Pensoft: ARPHA Platform: The right home for the Metabarcoding and Metagenomics journal since day one

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The journal Metabarcoding and Metagenomics (MBMG) was established in 2017 within the European collaborative project DNAqua-Net to address the need of an innovative publishing venue for the rapidly developing field of DNA-based environmental monitoring. While the founding editors were pretty confident in the concept and rationale of their soon-to-launch scholarly journal, molecular ecologist Prof Dr Florian Leese (University of Duisburg-Essen) and his collaborators had yet to figure out most of the technicalities required to establish, run and sustain this innovative publishing outlet. 

What MBMG needed was a forward-looking publishing platform that would offer a top-down solution and satisfy the needs and expectations of a new generation of scientists devoted to the exciting emerging field of metabarcoding and metagenomics. This meant providing a modern and agile user-friendly source of knowledge, where time and efforts to publish and openly disseminate research are reduced to a minimum for authors, reviewers and editors alike.

At the time they contacted ARPHA’s team, all founding editors had already been aware of the platform, developed by scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft. They had already published articles or had been reviewers at other biological journals hosted on the platform. Happy with their experience, they created their own publishing solution specially tailored for their needs and wants by mixing-and-matching the variety of available modules and customising them to their liking.

For example, with ARPHA they were able to set up several unique article types specifically for MBMG, in order to “help researchers prepare for, and professionally deal with, the massive ‘deluge’ of data” in the field of molecular environmental research. One such format is the ‘Emerging Techniques’, which allows for fast-track review and rapid publication of novel applications, methods and techniques for bioassessments and biomonitoring.

“What we particularly like about ARPHA Platform and our collaboration with Pensoft is that at any point we’ve been able to test and customise our journal according to the feedback of our journal users. From day one, we were continuously in touch with the team discussing new services and features that we could implement for MBMG to add further value and align with the journal’s development strategy, which we have been actively devising jointly with the Pensoft team,” says Editor-in-Chief Prof Dr Florian Leese.

“We’re very happy that our collaborative work with the MBMG editors, the publisher and the community behind MBMG now really pays off, as four years after the launch our journal is alreadyenjoying wide recognition among many researchers and practitioners, which is evident in the rapidly increasing citation scores and its ranking on Scopus, for example. Also, MBMG is currently placed in Q1 in the categories of Animal Science and Zoology, Nature and Landscape Conservation, Genetics and Molecular Biology, and given the increasing number of excellent submissions, we hope that this trend will sustain.”

Having opted for ARPHA’s Premium plan, MBMG makes the most of the ARPHA services and features, including full-text article publication in PDF, semantically enriched HTML and machine-readable XML, where the copy editing, typesetting, proofreading, semantic tagging and XML conversion are entirely provided by ARPHA’s in-house team. The latter also takes care of various key services a journal needs to run smoothly, such as reply-within-a-day technical support, indexing of the journal at key databases and active promotion of published research and journal news. 

The highly automated publishing workflow of ARPHA ensures that once an article is published, it is indexed and archived instantaneously, its underlying data exported to the relevant specialised databases, and a suite of various metrics is enabled. Thus, MBMG’s content is made as easy to discover, access, reuse and cite as possible, while the authors can track views and downloads - including those of sub-article elements like figures and tables - as well as online mentions and citations in the literature in real time. 

While most of the above-mentioned features were implemented at MBMG upon its launch, ARPHA has been continuously adding new services and integrations. These include third-party integrations (e.g. Altmetric, Dimensions, Publons, CReDIT, Researcher), as well as various ARPHA-developed and unique features, often inspired by continuing discussions and interactions between the ARPHA team and journal users.

Amongst the latest in-house developed ARPHA features is the launch of ARPHA Preprints, which can be seamlessly integrated with ARPHA-hosted journals to allow authors to post their manuscript as a preprint during its submission to the journal with no need to reformat or re-upload their files. Another feature designed to facilitate and expedite day-to-day editorial work, is the updated module for special issues and permanent topical collections, whose management runs all the way from proposal and setup to publication within the ARPHA online environment. 

The latter was utilised by MBMG earlier this year, when in time for the first international DNAqua-Net conference, the Working Groups leaders opened five topical article collections, in order to collate various research results produced during the project, thus ensuring convenient and permanent accessibility, discoverability and preservation of COST Action’s outcomes.

We invite you to visit Metabarcoding and Metagenomics’ (MBMG) website at and follow it on Twitter and Facebook.  

You can also learn more about ARPHA Platform at and it’s blog: Follow ARPHA on Twitter and LinkedIn.