborations with universities and other research institutions. Senckenberg hosts biological and geological research collections with more than 35 million series.
“Trends in Arthropods of Alpine Aquatic Ecosystems” is the first topical collection for the journal of the Swiss Entomological Society
The open-access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal Alpine Entomology, published by Pensoft on behalf of the Swiss Entomological Society, announced its very first topical collection of articles, which will be focusing on arthropods associated with aquatic ecosystems in mountainous regions.
The journal is currently inviting scientists, working on aquatic fauna from alpine habitats, to openly publish their research articles and short notices that provide evidence how arthropods’ biogeography, species communities, distribution, behaviour and morphology have changed in recent times.
“Aquatic invertebrates are key indicators of global or local changes. Furthermore, many aquatic ecosystems are closely linked to mountains because they originate in them. Many valuable unpublished datasets on aquatic arthropod fauna may therefore be available from mountainous regions,”
Biosystematics and Ecology is a continuation and replaces the established print-onlyBiosystematics and Ecology Series of theAustrian Academy of Sciences’s Commission for Interdisciplinary Ecological Studies. It publishes research focused on biodiversity in Central Europe and around the world, a domain of rapidly growing importance as а global biodiversity crisis is looming. A great advantage of Biosystematics and Ecology, in contrast to its predecessor, is the ability to simply update existing checklists and therefore to account for new scientific findings about taxonomic groups or regions.
The peer-reviewed outlet includes contributions on a wide range of ecology and biosystematics topics, aiming to provide biodiversity data, such as catalogi, checklists and interdisciplinary research to the scientific community, while offering the maximum in accessibility, usability, and transparency. The journal is currently indexed in Crossref and archived in CLOCKSS, Portico and Zenodo.
Having already acquired its own glossy and user-friendly website provided by ARPHA, the journal also takes advantage of the platform’s signature fast-track publishing system, which offers an end-to-end publishing solution from submission to publication, distribution and archiving. The platform offers a synergic online space for authoring, reviewing, editing, production and archiving, ensuring a seamlessly integrated workflow at every step of the publishing process.
Thanks to the financial support of the Academy, Biosystematics and Ecology will publish under Diamond Open Access, which means that it is free to read and publish. Opting for ARPHA’s white-label publishing solution, the journal is published under the Academy’s branding and imprint, while benefiting from all signature high-tech features by ARPHA.
Biosystematics and Ecology also makes use of ARPHA Preprints, another platform developed by Pensoft, where authors can post a preprint in a matter of seconds upon submitting a manuscript to the journal. Once the associated manuscript gets published, the preprint is conveniently linked to the formal paper, displaying its citation details.
ARPHA’s easy-to-use, open-access publishing platform offers high-end functionalities such as diverse paper formats (PDF, machine-readable JATS XML, and semantically enriched HTML), automated data export to aggregators, web-service integrations with major global indexing databases, advanced semantics publishing, and automated email notifications and reminders. Features like these make it easy for both humans and machines all over the world to discover, access, cite, and reuse published research.
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 Piscatoria, Caucasiana 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).
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.
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.
By Mariya Dimitrova, Raïssa Meyer, Pier Luigi Buttigieg, Lyubomir Penev
Data papers are scientific papers which describe a dataset rather than present and discuss research results. The concept was introduced to the biodiversity community by Chavan and Penev in 2011 as the result of a joint project of GBIF and Pensoft.
Since then, Pensoft has implemented the data paper in several of its journals (Fig. 1). The recognition gained through data papers is an important incentive for researchers and data managers to author better quality metadata and to make it Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable (FAIR). High quality and FAIRness of (meta)data are promoted through providing peer review, data audit, permanent scientific record and citation credit as for any other scholarly publication. One can read more on the different types of data papers and how they help to achieve these goals in the Strategies and guidelines for scholarly publishing of biodiversity data (https://doi.org/10.3897/rio.3.e12431).
The data paper concept was initially based on the standard metadata descriptions, using the Ecological Metadata Language (EML). Apart from distinguishing a specialised place for dataset descriptions by creating a data paper article type, Pensoft has developed multiple workflows for streamlined import of metadata from various repositories and their conversion into data paper a manuscripts in Pensoft’s ARPHA Writing Tool (AWT). You can read more about the EML workflow in this blogpost.
