What is ARPHA?
ARPHA is a full-featured open access publishing platform for journals, books and data, with managed hosting services. Several other services (website design and setup, production, semantic markup, distribution, archiving, indexing, promotion, journal management and more) are available on choice.
Offered as Software as a Service (SaaS), ARPHA allows users to build their own publishing solution to manage and host journals, books, conference abstracts, proceedings and institutional documents.
What is it for?
ARPHA is a technologically advanced platform, suitable for a wide range of research outputs, including open access journals, books, conference abstracts, proceeding, institutional documents and reports. Any combination of those is also available for clients seeking a more holistic solution.
Who is it for?
Whether you are a learned society, university press or an independent publisher looking to claim a prominent spot in today’s increasingly competitive high-tech publishing landscape, ARPHA can help you to build the perfect home for your scholarly outputs!
Offered both as a single-/multiple-journal or book platform, ARPHA will provide a new, high-tech venue for your society's outputs.
Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift by the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin and the German Entomological Society
Subterranean Biology by the the International Society for Subterranean Biology
Alpine Entomology by the Swiss Entomological Society
Journal of Hymenoptera Research by the International Society of Hymenopterists
Social Psychological Bulletin by the Polish Society for Social Psychology
ARPHA was first developed by the STM publisher Pensoft as an in-house system to streamline the everyday editorial work and enhance the quality and level of semantics in the published content. Since then, the platform has grown to accommodate years of accumulated feedback from authors, reviewers, editors and journal managers alike.
10 most distinctive features of ARPHA
Journals or publishers moving to ARPHA will avoid the burden of dealing with various software or service vendors (e.g. one for submission and peer review, another for production and a third for publishing and hosting).
The benefits from our integrated workflow is that all team members (editors, reviewers, authors, layout managers and linguistic editors) can work within a single environment, where they can make use of:
- one-stop entry and unified interface;
- reduced manuscript turnaround times;
- in-built tools for monitoring and control at all stages of the publishing process;
- data security and GDPR compliance;
- reduced costs and optimised cost/quality ratio.
ARPHA offers a full range of services which gives our users the freedom to either outsource some processes to ARPHA's team or continue using their own staff or vendors.
Additionally, we offer advanced journal performance reporting service designed to assist Editors-in-Chief and managing editors in keeping an eye on the journal's development and management.
The software modules or human-provided services can be selected on choice, so that they align with the journal's existing workflows, future needs and budgetary requirements.
Use case I: Where journals already maintain their own editorial and/or production staff, they can use ARPHA's software platform in part and keep some of the work (e.g. editorial management and production) in-house. For example, the Plant Sociology journal of the Italian Society for Vegetation Science (SISV) decided to go for ARPHA's ADVANCED pricing model. They continue to use their own copy editing and typesetting services, leaving to ARPHA the building and maintenance of the entire editorial management and publishing platform, along with the highly specialised work on XML tagging and semantically-enhanced publishing. As a result, the journal achieved a quick technological modernisation, while significantly optimising its operational costs.
Use case II: The European Science Editing (ESE) journal, published by the European Association for Science Editing (EASE), enquired for possible use of ARPHA's software and services. During the negotiation phase, it appeared that the Society found its own way to typeset articles to PDF, while the XML services had to be provided by ARPHA. ARPHA and EASE decided to publish the journal as PDF only and move to HTML/XML later on, possibly after the second or third year. The result is free publication in the ESE journal. The transition to HTML/XML can happen at any point selected by the Society.
A journal can operate on ARPHA using a wide variety of business models, for example:
- Diamond open access - all costs are covered by an institution, society or third parties and the authors publish for free. The benefit of using ARPHA is that the costs of maintaining diamond open access for the journal owner will be FAIR, LOW and TRANSPARENT.
- Mixed model - part of the costs can be covered by an institution, society or third parties and part from author's APCs. The benefit of using ARPHA is that, with this model, the APCs for the authors can be kept as low as to be considered symbolic, even in comparison to average market standards.
- APC-based income model - a society or institution may set APCs that cover the production costs or add a surplus on top of ARPHA's prices. The benefit would be financial sustainability through generation and sharing of income.
- Differentiated groups model - some authors can publish for free (e.g. staff or society members), others can benefit from discounts or waivers (e.g. from low-income countries) and a third group of authors can pay full APCs. The benefit of using ARPHA is that its accounting and online payment modules can be tuned to cater for administration of fees for different user groups.
