About

Editorial Policies


Focus and Scope

Vegetation Classification and Survey (VCS) is an international, peer-reviewed journal of plant community ecology published on behalf of the International Association for Vegetation Science (IAVS) together with its sister journals, Journal of Vegetation Science (JVS) and Applied Vegetation Science (AVS). It is devoted to vegetation survey and classification at any organizational and spatial scale and without restriction to certain methodological approaches.

The journal publishes original papers that develop new vegetation typologies as well as applied studies that use such typologies, for example, in vegetation mapping, ecosystem modelling, nature conservation, land use management or monitoring. Particularly encouraged are methodological studies that design and compare tools for vegetation classification and mapping, such as algorithms, databases and nomenclatural principles. Papers dealing with conceptual and theoretical bases of vegetation survey and classification are also welcome. While large-scale studies are preferred, regional studies will be considered when filling important knowledge gaps or presenting new methods. VCS also contains Permanent Collections on "Ecoinformatics" and "Phytosociological Nomenclature".


Double-Blind Peer Review

This journal uses double-blind peer review to ensure that reviewer reports are not (positively or negatively) biased by knowing the identity of the authors.


Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.


Copyright Notice

License and Copyright Agreement

In submitting the manuscript to any of Pensoft’s journals, authors certify that: 

  • They are authorized by their co-authors to enter into these arrangements. 
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  • They secure the right to reproduce any material that has already been published or copyrighted elsewhere. 
  • They agree to the following license and copyright agreement:

Copyright

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  • The article and any associated published material is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0):

Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0)

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The full legal code of this license.

Copyright Transfers

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COPE Membership

This journal endorses the COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) guidelines and will pursue cases of suspected research and publication misconduct (e.g. falsification, unethical experimentation, plagiarism, inappropriate image manipulation, redundant publication). For further information about COPE please see the website for COPE at http://www.publicationethics.org and journal's Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement.


Types of Contributions

During submission, you have to select whether your paper is a Regular Article, belongs to the Permanent Collection Ecoinformatics, the Permanent Collection Phytosociological Nomenclature or a certain Special Collection. Further, you should indicate both in your cover letter and on the title page of your manuscript one of the following manuscript types to which your submission belongs. The editors reserve the right to modify the proposed assignment at their discretion.

Manuscript types

Research Paper: Any contribution that does not fall into one of the following categories. There is no length limit for Research Papers as long as the length is substantiated by the content.

Review and Synthesis: This category is for papers that do not (or hardly) contain new data/analyses, but critically review the existing knowledge on a topic to derive new ideas or conclusions, which are not mere summaries of the literature. Papers of this category can, for example, provide a concise overview of the vegetation of a whole country or another larger area or review a certain methodological aspect relevant to vegetation classification. There is no length limit for Review and Synthesis contributions as long as the length is substantiated by the content.

Forum Paper: Forum Papers are essays with original ideas / speculations / well-sustained arguments, but without new data. They usually contribute to free debate of current and often controversial ideas in vegetation classification. There may be criticism of papers published in VCS, or (if interesting to our readers) of papers published elsewhere. An Abstract is required, but otherwise the sectional format is flexible. The length of Forum papers is normally 2–4 printed pages.

Report: This category includes items that are not scientific papers, e.g. reports on the activities of a scientific working group or descriptions of a new or much expanded computer program if this is of interest for vegetation classification. Reports are typically 1–2 printed pages with a maximum of 10 (15) references; additional material should be put in Supplementary files.

Editorial: Only Chief Editors or persons solicited by these can submit Editorials.

Short Database Reports, Long Database Reports and CCCN Reports are additional article categories that are available only in the respective Permanent Collection (for details see below).

Permanent Collection Ecoinformatics
(Editors Idoia Biurrun, Jürgen Dengler & Florian Jansen)

Papers presenting vegetation-plot databases and other ecoinformatics data sources relevant for vegetation classification as well as concepts, methods and tools for using these should be submitted to this section. They should be classified into one of the above categories (Research Paper, Review and Synthesis, Forum Paper, Report).

VCS has established a formal collaboration with the Global Index of Vegetation-Plot Databases (GIVD; www.givd.info). It serves as outlet for Reports on GIVD activities, Short Database Reports (1-2 printed pages, no text except abstract, no references) and Long Database Reports (3–15 printed pages, up to 25 references). Both types of Database Reports comprise as core element the standardised GIVD Fact Sheet. Database Reports in general are only possible for vegetation-plot databases registered in GIVD. Specifically, Long Database Reports are offered to databases from Europe (including Turkey, Cyprus and the Caucasus countries) and the United States with at least 3,000 plot observations or databases with at least 1,000 plot observations from outside these regions, while the thresholds for Short Database Reports are 500 and 200 plot observations, respectively. Submissions of Database Reports must be accompanied by a recent GIVD Fact Sheet, which can be obtained from the GIVD website. The title of a Short Database Report consists of the name of the database (as registered in GIVD; capitalise all words because it is considered a proper name), possibly followed by a subtitle or explanation after an en-dash. For Long Database Reports, the title also must contain the unchanged proper name of the database, but otherwise its arrangement is more flexible. Further format specifications and instructions for submission are available from the Permanent Collection Editors or from GIVD.

Permanent Collection Phytosociological Nomenclature
(Editors Federico Fernández-González & Wolfgang Willner)

Papers focusing on phytosociological nomenclature should be submitted to this section. They should be classified into one of the above categories (Research Paper, Review and Synthesis, Forum Paper, Report). We encourage comprehensive nomenclatural revisions of major syntaxa, analyses of nomenclatural problems related with the names of wide-spread high-rank syntaxa as well as Forum Papers on general nomenclatural issues that are of interest to an international readership. We discourage papers dealing with names of communities of only regional distribution. The publication of new syntaxa is not permitted in this section except in cases of validations or changes of rank of existing syntaxon names, where all relevant classification information (including tables) has been published before.

Further, this section publishes Reports and official documents issued by the Working Group for Phytosociological Nomenclature (GPN) of the International Association for Vegetation Science (IAVS). Nomenclatural proposals (e.g., for nomina conservanda) should be submitted per e-mail to the responsible editor (wolfgang.willner@univie.ac.at). Once a year, the new proposals will be published as part of the annual Report of the Committee for Changes and Conservation of Names (CCCN) (article category: CCCN Report), with all authors of proposals being co-authors (additionally, the authors of individual proposals will be indicated in the Report). Publication of nomenclatural proposals is free of charge.