Similarly, we decided to create a specialised data paper article type for the omics community within Pensoft’s Biodiversity Data Journal to reflect the specific nature of omics data. We established a manuscript template to help standardise the description of such datasets and their most important features. This initiative was supported in part by the IGNITE project.
How can authors publish omics data papers?
There are two ways to do publish omics data papers – (1) to write a data paper manuscript following the respective template in the ARPHA Writing Tool (AWT) or (2) to convert metadata describing a project or study deposited in EMBL-EBI’s European Nucleotide Archive (ENA) into a manuscript within the AWT.
The first method is straightforward but the second one deserves more attention. We focused on metadata published in ENA, which is part of the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (INSDC) and synchronises its records with these of the other two members (DDBJ and NCBI). ENA is linked to the ArrayExpress and BioSamples databases, which describe sequencing experiments and samples, and follow the community-accepted metadata standards MINSEQE and MIxS. To auto populate a manuscript with a click of a button, authors can provide the accession number of the relevant ENA Study of Project and our workflow will automatically retrieve all metadata from ENA, as well as any available ArrayExpress or BioSamples records linked to it (Fig. 2). After that, authors can edit any of the article sections in the manuscript by filling in the relevant template fields or creating new sections, adding text, figures, citations and so on.
An important component of the OMICS data paper manuscript is a supplementary table containing MIxS-compliant metadata imported from BioSamples. When available, BioSamples metadata is automatically converted to a long table format and attached to the manuscript. The authors are not permitted to edit or delete it inside the ARPHA Writing Tool. Instead, if desired, they should correct the associated records in the sourced BioSamples database. We have implemented a feature allowing the automatic re-import of corrected BioSamples records inside the supplementary table. In this way, we ensure data integrity and provide a reliable and trusted source for accessing these metadata.
Here is a step-by-step guide for conversion of ENA metadata into a data paper manuscript:
The author has published a dataset to any of the INSDC databases. They copy its ENA Study or Project accession number.
The author goes to the Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ) webpage, clicks the “Start a manuscript” buttоn and selects OMICS Data Paper template in the ARPHA Writing Tool (AWT). Alternatively, the author can also start from the AWT website, click “Create a manuscript”, and select “OMICS Data Paper” as the article type, the Biodiversity Data Journal will be automatically marked by the system. The author clicks the “Import a manuscript” button at the bottom of the webpage.
The author pastes the ENA Study or Project accession number inside the relevant text box (“Import an European Nucleotide Archive (ENA) Study ID or Project ID”) and clicks “Import”.
The Project or Study metadata is converted into an OMICS data paper manuscript along with the metadata from ArrayExpress and BioSamples if available. The author can start making changes to the manuscript, invite co-authors and then submit it for technical evaluation, peer review and publication.
Our innovative workflow makes authoring omics data papers much easier and saves authors time and efforts when inserting metadata into the manuscript. It takes advantage of existing links between data repositories to unify biodiversity and omics knowledge into a single narrative. This workflow demonstrates the importance of standardisation and interoperability to integrate data and metadata from different scientific fields.
We have established a special collection for OMICS data papers in the Biodiversity Data Journal. Authors are invited to describe their omics datasets by using the novel streamlined workflow for creating a manuscript at a click of a button from metadata deposited in ENA or by following the template to create their manuscript via the non-automated route.
To stimulate omics data paper publishing, the first 10 papers will be published free of charge. Upon submission of an omics data paper manuscript, do not forget to assign it to the collection Next-generation publishing of omics data.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 Researchin 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).
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.
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
A full-featured, open access publishing platform for journals, books and data, which comes with an extensive list of services and features – both automated and human-provided – to adapt to the individual needs of any client journal. But how does that translate into practice?
The latest scholarly titles to join the ranks of ARPHA might just provide a perfect example of the capabilities of the platform to accommodate the specificity of scholarly journal across sciences, audiences, geographies and languages.