- Custom-fit models that can be elaborated together by the journal and ARPHA.
Use case: The International Association for Vegetation Science's (IASV) new journal Vegetation Classification and Survey, aimed at not-for-profit financial sustainability of the journal achieved over a period of three years. ARPHA supported a complex and highly-automated APCs model, ranging from free publication during the first year, low APCs during the second and below market average APCs during the third year and beyond, with different levels of discounts and waivers for society members, journal editors and authors from different groups of low-income countries, based on the World Bank classification.
As a result, the journal is expected to become cost-neutral for the Society or even to bring in a small income for it, while offering APCs that are two to three times lower than the market average.
ARPHA can be used for publication of journals, books, conference abstracts or full-text papers, preprints and institutional documents.
For all these different products, ARPHA can create multifunctional platforms for institutions and societies operating under their logo and branding.
Use case: The Bulgarian Society of Cardiology transferred its 25-years old journal Bulgarian Cardiology on ARPHA in 2019. The journal is multilingual and publishes articles in English, Bulgarian and occasionally in other European languages. The new ARPHA-designed website of Bulgarian Cardiology provides a bilingual interface and the possibility to publish both English and Bulgarian language metadata and articles in either of the two languages. Shortly after the journal's launch, the Society commissioned a new society website following the journal's corporate design, yet providing a wide variety of other features to present the Society's activities, publication of various documents, news items and so on. Both websites are available through a platform built on the Society's domain address bgcardio.org.
ARPHA is fully integrated with more than 60 industry leading indexing and archiving services. Our partners include CrossRef, DOAJ, Clarivate Analytics, Scopus, Zenodo, OpenAIRE and PubMed Central, to name just a few.
The full automation of processes within ARPHA means that all content is directly exported upon publication without any extra human effort.
Use case: The journal Neotropical Biology and Conservation (NBC) was established and published by the University of Rio dos Sinos (UNISINOS), Brazil, by a team of motivated scientists. In 2019, NBC was transferred to ARPHA. Particularly useful in the whole process proved to be the automated indexing and archiving functionality in-built with each pricing plan of ARPHA. Previously submitted manually by the Editor-in-Chief following each indexer’s specific requirements, this task used to be burdensome for the editorial office. After the move, all metadata was not only submitted automatically to all services previously used by the journal, but NCB could take advantage of disseminating their content to a package of more than 50 indexers and archivers that comes with the platform.
ARPHA can be used as a white-label solution, meaning the platform will operate under a journal/publisher's own logo and imprint.
In other cases, especially for starting journals, a (co-)publishing solution together with ARPHA's creator Pensoft Publishers may bring additional advantages in terms of recognition, promotion, development and goodwill.
Use case I: Amsterdam University Press (AUP) opted for the white-label solution of ARPHA for three of its journals ( Maandblad voor Accountancy en Bedrijfseconomie, Journal of European Landscapes, Heritage, Memory and Conflict Journal ). They benefit from an individual design that fully honours their identity as part of the AUP's journal portfolio, while at the same time, featuring the modern look and feel that comes with ARPHA.
Use case II: Alternatively, the Museum für Naturkunde (Natural History Museum), Berlin, took a decision to flip to open access and modernise their historical journals Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift and Zoosystematics and Evolution by migrating to ARPHA under the Pensoft Publishers brand.
ARPHA publicly offers a transparent cost structure for its services. Each pricing plan contains a detailed account of the software modules and human-provided services. A journal can select from four pricing models that, depending on the publication volume, may amount to the following exemplary yearly costs:
|EXAMPLES OF APPROXIMATE YEARLY COSTS (€)|
20 articles per year
|€ 1,600||€ 3,500||€ 7,500||€ 11,500|
40 articles per year
|€ 2,200||€ 5,500||€ 13,500||€ 21,500|
Use case I: Check List is a large international journal operating mostly in the Global South. ARPHA elaborated a custom business model based on PDF-only publishing, but providing distribution of metadata in XML and HTML, thus allowing the Article Processing Charges (APCs) for authors to be reduced to €120 - €150.
Use case II: The journal Evolutionary Systematics of the University of Hamburg is published on ARPHA under a fixed yearly budget which does not need to be calculated on the basis of the number of articles published per year. ARPHA customised a business model, based on a fixed number of pages, which allowed for flexibility in publication of articles of different size within the yearly limit, while keeping the costs in accordance with the planned budget.