Special Collections

VCS will, from time to time, publish Special Collections on certain topics. Submission to a Special Collection is possible only for manuscripts that have been invited by the Special Collection Editors (usually following an evaluation of proposed abstracts). If you are interested in organising a Special Collection, please contact one of the Chief Editors to discuss this option.

Guidelines for Plot-Based Vegetation Classification Papers (Outside and Inside Special Collections)

Methodological approach: Plot-based vegetation classification studies should clearly delimit the target vegetation type, describe the methods of data sampling, or data selection from databases, and formally describe each step of the classification process, in order to make the process of sampling (or data compilation) and classification repeatable by other researchers. If classification is based on or includes expert judgement, unequivocal a posteriori criteria for assignment of vegetation samples to community types must be given.

Data presentation: Plant community types described in vegetation classification papers should be documented by comparative (synoptic) tables with species abundance or frequency data (in the body of the table) and relevant environmental variables (in the header of the table). Tables with species constancy (frequency) should contain percentages (not classes). Species in these tables should be sorted and grouped to indicate the floristic differentiation of community types. Group headings may be used. Differentiation criteria and thresholds used for structuring the tables and defining diagnostic (character, differential or indicator) species should be formally described and strictly followed. While space in the main body of the paper usually only allows for presentation of synoptic tables with constancy columns, the authors are strongly encouraged to present the underlying unabridged sorted relevé tables in Supplementary files in usable form. If in doubt, please ask the Editor.

Community descriptions: While textual description of community types should be as concise as possible and should not repeat information contained in the tables, VCS appreciates descriptive and structured accounts of plant community types with notes, if applicable, on vegetation structure, site conditions, phenology and prevailing colours, impacts and variation. Formerly described community types should be briefly annotated with an explicit reference to the source, where the full description is provided. Vegetation classification papers should also contain colour photographs of representative stands for particular community types dealt with, arranged as plates with multiple panels, typically one panel for each community type.

Nomenclature of community types: Nomenclature of community types should be internally consistent, typically following regional tradition. If the formal nomenclature of the Braun-Blanquet approach is used, the rules of the latest edition of International Code of Phytosociological Nomenclature must be adhered to. If new syntaxa are published according to the Code, nomenclatural types must be included in the main document, not in the Supplementary material.

Plot data: The authors are strongly encouraged to publish primary data related to the paper (e.g. vegetation-plot data) in Supplementary files, preferably in a standard vegetation database format (Veg-X, Turboveg XML), and/or to store them in a major national or regional vegetation database. This should be indicated in the Methods section by referring to the database (through citing a database paper and/or through the database’s ID in the Global Index of Vegetation-Plot Databases; www.givd.info) and the plot numbers within this database. Disclosing the sources of plot data in detail is obligatory when data have been retrieved from databases owned by third parties; in this case all databases from which data have been used, have to be referred to with their GIVD ID (if any) or by citing a paper describing that database.


Authors Guidelines


Manuscript structure

Due to the double-blind peer review system of VCS, you have to submit your manuscript (apart from the letter to the editor and supplementary material) as two separate files (for further details, see under Submission Guidelines):

(i) Cover part (with personal information)

(ii) Main part (anonymised)

The submitted text should be with 1.5-fold line spacing and needs to have continuous line numbering to facilitate the review process. Always consult a recent issue of VCS or the journal’s website at https://vcs.pensoft.net/ for details on format, sequence of headings, citation style and arrangement of the manuscript.

Cover part (with personal information)

To allow double-blind review, all parts of the manuscript that allow direct identification of author identities will be included here. This part is for the handling Subject Editor only and will not be sent to the reviewers.

Collection: Indicate if you wish to submit your paper to a Permanent Collection or Special Collection.

Type: Indicate to which manuscript type your manuscript should be assigned.

Title: This should be strongly directed towards attracting the interest of potential readers. The shorter a title, the more citations an article usually attracts.

Author names and affiliations: In the current format of the journal. e.g.:

Nicole Flowers1, Annette Wiese1,2 , Pablo F. Verde2

1 Botany Department, Little Marsh University, Little Marsh, Berkshire, United Kingdom
2 Community Ecology, Research Institute, Porto Allegre, Brazil

Corresponding author: Nicole Flowers (flowers@lmu.ac.uk)

Please note that affiliations should always start with the smallest organisational unit, i.e. Department, University, not University, Department, and that only city/town and country, but not street and postal code should be given.

Data availability: A data availability statement must be given for the data used in and resulting from your research, if not included in the manuscript or electronic appendices. VCS expects that the original data on which the results are based will be archived, if possible in an appropriate public repository or in electronic Supplementary Information related to the paper. Whenever possible, the scripts (e.g. R scripts) and other artefacts used to generate the analyses presented in the paper should also be publicly archived. The authors should make a statement where the primary data, datasets prepared as a part of the study and original program source codes are stored. If they are archived in a public repository, a reference to DOI or permanent URL should be provided. If the paper uses data from large multi-contributor databases such as sPlot, EVA or GrassPlot, which cannot be made publicly available because of the third-party ownership issues, the data selection released for the study should be stored in an internal repository of the source database, and made available for re-analyses upon request; in such a case the author(s) should refer in their Data availability statement to the project code or name used in such internal repository.

Author contributions: Required for any paper with more than one author, e.g.:

A.B. planned the research, C.T.F. and Z.K. conducted the field sampling, B.C. performed the statistical analyses and led the writing, while all authors critically revised the manuscript.

Acknowledgements: Keep them brief. References to research projects/funds and institutional publication numbers can go here as well as mentioning of individuals who helped but did not make a significant scientific contribution that would warrant authorship.

E-mail and ORCID: Provide here the e-mails and, if available, the ORCIDs of all authors in the sequence they appear in the author list, with one person per line, e.g.

Andrew Smith (Corresponding author, andrew.smith@uni-xxx.uk), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0005-5678-660X
Susan Miller (milsus@zzz-college.us)
Karin Meyer (k.meyer@gmail.com), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0009-8765-660X
(…)

Main part (anonymised)

Collection: Copy the information from the Cover part.

Type: Copy the information from the Cover part.

Title: Copy the information from the Cover part.

Running head: Shortened title (up to 50 characters including spaces) to be used in the header of the article.