Amsterdam University Press strengthens partnership with ARPHA by launching two brand new journals
Not only was MAB the first journal on the platform that publishes articles exclusively in a language other than English, but also became an impressive precedent with its nearly 100-year content that got successfully dusted off and fitted into the user-friendly digital environment of today. All papers ever issued in MAB since its launch in 1923, were re-published, so that each could be assigned with a DOI; have its metadata registered on CrossRef; and its article content fully searchable within the PDF copy.
All three make use of ARPHA’s white-label publishing solution, which allows for AUP to carry its recognisable logo through a unified banner across the websites of the journals. Unlike MAB, however, JEL and HMC are to have their articles published exclusively in English to further promote their international scope and focus.
Heritage, Memory and Conflict Journal (HMC)
Heritage, Memory and Conflict Journal is a brand new journal launched to trace back the remnants of the past – be it physical or anecdotal – back to their roots in the days of old. How do memory sites and discourses operate as vehicles at local, national and transnational levels and what indeed is the ‘cargo’ they carry? This is the type of questions authors from across disciplines – academic, artistic and industrial – will be trying to answer when preparing their manuscripts for HMC.
Journal of European Landscapes (JEL)
Similarly, the second newly launched Journal of European Landscapesis to turn to history and cultural heritage, in order to understand the present use of the past when it comes to landscape. JEL’s founders point out that while Europe’s landscapes have so far enjoyed quite a lot of scientific attention, there isn’t a journal to address its indisputable and critical connection to heritage, even though the latter is what connects historical research with modern planning and management.
With its transfer to ARPHA, VCS fulfils the mission of the union to move to Open Access. Interestingly, the journal supports two permanent sections: Ecoinformatics and Phytosociological Nomenclature. There, authors can submit certain unique article types: Review and Synthesis and Short/Long Database Reports.
Devoted to plant community ecology, VCS publishes original research that works toward the development of novel vegetation classifications, as well as applied studies that use such typologies. Particularly encouraged are methodological studies that design and compare tools for vegetation classification and mapping.
The editorial management opted to have the journal co-published with Pensoft: the academic publisher and technology provider standing behind ARPHA. Thus, by default, the journal receives some extra perks as a result of Pensoft’s partnerships with leading innovators in the scholarly communication domain. An excellent example would be the indexing and addition of each Plant Sociology article by the research discovery platform ScienceOpenin the “Pensoft Biodiversity” collection, following a recent strategic collaboration between the two Open Science champions.
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.
Adding up to the well-pronounced biodiversity theme in ARPHA’s and Pensoft’s journal portfolios, as well as the “Pensoft Biodiversity” collection on ScienceOpen, is the first Georgian journal to join the lines of the publishing platform. Caucasiana is to be co-published by the top biodiversity research centre in the region: Ilia State University in Tbilisi and Pensoft.
The scholarly outlet that we’ll soon see on ARPHA Platform is in fact a successor of an earlier journal launched by the Institute of Zoology of the Georgian Academy of Science that has been revamped top-to-bottom. Transformed into a technologically advanced publishing venue, Caucasiana’s task is to handle the growing research interest in the incredible, yet surprisingly overlooked animal, plant and fungal life of Caucasus and adjacent regions.
Research published in Caucasiana will be well-positioned to bring this hotspot of biodiversity and endemism into focus for the global conservation movement.
For the first time, ESE will open up its content to the public from day one of its publication, thanks to its move to ARPHA. While digital and print subscriptions used to be included as part of the association’s membership packages, other readers would have had to wait six months after print publication to receive free access.
Launched in 2003, ESE’s aim has been to keep editors posted about everything they need to know concerning scholarly communication. To do so, the journal publishes research articles, meeting reports, essays and viewpoints, as well as book and website reviews. Especially for members of the association, ESE takes care to highlight upcoming events and provide resources and publications, considered to be of their interest.
For the first time, the Bulgarian Journal of Cardiology will make use of the soon-to-be-released English-Bulgarian bilingual publishing solution from ARPHA. Similarly to the English-Russian approach to journal publishing, which was presented in Moscow in early December, ARPHA will allow for users of the Bulgarian Journal of Cardiology to not only publish papers in both English and Bulgarian, but also enjoy a top-to-bottom Bulgarian user interface.