Use case III: The journal Alpine Entomology inherited the historical journal Mitteilungen der Schweizerischen Entomologischen Gesellschaft, which has been published by the Swiss Entomological Society since the middle of the 19th Century in black-and-white printed format only. In an open discussion with the journal's editorial board, ARPHA was able to offer a model that allowed the building of a new website, publishing of the journal in semantic XML, HTML and PDF, printing 300 full-colour copies for distribution to society members, that still managed to save a small part of the journal pre-ARPHA budget.
The majority of journals on ARPHA are published exclusively in English. Still, some journals prefer to operate in other languages, depending on their authors and readers. ARPHA supports bilingual solutions at interface, metadata and content levels.
Use case I: The journal Maandblad voor Accountancy en Bedrijfseconomie of the Amsterdam University Press wanted to keep the metadata and website interface exclusively in English, so that it is generally understandable to the international audience, but at the same time, the main content and journal's news announcements to be published exclusively in Dutch. The result was more than satisfactory for the editors, authors and readers, especially after ARPHA uploaded the journal's historical content (since 1924) and made it searchable and discoverable at article level on MAB's new website.
Use case II: Population and Economics, published by the Moscow State University, was established as an international journal publishing exclusively in English, while also offering its content in Russian to the vast community of Russian economists and population geographers. ARPHA created a special solution for formatting and publication of a Russian version of all articles, identical to the primary English text and formatted according to the journal's design standards. The Russian version is published as PDF under the same DOI as the English version and under English Language metadata only; a special statement is included in the Russian version to be cited with its original English metadata to avoid splitting the citation counts between the two language communities.
ARPHA provides the highest technological publishing and dissemination standards, including several innovations, for example:
- The advanced semantics publishing module, which allows tagging and enhancement of content and the development of multiple interactive tools linked to the article’s content. This module is now fully operational for the domain of Biology, but can be developed for any field on demand of the client.
- The fully-automated indexing and archiving module, which distributes content instantaneously on the day of its publication via web services, saving valuable time and effort in the editorial office.
Use case I: One of the most remarkable and well-known innovations of ARPHA was the 2013 launch of the first ever entirely XML-based and fully-integrated authoring, peer review and publishing workflow, exemplified by Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ). The ARPHA-XML workflow offered a number of globally-unique features, for example, import of data from data aggregators directly into the manuscripts via web services or the automated conversion and submission of metadata from data repositories into data paper manuscripts.
Use case II: In 2015, the ARPHA-XML workflow was used to establish the Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO Journal) as the first open science journal aiming at publication of all outputs from the research cycle: from research ideas and grant proposals to methods, data, software, project reports, research articles and many more. Due to its unique features, RIO won the SPARC Innovator AWARD for 2016.
Journals joining ARPHA will enjoy a personal, reply-within-a-business-day, approach from a designated team member and take advantage of the operational training and technical support included in all pricing plans.
The platform also offers consultancy and support in journal development, indexing and archiving and marketing and promotion. All these services are elaborated in fully transparent and flexible plans, so that editorial boards can choose services they really need, in order to improve the journal’s performance.
Use case I: ARPHA is built on the principle of transparency and openness, offering options for open peer review and annotations. However, when the newly-established journal Rethinking Ecology expressed a strong case for the need of a double-blind peer review functionality for the specifics of their work, the feature was developed and introduced on the platform and it is now available as an option for all users on ARPHA.
Use case II: When the journals Russian Journal of Economics and Population and Economics moved to ARPHA, the editorial boards wanted to make the most of the new platform and its features, with the shortest possible uptake time for their in-house staff. As a result, a two-day training was organised for the editorial teams in their Moscow offices, where they received an induction to the platform’s technical features, insights on how to make the most of its workflows and complementary training in journals’ promotion and PR.
How does it work?
ARPHA stands for: Authoring, Reviewing, Publishing, Hosting and Archiving. The platform is compiled of several modules, designed to work together as a seamless, end-to-end, publishing experience accomplished by web-service integration with the industry’s leading providers.
Equipped with a number of unique features, the ARPHA Writing Tool (AWT) is a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) authoring solution, designed to facilitate authors in the manuscript writing, submission and review process, as well as aid collaboration, data, multimedia and machine-readability of content.