Abstract: Up to 300 words (200 for Forum Papers, Reports, Database Reports and CCCN Reports) in a single paragraph. The abstract should concisely and concretely summarize the main facts on "Question(s)", "Study area", "Methods", "Results" and "Conclusions". These subheadings should be given in bold, followed by a colon. Subheadings can be adjusted where appropriate (e.g. "Aims" instead of "Questions"). They are optional for Reports and Forum articles and not used for Database Reports. Normally no citations; but if exceptionally needed then with author, year, journal, volume and pages.

Taxonomic reference(s): Refer to one (or few) source(s) for unified scientific names of plant species:

Miller (2001) for vascular plants, except Myers et al. (2003) for Asteraceae.

Syntaxonomic reference(s): If you use scientific names for vegetation units, refer to the source(s) of these names.

Abbreviation(s): List and explain any abbreviations that are frequently used in the text, e.g.:

DCA = Detrended Correspondence Analysis; ICPN = International Code of Phytosociological Nomenclature (Weber et al. 2000).

Keywords: There should be 6–12 singular keywords, including the important words from the title, in alphabetical order and separated by commas, e.g.:

Abies, Alpine, biodiversity, functional diversity, gradient analysis, trait, transect

Main text: Up to four levels of unnumbered section headings are possible (see below). Standard sequence of main sections in VCS is Introduction – Study area – Methods – Results – Discussion, but variation of this structure is acceptable when appropriate.

References: For details, see below.

Appendices: Appendices are exceptionally possible for items other than vegetation tables that would disturb the flow of reading but must appear in the typeset body of the paper. A typical case is the presentation of nomenclatural types of syntaxa described as new (because supplementary material is not considered as effectively published according to Art. 1 of the International Code of Phytosociological Nomenclature, ed. 4).

Supplementary material: If applicable, reference to each item of Supplementary material with short (one-line) captions and the data format in brackets. The reference should have the following format:

Supplementary material 1. Ordered relevé table of the Fagion sylvaticae (*.xlsx)

Supplementary material 2. Ordered relevé table of the Fagion sylvaticae (*.csv).

Supplementary material 3. Photo guide to the associations described in this article (*.pdf).

Note that in the main document you should provide only the reference to the Supplementary material while the supplements themselves are to be submitted as individual items each (for details, see below).


English Language

Articles for VCS must be written either in British English or American English throughout.

VCS offers a unique service of language editing. Our Linguistic Editors, who are vegetation scientists themselves, will look through all accepted papers written by non-native speakers without additional costs. However, this does not release you from writing your manuscripts in a concise and understandable manner and to take any reasonable effort (e.g. spell checker of your word processing program) to avoid mistakes. Manuscripts that do not meet such basic formal requirements will be returned without review.


Style and format of the text

Levels of headlines: VCS supports up to four unnumbered levels of headlines.

1st level (Introduction, Study area, …, References) should be given in bold and in a larger font than the body of the text.

2nd level should be indicated by bold and the same font size as the body of the text.

3rd level should be indicated by bold-italics and the same font size as the body of the text.

4th level headlines appear in the line of the paragraph (not in a separate line) in bold followed by a full stop.

For syntaxonomic descriptions, exceptionally, lower-level headlines can start with a (decimal) number indicating hierarchy.

Italicization/underlining: Scientific names of taxa and syntaxa of any rank, and one-letter symbols for variables and constants (except for Greek letters), such as p, F, R2 or t-test, should be italicized. To match the text, these symbols should be italicized also in figures, equations and references. Italics should be used for words or phrases from other languages than English, except they have become part of common English vocabulary. Italics should only exceptionally be used for emphasis, and not in common abbreviations such as e.g., i.e., et al., etc., cf. Underlining of text is not accepted.

Abbreviations: Abbreviations of common language should be followed by ‘.' (full stop; for instance: i.e., e.g., cf., etc.). Physical units, for instance mm, cm, m, s, L, must be written without full stop. Note that the words Figure and Figures are not abbreviated. Spelling of scientific abbreviations (e.g. ANOVA, DCA, GIVD) follows the usual conventions in the discipline. They have to be spelled out at first occurrence in the text and included in the Abbreviations section below the Abstract.

Use of dashes: (1) Hyphens are used to link words such as personal names, some prefixes and compound adjectives) (2) En-dash or en-rule (the length of an 'n') is used to link spans. In the context of our journal en-dash should be used to link numerals, sizes, dates and page numbers (e.g., 1977–1981; Figures 5–7; pp. 237–258); geographic or name associations (Murray–Darling River; a Federal–State agreement); and character states combinations such as long–pubescent or red–purple.

Footnotes: Avoid footnotes in the body text of the manuscript. It is always possible to incorporate the footnote into the main text by rewording the sentences, which greatly facilitates reading. Additionally, footnotes are not always handled well by the journal software, and their usage may cause a failure of submission. Footnotes are acceptable only below tables.

Web (HTML) links: Authors are encouraged to include links to Internet resources in their article. This is especially encouraged in the reference section. When inserting a reference to a web-page, please include the http:// portion of the web address.

Scientific names of taxa of any rank are to be given in italics (Carex curvula subsp. curvula, Asteraceae) and without authorities (the nomenclatural reference(s) should be indicated in the section "Taxonomic reference" below the Abstract). Formal syntaxon names of the Braun-Blanquet approach are also to be given in italics (Caricetum curvulae, Querco-Fagetea). Here the authorities and the year of publication should be presented at first mentioning (but not in the title or headings) or in a syntaxonomic overview unless one nomenclatural reference is used and followed throughout the manuscript. Expressions such as "ass. nov. hoc loco", "nom. inval." or "Holotypus hoc loco" are not given in italics.

Numbers with units of measurement must be in digits, e.g. 3.5 g. Numbers in the text of up to ten items (i.e. integers) should be in words, e.g. "ten quadrats", "five sampling times"; above ten in digits, e.g. "11 sampling times". Use '.' (dot) for a decimal separator. Large numbers (≥ 1,000) should be structured with commas into groups of three digits, e.g. 1,500 or 1,000,000, except for years AD.

Values of the same variable (e.g. in a table) should always be given with the same precision (number of decimal places). Numbers should be given with reasonable precision, e.g. p-values always with three decimal places, phi-values × 100 always without decimal place, coordinates in WGS-84 decimal degree system with five decimal places (corresponding to 1 m precision).

