Open access & APC policies

As an exclusively open-access publisher, Pensoft provides high-quality scholarly publishing services to its own and third-party’s client journals in line with the technological advancements of the industry.

All journals (co-)published by Pensoft are hosted on Pensoft’s ARPHA Platform and published in a way that ensures their content is as FAIR as possible, meaning that it is effortlessly readable, discoverable, harvestable, citable and reusable by both humans and machines. In addition, Pensoft offers a wide range of human-provided in-house services to ensure smooth and expedited publishing experience for authors, editors and reviewers (see list of services provided by Pensoft through ARPHA Platform).

In line with the principles of open science and Pensoft’s open access policies, for all publications, copyright is retained by the authors, whereas the articles are distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence.

In order to ensure long-term sustainability of the journals and cover the cost of the associated in-house publishing services, Pensoft requires article processing fees (APCs). These charges apply only after a submitted manuscript is accepted for publication and can be covered by either the authors or the journal's owner (e.g. societies or institutions) or by using a mixed model.

Business and operating model

The APCs vary from journal to journal due to differences in their business and operational models. Full APC information is publicly available on each journal’s website.

Where a journal is co-published by Pensoft, but is owned by a learned society or other institution, the owner may decide to sponsor their authors - or a subset of authors - by covering the APCs completely or partially. Alternatively, journal owners may choose to add a reasonable surplus to the Pensoft-charged APCs, in order to support their own activities.

The services provided to journals are grouped into three operational/pricing plans, depending on the publishing workflow and final publication format (see the breakdown table below). Additionally, in order to ensure a highly customisable publishing solution, Pensoft allows for journals to exclude services, normally included in their plans. If they do so, the APCs required from Pensoft are lowered accordingly. Alternatively, a journal may opt to upgrade their plan with services featured in a higher-priced plan, which results in an increased APCs.

A major factor that impacts the price range (as required by Pensoft) a journal falls into is the publishing model: (1) article publication in PDF-only format and machine-readable rich metadata; (2) publication in PDF, semantically enriched HTML and full-text JATS XML, based on manuscript submission via the ARPHA Writing Tool; and (3) publication in PDF, semantically enriched HTML and full-text JATS XML, based on manuscript submission via file upload. The APCs applicable to journals in group (1) are lowest due to the minimal manual labour involved; higher at group (2), because of the highly automated submission, editorial and publication workflow available to users at the cost of a technologically advanced infrastructure under continuous development and maintenance by Pensoft’s in-house IT staff; and highest at group (3) due to additional human-provided services (e.g. typesetting in InDesign) as part of the publication process.

APC breakdown at publisher's level

In compliance with the Plan S requirements, Pensoft provides a breakdown of the APC, depending on a journal’s publishing workflow and final publication format. The figures below are calculated on the basis of the average APCs and follow the guidelines by the Fair Open Access Alliance (FOAA).

ServicePDF-only publishing
(file-based submission)
PDF/HTML/XML publishing
(submission via authoring tool)
PDF/HTML/XML publishing
(file-based submission)
1. Journal Operations30%35%20%
2. Publication34%26%43%
3. Fees1%1%1%
4. Marketing and Communication10%12%10%
5. General7%12%10%
6. Discounts & waivers16%6%6%
7. Surplus2%8%10%
Total publication fee per article (EURO)250600750

Journal operations

Platform development and maintenance

Pensoft develops, maintains and updates its own infrastructure (ARPHA Platform) meant to accommodate the whole publishing process and related services for each journal, including:

  • Website design, setup and hosting;
  • Submission, peer review and production management platform;
  • Publishing and hosting platform;
  • Indexing, archiving and distribution;
  • Copy editing, typesetting and proofreading;
  • Production and publication of articles in three formats (PDF, HTML and XML);
  • Integration with ARPHA Preprints.

To expand its services to the academic community, Pensoft has also been developing several other platforms and innovative tools:

  • ARPHA Preprints: by integrating the preprint platform, ARPHA-hosted journals provide their authors with the option to post a preprint during the submission of their manuscripts with no necessary upload of additional files.
  • ARPHA Proceedings: a specialised platform, where conference organisers can publish extended proceedings that may also include data, figures, citations, video presentations, presentations and others in an event-branded collection.
  • ARPHA Conference Abstracts: a specialised platform, where conference organisers can publish extended abstracts that may also include data, images, videos and multimedia in a structured, event-branded collection.
  • ARPHA Writing Tool (AWT): an entirely online authoring environment integrated within the ARPHA editorial and production management platform, which provides a shared collaborative space for co-authors, external contributors, pre-submission reviewers, linguistic and copy editors to work together on a manuscript before submission to a relevant ARPHA-hosted journal.
  • ReFindit: a literature and data discovery tool, allowing users to retrieve information from CrossRef, DataCite, PubMed, Mendeley, RefBank, and the Global Names Usage Bank (GNUB) by searching, for example, by a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), author, title, or free text.
  • Pensoft Taxon Profile (PTP): a search engine allowing automated harvesting of information relevant to any biological taxon name mentioned within a publication by using data from CrossRef, PubMedCentral, PubMed, Biodiversity Heritage Library, NCBI/GenBank, ZooBank, International Plant Name Index (IPNI), Index Fungorum, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Wikipedia, Encyclopedia of Life,, and others.
  • Pensoft Annotator: a web application serving to annotate free text with ontology terms from any ontology or vocabulary list. The Annotator is a resource of the Pensoft API, which allows annotation of free text with ontology terms, in order to streamline the semantic enrichment of publications.
  • OpenBiodiv: an Open Biodiversity Knowledgement Management System, comprising a knowledge graph, a Linked Open Dataset, an ontology (OpenBiodiv-O) and а website. OpenBiodiv gathers biodiversity knowledge extracted from semantically enhanced biodiversity articles published by Pensoft and taxonomic treatments harvested by Plazi, and exposes the links between and within articles and their content.