New open-access book presents a comprehensive report on the remarkable ecosystems of the Koytendag nature reserve
Situated in the extreme south-east of Turkmenistan: on the border with Uzbekistan and close to the border with Afghanistan, Koytendag presents one of the most distinct landscapes in Central Asia. Reaching elevations of up to 3,137 m, this is also the highest mountain in Turkmenistan.
Koytendag State Nature Reserve and its three Wildlife Sanctuaries: Hojapil, Garlyk and Hojaburjybelent, were established between 1986 and 1990 to protect and preserve the mountain ecosystem of the Koytendag region and maintain the ecological balance between the environment and increasing economic activities.
Since 2013, a series of scientific expeditions and assessments were coordinated and funded by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to pave the way for the protection and preservation of the unique landscape and rare wildlife the site is recognised for.
The book is split into eight sections focused on different areas within the study of biodiversity: Flora, Surface dwelling invertebrates, Cave fauna, Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals. An additional chapter is dedicated to the hydrogeology of the site because of its key role in supporting both the cave fauna and the local communities.
In the summary of the report, the authors make a list of the most significant findings made during the research. These include the discovery of a cave hosting the largest underground lake in the whole North Eurasia (4,400 m2) and a total of 48 species of higher plants that can only be found in Koytendag. In terms of Koytendag’s surface-dwelling fauna, the report lists a number of species new to science: a scorpion (most likely yet unnamed species currently recognised as a species complex) and a spider. Meanwhile, a total of seven previously unknown species were found underground, including the very first exclusively subterranean animal found in the country: the insect-like ‘marvellous’ dipluran named Turkmenocampa mirabilis, and a strongly adapted to the underground waters of a desert sinkhole Gammarus troglomorphus. Additionally, the annual monitoring, conducted since 1995 by the reserve staff, report an encouraging increase in the populations of the rare markhors and mouflons. An intact predator-prey community was also identified as a result of observations of numerous Eurasian lynxes and grey wolves, as well as prey species.
Stephanie Ward, RSPB Central Asia Partner Development Officer, says:
“RSPB has been working in Turkmenistan under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government since 2004. In that time we have had the privilege of working with a team of talented and dedicated national experts across the diverse and inspiring nature of this fascinating country. Our work in Koytendag has captured the attention and interest of many international scientists who hope that their contemporary biodiversity research will help to deepen the understanding and therefore ensure protection of the unique wonders of this mountain ecosystem. As a potential UNESCO World Heritage Site, we will continue to collaborate with the Turkmen people on the research and promotion of Koytendag State Nature Reserve.
Book editor and member of the research team Prof. Pavel Stoev adds:
“Koytendag Mountain is among the least explored and, simultaneously, one of the most biologically diverse regions in Central Asia. The rapid assessments of its flora and fauna revealed a high number of highly specialised species, all of which have undergone a long evolution to adapt to the harsh environments of the mountain. The establishment of Koytendag State Nature Reserve and the associated wildlife sanctuaries is a step in the right direction for the protection of this unique biota.”
Welch G, Stoev P (2019) A report of RSPB-supported scientific research at Koytendag State Nature Reserve, East Turkmenistan. Advanced Books. https://doi.org/10.3897/ab.e37858
This work was carried out under the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment Protection of Turkmenistan and the RSPB, within the Project on “Improvement of the status of birds and other biodiversity in Turkmenistan”.
About Koytendag State Nature Reserve:
Koytendag State Nature Reserve was established in 1986 to protect and preserve the mountain ecosystem of the Koytendag region and maintain the ecological balance between the environment and the increasing anthropogenic activities. Of particular importance was the protection of rare species, such as the markhor; important habitats, including pistachio and juniper forests; and the impressive dinosaur trackways at Hojapil.
Advanced Books publishing by Pensoft:
Launched by Pensoft and powered by the scholarly publishing platform ARPHA, the Advanced Books approach aims to issue new books or re-issue books previously only available in print or PDF. In the Advanced Books format, the publications are semantically enhanced and available in HTML and XML as well, in order to accelerate open access, data publication, mining, sharing and reuse. The Advanced books builds on the novel approaches developed by the Pensoft’s journals.