Units: Use the International System of Units (SI) for measurements. Consult Standard Practice for Use of the International System of Units (ASTM Standard E−380−93) for guidance on unit conversions, style, and usage. The time units for contemporary phenomena can be s, min, hr, week, mo or yr. For palaeo-time use ka or Ma; make always clear whether 14C years or calendar years BP (before present) are used. Dates should be in the format: 2 Sep 2010, i.e. with the month as three letters. Months on their own should be in full: September. Geographic coordinates should be given in the universal WGS-84 system with decimal degrees as unit.

Statistics: If you conduct statistical tests, please ensure that you always report the following four pieces of relevant information: (i) applied test; (ii) p-value (not only the significance level) or equivalent in the information theoretician approach; (iii) direction and size of the effect (e.g. parameter estimates of a regression) and (iv) explained variance of the model (R2 or equivalent measure). References to R and R packages should be included in the reference list. Commercial statistical software should only be cited in the text and not included in the reference section.


Citations and References

Citations in the text

Before submitting the manuscript, please check each citation in the text against the References and vice-versa to ensure that they match exactly.

Use forms such as: Smith and Jones (2005) or (Smith and Jones 2005); for more than two authors: White et al. (2005); for combinations: (Smith et al. 2005a, 2005b; Jones 2006, 2010). Citations must be chronological by year, except where there is a list of years for the same author(s), e.g. (Zebedee 1950, 1970; Abraham 1960; Smith et al. 1965, 1974; Zebedee et al. 1969). When having two or more fully identical citations (this can happen when you have more than one reference with exactly the same authors and years for one or two authors, or the same first author and year for author teams of three or more), the references are distinguished by adding the letters 'a', 'b', 'c', etc. after the years and this marking is followed in the in-text citations, respectively (Reyes-Velasco et al. 2018a, 2018b).

Reference to articles and books should be limited to published work or work in press. Indicate all other material as "unpubl." or "pers. comm." (the latter with date and description of the type of knowledge, e.g. "local farmer"), or web-address (e.g. http://www.greenworld.info/global_redlist; accessed 20 November 2013).

References to computer programs: Computer programs used should be mentioned in the Methods section, e.g. "performed by DoStats (version 6.2, StatProgs Inc., Springfield, NY, US)" or "performed by Partition (version 3.0, www.users.muohio.edu/cristto/partition.htm)". Only descriptions of computer programs in refereed journals or in books with an ISBN as well as R packages should be cited in the References section.  References to computer programs should never substitute references to proper description of methods performed using these programs. The methods used should be fully described in the text, in an appendix and/or by readily-available references. A reference to a computer program and to "program defaults" is not a substitute.

Reference section

The References section can contain only material that is published, accepted for publication ("in press") or is a thesis. Unpublished materials have to be cited directly in the text.

For books that have been published as numbered volumes within a series, this fact can be indicated in square brackets after the book title (but without series editors); for technical reports issued by institutions, this fact can be indicated in square brackets after the publishing institution. For journal articles, only indicate the volume, not the issue, unless page numbering starts with 1 in each new issue of the same volume. Titles of articles and books are not capitalized (sentence case). Scientific names are given in italics as in the text. All journal names should be spelled out and not be italicized.

Computer programs and databases used should preferably be cited via a publication describing them, but can be included in the References if this is not possible. Please cite pure online sources that are non-permanent (i.e. without DOI) only exceptionally, when there is no printed or online source that provides equivalent information. When citing non-permanent online sources, indication of the access date is obligatory. Note that online sources have to be cited in the same style as any other reference, i.e. originator/editor + year + title, not just with the title.

The list is ordered alphabetically, with several works by the same author(s) (including all works of "Author et al.", irrespective whether the co-authors are the same) being arranged in chronological order. For references with up to ten authors, all authors are listed. If there are eleven or more authors, only the first nine and the last one are listed, while the others are replaced by "...". Please pay attention to the correct spelling of author names with diacritics.

For paper in press (including online first etc.), indicate the most probable year of print publication, and add "[in press]" and the DOI at the end of the reference. For all other references the provision of DOIs is optional (they will be retrieved, as far as possible, from CrossRef and added during the typesetting).

The following formats apply to the different types of references:

Published journal article:

Weber HE, Moravec J, Theurillat JP (2000) International Code of Phytosociological Nomenclature. 3rd edition. Journal of Vegetation Science 11: 739–768.

Journal article in press:

López-Sáez JA, Alba-Sánchez F, Sánchez-Mata D, Abel-Schaad D, Gavilán RG, Pérez-Díaz S (2018) A palynological approach to the study of Quercus pyrenaica forest communities in the Spanish Central System. Phytocoenologia [in press]. https://doi.org/10.1127/0340-269X/2014/0044-0572

Journal article published online only without page numbers:

Blackburn TM, Essl F, Evans T, Hulme PE, Jeschke JM, Kühn I, Kumschick S, Marková Z, Mrugała A, … Bacher S (2014) A unified classification of alien species based on the magnitude of their environmental impacts. PLoS Biology 12: e1001850.

Book in a series (treated like a journal article):

Ewald J (1997) Die Bergmischwälder der Bayerischen Alpen – Soziologie, Standortbindung und Verbreitung. Dissertationes Botanicae 290: 1−234.

Book (monograph):

Ellenberg H, Leuschner C (2010) Vegetation Mitteleuropas mit den Alpen in ökologischer, dynamischer und historischer Sicht. 6th ed. Ulmer, Stuttgart, DE, 1333 pp.

Chapter in an edited book:

Whittaker RH (1969) Evolution of diversity in plant communities. In: Woodwell GM, Smith HN (Eds) Stability and diversity in ecological systems. Brookhaven National Laboratory, Brookhaven, NY, US, 178–196.

Note: The plural word "editors" is abbreviated as "Eds" without full stop.

Chapter in an edited book that belongs to a series:

Whittaker RH (1973) Approaches to classifying vegetation. In: Whittaker RH (Ed.) Ordination and classification of communities [Handbook of vegetation science 5]. Junk, The Hague, NL, 323–354.

Technical report:

Rodwell JS, Schaminée JHJ, Mucina L, Pignatti S, Dring J, Moss D (2002) The diversity of European vegetation – An overview of phytosociological alliances and their relationships to EUNIS habitats. National Reference Centre for Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries [Report no. EC-LNV 2002(054)], Wageningen, NL, 167 pp.

