Prof. Lyubomir Penev, Managing Director and Founder of Pensoft Publishers.
Speech at the conference Lithuanian Journals Meeting the Needs of Digital Scholarly Communication on October 25th in Vilnius, Lithuania
The present-day journal publishing landscape is characterized by all features of a disruptive transition from both subscription- and PDF-based business and technology models towards an open science data- and narrative-integrated environment. While the publishing technology was evolving slowly during a couple of centuries, nowadays we witness rapid technological changes to happen within just a few years, in addition to abrupt transformations in funding and business models. There are three key challenges that need to be addressed by the present-day journal publishers: (1) increase machine-readability and semantic enrichment of the published content to allow text and data mining, aggregation and re-use; (2) adopt open science publishing principles to expand from publication of predominantly research articles to publication of all research objects along the research cycle, and (3) make all this easy to the authors, reviewers and editors through novel and user-friendly technological solutions.
ARPHA stands for Authoring, Reviewing, Publishing, Hosting and Archiving, all in one place, for the first time. ARPHA is the first publishing platform ever to support the full life cycle of a manuscript, from authoring through submission, peer review, publication and dissemination, within a single online collaborative environment. The most distinct feature of ARPHA, among others, is that it consists of two interconnected, but independently functioning, journal publishing platforms, so as to provide to journals and publishers either of the two, or a combination of both services, and to enable a smooth transition from the conventional, document-based workflows to fully XML-based publishing:
1. ARPHA-XML: Entirely XML- and Web-based, collaborative authoring, peer review and publication workflow.
2. ARPHA-DOC: Document-based submission (PDF, or MS Word files), peer review and publication workflow.
The two workflows use a one-stop login interface and a common peer review and editorial manuscript tracking system. A journal can use either of the two systems, or a combination of both. The XML-based workflow is in use at 4 journals, among them the Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ) and the Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) journal. RIO Journal is SPARC Innovator Award Winner for 2016, thanks to its unique publishing scope and features, based entirely on the ARPHA infrastructure. The second, file-based submission workflow, is used by several journals published by Pensoft on behalf of societies or institutions.
A full list of services provided by ARPHA is available at the website, however among its most distinct features are:
1. Within the ARPHA Writing Tool (AWT) authors may work collaboratively on a manuscript with their co-authors, but can also invite external contributors, such as mentors, pre-submission reviewers, linguistic and copy editors, or just colleagues, who may modify the manuscript or comment on it before submission.
2. The AWT provides a large set of predefined, but flexible article templates covering many types of research outcomes.
3. A set of web-based services and tools in the AWT allows for, e.g., search and import of literature or data references, cross-referencing of in-text citations, import of tables, upload of images and multimedia, assembling images for display as composite figures.
4. An AWT automated technical validation step (that can be triggered by authors any time) that checks the manuscript for consistency and for compliance with the journal’s standards.
5. The literature and data discovery tool ReFindit.org that searches and imports bibliographic references from multiple sources, including Crossref, DataCite, PubMed and Mendeley, straight into the manuscript.
6. Four different channels for the peer review process: single-blind, double-blind, community-sourced, and public.
7. The public peer review workflow by itself may have three stages: (1) author-organized, pre-submission, during the manuscript authoring process in the ARPHA Writing Tool (AWT) (2) community-sourced, post-publication, and (3) journal-organised, post-publication (optional), to ensure quality and rapid publication and dissemination.
8. Publications are openly available in three versions – semantically enriched HTML for improved reader’s experience, print-quality PDF and machine-readable JATS XML. Fine-grained article-level metrics allow for tracing views/downloads to specific article file formats and sub-elements such as figures, separate images within composite figures, tables or supplementary materials.
9. A very specific and highly innovative feature of the ARPHA-XML is the “Update your article” function which allows a published article to be turned back into editing mode at the click of a button, so it can be revised and published again under the different DOI, linked to the previous versions through CrossMark.
10. An advanced set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that allow highly automated integration through web services with several leading journal industry platforms, including CrossRef, DOAJ, Zenodo, CLOCKSS, OpenAIRE.
11. The business strategy of ARPHA is based on an “á la carte” publishing model that allows authors to select from various decoupled publishing services to best fit their work and needs.
Professor Lyubomir Penev is the Managing Director and Founder of Pensoft Publishers. Having graduated in Biology at the University of Sofia, he also holds a Ph.D. in Ecology at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow. Currently, he is Professor of Ecology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia. His main fields of interest are methods and software development for biodiversity research and environmental assessment, biogeography, landscape and urban ecology and entomology. Penev is the author of BIODIV, one of the first specialized software for biodiversity research (Exeter Software, New York, 1991) and one of the first computerized bibliographies, CARLIT & CARRUS (1993). Penev has published more than 100 scientific papers and co-authored or co-edited 8 books. He has participated in several international research projects as expert in publication and dissemination of scientific information.
In 1992, Penev established and successfully developed Pensoft to become one of the world’s leading biodiversity publishers with more than 1000 book and e-book titles published to date. In 2008, he founded Pensoft’s first open access journal ZooKeys. With ZooKeys and its following journals, Pensoft has chosen the path of cutting-edge innovation to quickly become one of the pioneers and best-known names in the fields of semantic publishing. In 2013, Pensoft launched the first ever, end-to-end, online, XML-based, publishing solution, that supports the full life cycle of manuscripts, from authoring to peer review, publication and dissemination. The workflow was first demonstrated in 2013 by the Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ) and the Pensoft Writing Tool (PWT), now upgraded to the ARPHA Journal Publishing Platform.