Bulgarian Academy of Sciences signs with Pensoft to move Silva Balcanica journal to ARPHA

The first 2020 issue of the journal by the Academy’s Forest Research Institute is already online on a brand new and user-friendly website

The scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft welcomes the open-access, peer-reviewed international journal in forest science concerning the Balkan Peninsula, Central and Southern Europe Silva Balcanica to its self-developed publishing platform ARPHA. Having become the latest addition to the lengthy portfolio of scholarly outlets dedicated to the fields of ecology and biology for Pensoft and ARPHA, Silva Balcanica is now offering a wide range of benefits and services to its readers, authors, reviewers and editors alike.

Having already acquired its own glossy and user-friendly website provided by ARPHA, Silva Balcanica also takes advantage of the platform’s signature fast-track, end-to-end publishing system. In addition, the published content enjoys automated export of data to aggregators, as well as web-service integrations with major global indexing and archiving databases.

Silva Balcanica’s new website on ARPHA Platform. Visit at https://silvabalcanica.pensoft.net .

Ever since its inception in 2001, the journal by the Forest Research Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (FRI-BAS), has been providing open access to the latest research in all aspects of forest ecosystems and landscapes of the Balkan Peninsula, and also Central and Southern Europe.

Silva Balcanica invites scientific analysis of practical results, as well as investigations, in the forest sciences, including forest ecology; forest soil science; forest genetics, tree breeding and plantation forestry; biometry and sylviculture; forest economy and management; forest entomology and pathology; ecology and management of game fauna, urban forestry and green infrastructure. Constructive critique addressing scientific publications or events in the field of forestry and forest science are also accepted.

In the first 2020 issue of Silva Balcanica, we can find a total of eight research papers, dealing with a range of various topics, including studies on local plant diversity, genetics, application of experimental designs for forestry research, ecosystem services, population dynamics, invasive pathogens and previously unknown populations of forest-dwelling insects. It brings together single-authored research contributions as well as international collaborative projects, with input from authors from Bulgaria, Greece, Northern Macedonia and Italy.

CEO and founder of both Pensoft and ARPHA Platform Prof. Lyubomir Penev comments:

“Silva Balcanica is an important scholarly outlet and also a remarkable example of international cooperation, inspired and maintained by curiosity, care and responsibility towards the unique, but fragile ecosystems this part of Europe hosts. This is why we take pride in having this particular journal joining our portfolio.”

Silva Balcanica’s Editorial Board says:

“The Scientific Council of the Forest Research Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences decided to begin publishing Silva Balcanica as an international series in 2001 and since 2014, Silva Balcanica has been published as an international journal.

We are honored to have as members of our Editorial Advisory Board eminent European professors and researchers in forestry and related sciences that join our efforts in pursuit of high quality scientific publishing.

We are confident that Silva Balcanica will unite the research of scientists and specialists in forestry from Southeastern, Central and Eastern Europe and beyond, and will help them in the processes of their European integration.”

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Visit the new website of Silva Balcanica at https://silvabalcanica.pensoft.net.

Plant Sociology renewed: Does an open access society journal about vegetation still make sense in 2020?

In a new editorial, Plant Sociology’s Editor-in-Chief Daniela Gigante and Co-editors Gianni Bacchetta, Simonetta Bagella and Daniele Viciani reflect on the current position and outlook of the official journal of the Italian Society of Vegetation Science (Società Italiana di Scienza della Vegetazione or SISV), now that it has completed its first issue since transitioning to the scientific publisher and technology provider Pensoft and ARPHA Platform earlier this year.

Homepage of the new website of Plant Sociology
(visit: https://plantsociology.arphahub.com/)

The Editorial board briefly analyses the issues around the inaccessibility to scholarly research and suitable scholarly outlets still persisting in our days that impede both readers and authors across branches of science. Naturally, they go on to focus on the situation in vegetation science, where, unfortunately, there are rather few outlets open to original research related to any aspect within vegetation science.

By telling their own experience, but also citing the stories of other similarly positioned society journals, including other journals that have moved to Pensoft’s self-developed ARPHA Platform over the past several years (e.g. Journal of Hymenoptera Research, European Science Editing, Italian Botanist, Vegetation Classification and Survey, Nota Lepidopterologica), the editors present an example how to address the challenges of securing the long-term sustainability and quality for a journal used to being run by a small editorial staff in what they refer to as a “home made” method.

Other society journals that have moved to Pensoft’s self-developed ARPHA Platform over the past several years

In this process, the SISV supported its official scholarly outlet to be published as a “gold open access” journal and ensured that the APCs are kept to a reasonable low in line with its non-profit international business model. Further discounts are available for the members of the Society.

Then, the journal management also reorganised its Editorial Board and welcomed a dedicated Social media team responsible for the increased outreach of published research in the public domain through the channels of Twitter and Facebook

Besides making the publications publicly available as soon as they see the light of day, the journal strongly supports other good open science practices, such as open data dissemination. In Plant Sociology, authors are urged to store their vegetation data in the Global Index of Vegetation-Plot Databases (GIVD). Additionally, the journal is integrated with the Dryad Digital Repository to make it easier for authors to publish, share and, hence, have their data re-used and cited.

The team behind Plant Sociology is perfectly aware of the fact that it is only through easy to find and access knowledge about life on Earth that the right information can reach the right decision-makers, before making the right steps towards mitigating and preventing future environmental catastrophes.

Access the article from: https://doi.org/10.3897/pls2020571/05

“A journal focusing on all aspects of natural, semi-natural and anthropic plant systems, from basic investigation to their modelisation, assessment, mapping, management, conservation and monitoring, is certainly a precious tool to detect environmental unbalances, understand processes and outline predictive scenarios that support decision makers. In this sense, we believe that more and more OA journals focused on biodiversity should find space in the academic editorial world, because only through deep knowledge of processes and functions of a complex planet, humankind can find a way to survive healthy,”

elaborate the editors.

To take the burden of technical journal management off the shoulders of Plant Sociology’s own editorial team, the journal has entrusted Pensoft to provide a user-friendly and advanced submission system, in addition to the production, online publishing and archiving of the accepted manuscripts. Thus, the editorial team is able to focus entirely on the scientific quality of the journal’s content.

“The renewal of Plant Sociology is a challenge that we have undertaken with conviction, aware of the difficulties and pitfalls that characterize the life of a scientific journal today. Entrusting the technical management of the journal to a professional company aims to improve its dissemination and attractiveness, but also to focus our efforts only on scientific content,”

explain the editors.

***

About Plant Sociology:

Plant Sociology publishes articles dealing with all aspects of vegetation, from plant community to landscape level, including dynamic processes and community ecology. It favours papers focusing on plant sociology and vegetation survey for developing ecological models, vegetation interpretation, classification and mapping, environmental quality assessment, plant biodiversity management and conservation, EU Annex I habitats interpretation and monitoring, on the ground of rigorous and quantitative measures of physical and biological components. The journal is open to territorial studies at different geographic scale and accepts contributes dealing with applied research, provided they offer new methodological perspectives and a robust, updated vegetation analysis.

Find all pre-2020 issues and articles of Plant Sociology openly available on the former website.

Follow Plant Sociology on Twitter and Facebook.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

say the editors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr Kozlov shares his concerns.

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


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

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

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

concludes Dr Mikhail V. Kozlov.

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