Thesis:

Wallin G (1973) Lövskogsvegetation i Sjuhäradsbygden [Deciduous woodlands in Sjuhäradsbygden]. Ph.D. thesis, Uppsala University, Uppsala, SE.

Online source:

Euro+Med (2015) The Euro+Med PlantBase – the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity. http://ww2.bgbm.org/EuroPlusMed/ [accessed 7 Dec 2015].

R computer package:

Oksanen J, Blanchet FG, Kindt R, Legendre P, Minchin PR, O’Hara RB, Simpson GL, Solymos P, Stevens MHH, Wagner H (2015) vegan: community ecology package. R package version 2.3-2. http://cran.r-project.org/package=vegan [accessed 7 Dec 2015].

References in other languages than English

1. References in languages that use the Latin alphabet are cited in the original language. For languages other than French, German or Spanish, titles of papers, book chapters or books should be followed by an English translation in square brackets. Titles of the journals or books in the citations of book chapters are not translated. Example:

Mucina L (1985) Používať či nepoužívať Ellenbergove indikačné hodnoty? [To use or not to use Ellenberg's indicator values?]. Biológia 40: 511–516.

2. References in Cyrillic and Greek alphabets are cited in the original language but transliterated to Latin alphabet. Titles of papers, book chapters or books should be followed by an English translation in square brackets. Titles of the journals or books in the citations of book chapters are not translated. At the end of the citation, the original language is indicated in square brackets. Example:

Kholod SS (2007) Klassifikatsiya rastitel´nosti ostrova Vrangelya [Classification of Wrangel Island vegetation]. Rastitel'nost' Rossii 11: 3–15. [In Russian]

3. References in languages that use other alphabets than Latin, Cyrillic and Greek: Titles of papers/chapters/books including book titles in the citations of chapters and also the titles of the journals are translated to English. At the end of the citation, the original language is indicated in square brackets. Example:

Chiu CA, Lin HC, Liao MC, Tseng YH, Ou CH, Lu KC, Tzeng HY (2008) A physiognomic classification scheme of potential vegetation of Taiwan. Quarterly Journal of Forest Research 30: 89–112. [In Chinese]


Tables, Figures, Appendices and Supplementary Material

Each table, figure, appendix in the main body and electronic supplement must be mentioned in the text (Figure 1, Table 2, Appendix 3, Supplementary material 4). The elements of each of these categories are numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals, following the sequence of their first mentioning in the text. For review purposes, i.e. before final acceptance), tables and figures should be placed on separate pages at the end of the manuscript together with their captions. Please indicate in the text where they should approximately be placed:

#Figure 4 approximately here#

Figures

Figures in the submitted manuscript should be supplied at the size at which they are intended to be published: either one-column or full-page width. Figure legends should be included within the manuscript text file on the same page as the figure to which they refer. The legend should contain sufficient information for the figure to be understood without reference to the text of the paper. The first sentence of the legend should comprise a short title for the figure. The definitions of symbols and lines should be given as a visual key on the figure itself, not as a word key (e.g. 'solid bars', 'open circle', 'dashed line') in the legend. Sub-graphs within one figure should be headed with an uppercase letter and a brief heading. Wherever space allows, full labels instead of abbreviations should be used in the figures. Scale bars should be given on microphotographs and maps. Use a sans-serif font for figure labels, such as Arial or Helvetica.

After acceptance, figures have to be provided as separate files in one of the following image file formats:

  • EPS (preferred format for diagrams)
  • TIFF (at least 300 dpi resolution, with LZW compression)
  • PNG (preferred format for photos or images)
  • JPEG (preferred format for photos or images, not to be used for diagrams)
  • GIF
  • BMP
  • SVG

Vector files in any of the following formats EPS, SVG or PDF are requested for phylogenetic trees and cladograms.

Should you have any problems in providing the figures in one of the above formats, or in reducing the file below 20 MB, please contact the Editorial Office at journals@pensoft.net

On the use of Google Maps
Please do NOT use maps produced by Google Earth and Google Maps in your publications, as these are subject of copyright! Here is an excerpt from Google Maps/Earth Additional Terms of Service:
Restrictions on Use. Unless you have received prior written authorization from Google (or, as applicable, from the provider of particular Content), you must not: (a) copy, translate, modify, or make derivative works of the Content or any part thereof; (b) redistribute, sublicense, rent, publish, sell, assign, lease, market, transfer, or otherwise make the Products or Content available to third parties; (c) reverse engineer, decompile or otherwise attempt to extract the source code of the Service or any part thereof, unless this is expressly permitted or required by applicable law; (d) use the Products in a manner that gives you or any other person access to mass downloads or bulk feeds of any Content, including but not limited to numerical latitude or longitude coordinates, imagery, and visible map data; (e) delete, obscure, or in any manner alter any warning or link that appears in the Products or the Content; or (f) use the Service or Content with any products, systems, or applications for or in connection with (i) real time navigation or route guidance, including but not limited to turn-by-turn route guidance that is synchronized to the position of a user's sensor-enabled device; or (ii) any systems or functions for automatic or autonomous control of vehicle behaviour; (g) use the Products to create a database of places or other local listings information.

Tables

Numerical results should be presented as either tables or figures, but not both. Table legends should be on the same page as the table to which they refer. The legend should contain sufficient information for the table to be understood without reference to the text of the paper. The first sentence of the legend should comprise a short title for the table. Units should appear in parentheses in the column headings, not in the body of the table. Vertical lines should be avoided. If some part of the table needs to be highlighted (e.g. groups of important species), use background shading (not framing or boldface). For large tables with many empty cells, fill the empty cells with dots to facilitate reading. Tables should be planned in a way that they fit onto the size of the journal pages in readable size; oversized tables should go to the Supplementary material.

Small tables can be embedded within the text, in portrait format. These will be typeset and displayed in the final published form of the article. Such tables should be formatted using the 'Table object' in a word processing program to ensure that columns of data are kept aligned when the file is sent electronically for review. Do not use tabs to format tables or separate text.

Supplementary material

Online publishing allows an author to provide datasets, tables, video files, or other information as Supplementary material, greatly increasing the impact of the submission. In case of VCS, the use of Supplementary material is strongly encouraged for (a) sorted vegetation relevé tables (while in the paper itself usually only synoptic tables are included) (as *.xlsx, *.csv), (b) more detailed description of the described vegetation types with abundant photos (as *.pdf) and (c) provision of the raw vegetation data underlying the study (e.g. as *.csv or TURBOVEG-xml). However, items that need to be effectively published according to the International Code of Phytosociological Nomenclature (description of new syntaxa, type relevés, lectotypifications, etc.), must be provided in the main document, not in the Supplementary material.