IT staff

Pensoft relies on its own in-house IT team to develop and maintain its publishing and hosting technologies and platforms, including the individual journal websites and their underlying publication workflows.

Helpdesk staff

Pensoft has an in-house helpdesk staff who supports all journal users - authors, reviewers and editors - in the case of any questions about functionalities or policies with the journals’ system. According to Pensoft’s policy, a reply is normally received within 24 hours (in business days).


  • Triaging: Pensoft’s journal management team performs initial filtering of the submissions before forwarding them to the journal’s handling editors, including basic screening for plagiarism, malpractice or compliance with the journal’s focus, scope, policies and technical requirements.
  • Peer review management: Pensoft’s journal managing editors take care after the organisation of the peer review process.
  • Other editorial assistance: depending on the journal’s operational model, the Pensoft team may also be involved in other activities related to the journal production, maintenance and further development. The in-house staff may take part in the identification of gaps in the editorial board and make suggestions for new subject editors where necessary. The in-house staff may also be responsible for the initial screening of editor application forms before forwarding them to the Editors-in-Chief. Depending on the service packages a journal uses, the Pensoft team provides various reporting, consultancy and organisational assistance, in order to collect feedback, prompt stronger collaboration within the editorial team and improve the overall journal’s academic image and appeal.
  • DOI management: all publications - including preprints posted on ARPHA Preprints - are assigned with their own DOI and registered at Crossref.
  • Indexing: Pensoft indexes each publication at appropriate partnering databases via web services. To do so, the publishing platform exports rich XML article metadata to those indexing services. Depending on the journal’s operational plan, full-text JATS XMLs can be published together with the article. Pensoft’s dedicated staff is also available to consult journals in their indexation strategy.
  • Archiving: Pensoft provides long-term preservation for all publications in CLOCKSS, Zenodo and Portico. Additional archivers can be used by the different journals through higher-level Indexing and Archiving services.
  • Typesetting, Copy-editing and Proofreading: unless a client journal prefers to manage any or all of these services, they are provided by Pensoft’s dedicated in-house team.
  • Language editing: Pensoft provides both lightweight copy editing provided by native speakers and thorough English language stylistic editing, depending on the journal operational plan.
  • Rejection: while journals (co-)published by Pensoft do not charge authors unless/until their manuscript is accepted for publication, rejected manuscripts still incur costs in several automated and manual services provided by Pensoft and its in-house staff.


Pensoft is a paying member of several publishing organisations, e.g. OASPA, DOAJ, CrossRef and others. In some cases, Pensoft pays а part of the surplus to the learned societies owning the journals.


  • PR and marketing: Pensoft’s in-house PR and marketing team takes responsibility for the promotion of the journals and their content by utilising various communication channels, including subscription-based news platforms and sponsorship at relevant academic events. Depending on the Communication, promotion and marketing service package used by a journal, Pensoft’s in-house staff may also assist or provide social media management and additional promotional activities.
  • Visibility and outreach: Pensoft’s journals provide public and detailed usage statistics on article- and sub-article level sourced by self-developed metrics tools, as well as external services such as Altmetric and Dimensions.


  • Management & administration: Pensoft employs a number of non-editorial staff and maintains physical offices.
  • Other business costs: Pensoft journals use multiple paid services, such as Altmetrics, Publons, Dimensions, Eurekalert, AlphaGalileo, ScienceOpen, Portico, CLOCKSS, and others. Other business costs include print on demand services, packaging and shipment of printed copies, logistics, servers hosting and administration, office maintenance costs, and others.
  • Taxes: Pensoft pays taxes in accordance with the national legislation.


Pensoft allocates surplus to further development of the platform, based on the continuously sourced feedback from clients and users, as well as to research and integration of additional relevant services.

Available surplus at Pensoft-owned journals is also navigated to newly launched journals, especially those in emerging scientific fields; or journals, whose communities are typically impeded by lack of research funding.

Where a journal is owned by an institution or a society that has opted to top the production costs by reasonably increasing APCs, the difference is paid to the journal owner at the agreed frequency.

Discounts and waivers

In order to support equity in academia, Pensoft provides a number of discounts and waivers on APCs across its journal portfolio to scientists who are living/working in low- and middle-income countries, graduate/PhD students, retired scientists or researchers working privately. Discounts are also available to editors and reviewers. Each journal provides full information about its discounts and waivers policy on its website.

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