Instructions for Editors
Managing Submissions in ARPHA

A note on terminology:
If you are a symposium organizer for Biodiversity_Next, you are considered to be a technical editor of abstracts submitted to your symposium in ARPHA (online editor used for submissions to the Pensoft journal, Biodiversity Information Science and Standards or BISS). Co-organizers may be added as editors for their symposia.  Members of the Programme Committee will also be technical editors.

Note on communications:
Emails originating from “” are often interpreted by overzealous email systems as potential spam. Please whitelist or otherwise train your email system to recognize these vital communications. You will receive notifications with imbedded links specific to your credentials for each abstract in ARPHA for which you are a technical editor (do not share these emails without removing that link). Emails will reference the collection (e.g., ST15) to which the abstract was submitted in both the subject line and in the body of the email. The journal name will also appear in the body of the email.

For help:
If something isn’t working as you think it should, or if you need assistance, you can email Pensoft’s technical staff by clicking “Helpdesk” on the top navigation bar. If you have suggestions for how the workflow can be improved, please record them so that you can respond when we canvass authors and editors for feedback and/or send them to Remember to ALWAYS include an ARPHA# or BISS# in the subject line of all communications.

  1. Please review Instructions for Authors. Being familiar with the author’s perspective will help you understand the ARPHA workflow, and what is expected of you. You should begin to edit and work with authors as soon after submission as possible.
  2. Please make sure the submitting author included additional and relevant metadata. In particular, affiliations and email addresses for all authors should be present (should not validate if this isn’t the case). Check also to see if they have granted editing or commenting privileges to co-authors.  Remind them of this option if it seems appropriate (i.e., they have not granted editing privileges to any co-authors).
  3. When an abstract is submitted to a symposium that you are organizing, you and the co-organizers you designated as technical editors, will receive an email with a link to the abstract. You will all be able to access it, but only one person can have it open for editing at any given time. The others will see a read-only version. Please do not leave the document open if you are not actively working on it. If you are working with a group of co-organizers, decide among yourselves how you will deal with abstracts as they come in and agree on a turn-around time for communicating with authors.
  4. You should be able to see all abstracts that have been submitted to your session in ARPHA’s ‘Collection editor’ view On the right hand side in the dashboard you can see the status of the abstract and the subcollection (i.e. “Part of” [symposium or collection]) to which it was submitted. Some of you are co-organizers of more than one session. Here is a short explanation of the document statuses:
    1. Draft: It has not yet been submitted by the authors OR it has been returned to the authors for revision (via “Send Feedback”). Editors will have read-only access at this time.
    2. In pre-submission review: It is now the responsibility of you and your co-organizers to review the abstract, and either (Approve, Send feedback, or Reject). We urge you NOT to Approve abstracts until the end of the review process for the conference, but you may use the Flag option to indicate intention to approve. Only submissions that are not relevant to the conference goals or themes will be rejected. Get a second opinion from before rejecting a manuscript. If the abstract is not appropriate or does not fit in your symposium, do not render a decision, but notify of your decision. 
    3. Approved for submission: As editors, you will no longer have access to this abstract, once you have approved it (reason why we are asking you not to hit the Approve button at this time). Once the button is pushed, it will be up to authors to finish the abstract submission process. See #12 for a description and various places where authors may run into trouble (including Validation unsuccessful and Incomplete Submission).
    4. In layout: Author has completed the final submission process, a BISS# has been assigned, and abstract is awaiting publication.
  5. If the abstract is not a good fit for your symposium, but you think it might be appropriate for a different symposium or as a contributed oral or poster presentation, please contact the with your suggestion and we will work to get it reassigned.
  6. When reviewing, we strongly recommend that you make suggested wording changes in the document using the track changes feature, but select the text and use the add comments when you have questions or other issues regarding specific text fragments. You can also email the authors if you require clarification before finishing your review (this will not relinquish the abstract from your control and authors will not be able to make changes). If revisions need to be made or considered, click “Send Feedback”. This will bring up a questionnaire with default answers in the affirmative to which you may make changes. Click “Save and Proceed.”
  7. This will bring up an email form to the authors for you to personalize as appropriate. We would suggest that you encourage authors to accept changes they agree with, but keep track changes on so that you can easily see other changes they may make to the document. Note that you will NOT get a copy of this correspondence (you may want to keep your own records) because it will include author-specific links provided by the system.
  8. This process (submission -> send feedback) can be repeated for as long as necessary, but keep in mind the deadline (1 May) by which we hope all authors will know whether their abstract has been/will be accepted.
  9. If/when we are ready to accept the submission (please do not do this before the organizers give this clearance), before approving an abstract, please use the Validate button to clear up issues. Although you can approve a manuscript with issues, authors will have to resolve them before they can complete the submission process. When you click “Approve”, it will bring up an email you can customize to send to the authors.

Additional Notes:

  • Best practice is to start working with the author within a week of receipt. You may also see one of us from the Programme Committee adding comments or making language corrections, but we will not take the decision away from you of whether or not to accept any abstract for your symposium, unless it is deemed unsuitable for inclusion in the conference.
  • All technical editors can use the Flag option to voice an opinion about whether or not to accept or reject an abstract from their symposium or section. This does not represent the final opinion sent to the author but rather a polling tool for use when more than one person is involved. The lead technical editor (typically the organizer of the symposium) renders the final decision and communicates this with the author.
  • The most frequent non-compliance with the journal’s standards, which need to be corrected are: missing authors’ affiliations, non-active or missing links (URLs), incorrect citing of the references (reference cited in text does not match reference from list), and non-expansion of acronyms at first use. There are also typos and wording issues, particularly, but not exclusively from authors for whom English is not primary. Titles should be in title case (e.g., Title of Awesome Talk: Why are we here?). Please read all content carefully: you are acting both as an editor and reviewer. If in doubt, seek a second opinion from your co-organizers or
  • Please use the Track changes option rather than making arbitrary changes to the manuscript that the author may not see. Both you and the authors should use this method when exchanging revised versions.
  • Note that emails originating from about your communications with authors are often interpreted by overzealous email systems as potential spam. If authors seem unresponsive, consider contacting them with your email from outside of the ARPHA environment. As your system may behave similarly, please whitelist or otherwise train your email system to recognize these communications.
  • When you use the ARPHA email system, it sends out individual emails to each of the recipients so in effect, no one else knows who has gotten your email (and you don’t get a copy either). This can lead to some duplication of effort for some tasks. Be aware of this feature and consider whether another platform may be more appropriate for some communications where you expect feedback.
  • Note that the ARPHA platform may send out automatic reminders to authors in the case of prolonged inactivity and after three such ignored notifications will automatically archive (remove the abstract from view) such manuscripts. Either you or the author will need to notify Pensoft to retrieve such an abstract from this fate. Please make sure all communications include an article identifier (ID#) in subject line and author name in the text of the message.
  • Are abstracts required for workshop presentations? No.
  • I am not getting email notifications for abstract submissions from one of the sessions on which I am an organizer. One possibility is that you are in the ARPHA system under more than one email address (contact journal staff for help). Another is that your organization’s spam filter is overly aggressive and marks these emails as junk (you may need to whitelist communications from If you are still having issues, let us know as soon as possible at or contact the journal’s helpdesk.
  • It is your responsibility as editors to ensure the acceptance of only high quality, well-written abstracts that will enhance the reputation of our organizations and this journal. If you feel unable to do this task, would like additional guidance, or help, please contact

last updated 26 April 2019