It is important to note that Supplementary materials do not undergo copy editing and typesetting. Therefore, authors have to provide them fully formatted just as they would like to deliver them to the users. Supplementary text, figures and potentially tables should be aggregated in larger items that are stored as *.pdf. If one Supplementary material contains different Figures and Tables, they should be numbered consecutively within each Supplementary material, e.g. Figure S1.1, Figure S1.2 for the first two figures in Supplementary material 1, Figure S2.1 for the first figure in Supplementary material 2 etc. and they can be cited as such in the main text.

Each Supplementary material needs to start with a legend, which can expand the short legend given at the end of the main article, but at the submission stage you need to ensure that it does not contain information on the identity of authors. e.g.

Supplementary material 1. A list of palm species recorded in the study area.

If a Supplementary material contains citations, they should be included in a Reference section in this supplement, no matter whether the same reference is also in the Reference section of the main text. The style of the references should follow the same rules as in the main text.

The maximum file size for each Supplementary File is 20 MB.

While submitting a supplementary file the following information should be completed:

  • File format (including name and a URL of an appropriate viewer if format is unusual)
  • Title of data
  • Description of data

Ideally, the supplementary files should not be platform-specific, and should be viewable using free or widely available tools. Suitable file formats are:

For supplementary documentation:

  • *.pdf (Adobe Acrobat)

For datasets:

  • *.csv (Comma separated values)
  • *.xlsx (Excel spreadsheet)
  • *.ods (OpenOffice spreadsheets)
  • Special format for vegetation-plot data (see above)

For R code:

  • *.r

For animations:

  • *.swf (Shockwave Flash)

For movies:

  • *.mov (QuickTime)
  • *.mpg (MPEG)

Submission Guidelines


Submission Procedure

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Registration and login are required to submit items online and to check the status of current submissions.

Submission of manuscripts to this journal is possible only through the online submission module. We kindly request authors to consult the Focus and Scope section prior to submission. In order to submit a manuscript to the journal, authors are required to register with the journal and/or to login. Once logged in, you will find the online submission system by clicking the "Submit a manuscript" button.

The manuscript submission process is separated into the following steps:

  • Step 1: Start your submission specifying the manuscript type and completing the submission checklist.
  • Step 2: Choosing the payment option and requesting optional services.
  • Step 3: Submission metadata: typing in the author(s) names and affiliation, title, abstract, keywords, and other metadata.
  • Step 4: Submission metadata: assigning classification categories for your manuscript using hierarchical classification trees.
  • Step 5: Submission metadata: adding supporting agencies, author’s contributions, conflict of interest and comments to the editors; selection of Permanent or Special Collection.
  • Step 6: Uploading the submission file and the additional files: an optional cover letter, the manuscript file for review (which must not contain indications of authorship) and all other required files (see below for details on how to prepare them).
  • Step 7: Confirming the automatically generated pdf review version of the article, and the metadata.
  • Step 8: Uploading supplementary files (see below for details) and associated metadata (note that the system requires you to enter the authors of the files; this information is not visible to the reviewers).
  • Step 9: Suggesting reviewers, final verification of the submitted files and confirmation.

Stepwise guidance on new manuscript submission, with screenshots of the interface embedded, is available online in this section of the Users' Manual.


Organizing Your Submission

Before starting your submission please make sure that your manuscript is formatted in accordance with the Authors Guidelines.

Manuscripts submitted to this journal must be divided into separate files (no larger than 20 MB each) to allow their processing by our software. Before attempting an online submission, please prepare the following files:

(a) Letter to the editor (optional).

(b) Cover part of the manuscript with all personal information.

(c) Anonymised main part of the manuscript with all figures and tables embedded, in two formats: pdf and in editable format (doc, docx, rtf or odt).

In step 5 of the submission, you have the option to copy your letter to the editor into the field "Comments to the Editor".

In step 6 of the submission, you will be asked to upload your manuscript files in the following way:

  1. Cover part of the manuscript with all personal information (doc, docx, rtf or odt)

This part is for the handling Subject Editor only and will not be sent to the reviewers. It should contain the following parts: collection (if any), manuscript type, title, author names and affiliations, indication of corresponding author, data availability statement, author contributions, acknowledgements, e-mails and ORCIDs.

  1. Manuscript file for review (doc, docx, rtf or odt) 

This is the anonymised main part of the manuscript, with all figures and tables embedded, in pdf format. It must not include any personal information. The total file size must be no larger than 80 MB.

  1. Additional files for production (optional)

High-resolution figures must be submitted during the same submission process as the manuscript file (Step 6) in one of the following image file formats: EPS, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, not larger than 20 MB each).
In step 7 of the submission, you will be asked to confirm the automatically created pdf file for review.
In step 8 of the submission, you will be asked to upload the Supplementary material.
Supplementary files should have their own legends. However, no authors' names must be given at this stage in any of the files because reviewers will have access to them. (Note that the system requires you to enter the authors of the files in separate fields. This information is not visible to the reviewers.)

Submissions that do not meet these formal requirements will be returned without review.

Should you have any technical problems in submitting a manuscript to this journal, please contact the Editorial Office at journals@pensoft.net.


Submitting the Final Version after Acceptance

Once your manuscript has been accepted by the Subject Editor, you will be asked to prepare a clean version of your manuscript for typesetting. Please remove all track-changes and line numbering. At this stage, you are not allowed to include any further modifications unless explicitly agreed with the Subject Editor. The clean version should consist of:

  1. Manuscript text file in which you merged the cover part and the main part (that have been separate during the double-blind peer review) in a single document in which the elements are in the sequence in which they appear in the published issue:

Collection (if any)
Article type
Title
Running head
Author names
Affiliations
Corresponding author
Abstract
Taxonomic reference(s) (if any)
Syntaxonomic reference(s) (if any)
Abbreviations
Keywords

MAIN TEXT

Data availability

Author contributions
Acknowledgements

References
E-mail and ORCID
Supplementary material (numbered list of titles and file type)

  1. Each figure for the main body of the article as separate file in the recommended format and resolution.
  2. Each item for the Supplementary material as a separate file in the final format it should be published (note that Supplementary material will not undergo typesetting).

Each Supplementary material needs to start with a cross-reference to the article and a legend, which can expand the short legend given at the end of the main article, e.g.

Supplementary material to the paper Smith WR et al. Assembly rules in a tropical rain forest of central Amazonia. Vegetation Classification and Survey.

Supplementary material 1. A list of palm species recorded in the study area. 


Article Processing Charges

Publication in VCS is subject to Article Processing Charges (APCs). For IAVS members, manuscripts submitted in 2020 and 2021 will be published free of charge after acceptance (information on membership: http://iavs.org/Membership/Member-Benefits.aspx). Please consult the table below for further details. If you have questions, please contact the Editor-in Chief (vcs@pensoft.net).

Article size

Article Processing Charges

1 – 2 published pages150 €
3 – 6 published pages300 €
7 – 10 published pages450 €
11 – 20 published pages600 €
21 – 40 published pages750 €
> 40 published pages900 €

    NOTE-1: The above prices do not include VAT (Value Added Tax). VAT is applicable only for VAT NON-registered customers based within the European Union.

    NOTE-2: Discounts are based on the status of the first (primary) author (not necessarily the corresponding author).

    NOTE-3: The base APCs are derived from the date of submission of the manuscript, while the discount is calculated from the number of pages in the first proof. 

    Discounts on the APCs 

     

    IAVS Member1 (2020 and 2021)

    IAVS Member1 or Editorial Board Member

    Chief, Associate or Linguistic  Editor

    Financial Hardship2
    Country Group 24

    Extreme Financial Hardship3
    Country Group 35

    Article size-100%-10%-20%-40%-80%
    1 – 2 published pages0 €135 €120 €90 €30 €
    3 – 6 published pages0 €270 €240 €180 €60 €
    7 – 10 published pages0 €405 €360 €270 €90 €
    11 – 20 published pages0 €540 €480 €360 €120 €
    21 – 40 published pages0 €675 €600 €450 €150 €
    > 40 published pages0 €810 €720 €540 €180 €

    1 International Association for Vegetation Science (information on membership: http://iavs.org/Membership/Member-Benefits.aspx). 

    2 Defined as an annual income of less than 50% of the per capita income for the group 1 country of residence

    3 The author would need to contact the editor and provide evidence of extreme financial hardship

    4 Countries with a per capita income between US$10,000 and US$24,999 (see Ranking of Countries by GDP)

    5 Countries with a per capita income less than US$10,000 (see Ranking of Countries by GDP)


    Core services included in the APC

    • Online submission and editorial management system, professional peer review and editorial assistance.
    • Personal attitude, technical support and fast reply to any inquiry coming from authors, editors or reviewers.
    • Automated email notification and alert system to save you time from tracking the progress of your manuscript.
    • Automated registration of peer reviews at Publons.
    • Copy-editing, technical editing, typesetting and proofreading services.
    • Publication in 3 digital formats: semantically enhanced HTML, PDF and machine-readable JATS XML.
    • Rapid publication process, normally within 1-2 weeks time after a manuscript is accepted for publication.
    • Print-on-demand, full-color (no extra-charges for color), high-resolution hardcopy of reprints or whole issues.
    • Advanced data publishing workflows. 
    • Semantic Web enhancements to the article text. 
    • Markup and visualization of all biological taxon names and taxon treatments in your work, if present.
    • Immediate free access to the article on the day of publication.
    • Copyright retained by the authors, articles distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license.
    • Active dissemination and promotion through social bookmarking tools and social media.
    • Automated email acknowledgements to editors and reviewers upon publication.
    • Automated alert service through email and RSS on the day of publication. 
    • Registration of all new taxa in ZooBank, IPNI, MycoBank or Index Fungorum (where relevant).
    • Export and display of taxon treatments to Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), Plazi, Species-ID, Globalnames, and other aggregators (where relevant).
    • Immediate distribution of your publication to scientific databases, indices and search engines (Web of Science, Scopus, Google Scholar, CAB Abstracts, DOAJ Content and several others, where relevant).
    • Archiving in international repositories (CLOCKSS, Zenodo, Portico, PubMedCentral, where relevant).
    • Bibliography search and discovery tool. 
    • Citation export in various formats.
    • Cited-by records statistics and display.
    • Article- and sub-article-level metrics (Altmetric, Dimensions, number of downloads separately for the PDF, XML and HTML, usage stats for figures, tables and supplementary files).

    Science Communication


    Science Communication via IAVS

    Since VCS is a journal of the International Association for Vegetation Science (IAVS), authors will be invited at the point of acceptance to promote their paper via the IAVS journal blog (https://vegsciblog.org/). This attractive service to promote the visibility of an article is free of charge, and all authors are encouraged to take advantage of it. Additionally, they can partner with Pensoft for further promotional activities (see below), but need to be aware that some of the Pensoft services will come with a fee.


    Science Communication via Pensoft

    Our journal and the PR team at Pensoft invites authors to contribute to the communication and promotion of their published research, thereby increasing the visibility, outreach and impact of their work. 

    Authors are welcome to notify us whenever their institution is working on a promotional campaign about their work published in our journal. We are always happy to reshare and/or repost (where appropriate). 

    You can contact our PR team at dissemination@pensoft.net to discuss the communication and promotion of your research.


    Tailored PR Campaign

    (Paid service*)

    We encourage authors, who feel that their work is of particular interest to the wider audience, to email us with a press release draft** (see template and guidelines), outlining the key findings from the study and their public impact. Then, the PR team will work with them to finalise the announcement that will be:

    • Issued on the global science news service Eurekalert! (past examples)
    • Sent out to our media contacts from the world’s top-tier news outlets
    • Posted on ARPHA’s or Pensoft’s blog
    • Shared on social media via suitable ARPHA-managed accounts

    Following the distribution of the press announcement, our team will be tracking the publicity across news media, blogs and social networks, in order to report back to the author(s), and reshare any prominent media content.

    Visit the Media Center section in the About menu to find past examples of published press releases promoting studies published in our journal, as well as the follow-up publicity from around the world.

    Request our Tailored PR campaign service by selecting it while completing your submission form and you will be contacted once your manuscript is accepted for publication. Alternatively, contact our PR team  (dissemination@pensoft.net), preferably upon the acceptance of your manuscript.

    * The Tailored PR campaign is an extra service charged at EUR 150. However, we would consider discounts and even full waivers for studies of particular interest for the society.

    ** Please note that our PR team reserves the right to edit your press release at their discretion. No press announcements will be issued until we receive the author’s final approval to do so. The service is only available for studies published within the past 3 months.


    Guest Blog Post

    (Free service)

    Authors are strongly encouraged to promote their work and its impact on society to the audience beyond their immediate public of fellow scientists by means of storytelling in plain language. Ideally, such guest blog posts will be:

    • Written from the author’s own point of view, using conversational tone;
    • Written in fluent English;
    • Presenting some curious background information, in order to place the discovery in context;
    • Including attractive non-copyright imagery.

    Request our Guest blog post service by contacting the PR department (dissemination@pensoft.net), regardless of the status of your submission, as there are no time constraints for guest blog post publication. Particularly encouraged are follow-up contributions telling the story of, for example, a research paper that has led to an important policy to be set in place; or an article that has met remarkable attention or reactions in the public sphere.

    Following the necessary final touches to the guest blog post by the PR team, the contribution will be:

    • Posted on ARPHA’s or Pensoft’s blog
    • Shared on social media via multiple and relevant ARPHA-managed accounts

    Please note that the PR team reserves the right to refuse publication of a guest blog post on the occasion that it is provided in poor English, uses considerable amount of jargon or does not abide by basic ethical standards. Our PR team reserves the right to request changes to the text related to formatting or language. No blog posts will be issued until we receive the author’s final approval to do so.

    Find past guest blog posts on Pensoft’s blog here


    Video Podcasts

    (Free service)

    To efficiently increase the outreach of their research, authors are suggested to prepare a video contribution (i.e. elevator video pitch, video abstract or topical video), where they present their work to an audience beyond their immediate public of fellow scientists by means of visual storytelling.

    To do so, they are expected to send us a short (up to 02’00’’) video clip, presenting their study in a nutshell, in order to spark the viewer’s further interest in their findings and work, as well as the research topic as a whole. Ideally, such contribution will be:

    • filmed in high quality, preferably with .mp4 file extension with the H.264 video codec;
    • directed from the author’s own point of view, using conversational tone and minimal jargon;
    • presented in fluent English or featuring English subtitles;
    • accompanied by a transcript in English;
    • accompanied by a short text introduction for the purposes of a blog post.

    Request our Guest video contribution service by contacting the PR department (dissemination@pensoft.net), regardless of the status of your submission, since there are no time constraints for guest blog post publication.

    Following the necessary final touches to the guest blog post, the contribution will be:

    • Shared on Pensoft’s YouTube channel;
    • Posted on ARPHA’s or Pensoft’s blog;
    • Shared on social media via multiple and relevant ARPHA-managed accounts. 

    Please note that the PR team reserves the right to refuse distribution of a guest contribution on the occasion that it is provided in poor English, uses considerable amount of jargon or does not abide by basic ethical standards.


    Custom Social Media Content

    (Free service)

    To help increase the visibility and outreach of their research, authors are welcome to suggest custom social media content to be distributed via suitable Pensoft- and ARPHA-managed social media accounts.

    Social media posts are expected to:

    • Be limited to two short sentences or 280 characters (including links);
    • Be written in a conversational tone;
    • Contain minimal jargon;
    • Include the DOI link of the article;
    • Not duplicate the title or abstract of the article;
    • Include attractive non-copyright imagery;
    • Possibly include up to 10 social media accounts, e.g. co-authors (Twitter only), affiliations, funding bodies etc. relevant to the study.

    Request our Custom social media content service by contacting our PR department (dissemination@pensoft.net).

    Please note that our PR team reserves the right to edit your text at their discretion.


    Media Center

    Find Vegetation Classification and Survey (VCS) on Twitter and Facebook.

    Find guest blog posts, written by authors in VCS and its sister journals by the International Association for Vegetation Science on the IAVS blog and blog posts about VCS on Pensoft's blog.

    Find past press releases for Vegetation Classification and Survey on Eurekalert!

    Boost the reach of your paper(s) to a larger audience by making the most of Pensoft's science communication services.

    Download journal promotional leaflet.

    Download journal logo.


    Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement

    General

    The publishing ethics and malpractice policies follow the IAVS Code of Professional Ethics, Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing (joint statement by COPE, DOAJ, WAME, and OASPA), the NISO Recommended Practices for the Presentation and Identification of E-Journals (PIE-J), and, where relevant, the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals from ICMJE.

    Privacy statement

    The personal information used on this website is to be used exclusively for the stated purposes of VCS. It will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party. 

    Open access

    Pensoft and ARPHA-hosted journals adhere to gold open access to accelerate the barrier-free dissemination of scientific knowledge. All published articles are made freely available to read, download, and distribute immediately upon publication, given that the original source and authors are cited (Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0)).

    Open data publishing and sharing

    Pensoft and ARPHA encourage open data publication and sharing, in accordance with Panton’s Principles and FAIR Data Principles. For the domain of biodiversity-related publications Pensoft has specially developed extended Data Publishing Policies and Guidelines for Biodiversity Data. Specific data publishing guidelines are available on the journal website. 

    Data can be published in various ways, such as preservation in data repositories linked to the respective article or as data files or packages supplementary to the article. Datasets should be deposited in an appropriate, trusted repository and the associated identifier (URL or DOI) of the dataset(s) should be included in the data resources section of the article. Reference(s) to datasets should also be included in the reference list of the article with DOIs (where available). Where no discipline-specific data repository exists authors should deposit their datasets in a general repository such as Zenodo or others. 

    Submission, peer review and editorial process

    The peer review and editorial processes are facilitated through an online editorial system and a set of e-mail notifications.

    General: Publication and authorship

    • All submitted manuscripts, with the exception of Editorials and certain Report-style papers, are subject to a rigorous peer review process by at least two reviewers who are experts in the scientific field of the particular paper. 
    • The factors that are taken into account in review are relevance, soundness, significance, originality, readability and language. 
    • The ultimate responsibility for editorial decisions lies with the respective Subject Editor. All appeals should be directed to the acting chair of the Chief Editors (Receiving Editor), who may decide to seek advice among the Chief Editors and further members of the Editorial Team.
    • The possible decisions include: (1) Accept, (2) Minor revisions, (2) Major revisions, (3) Reject, but re-submission encouraged and (5) Reject. 
    • If authors are encouraged to revise and re-submit a submission, there is no guarantee that the revised submission will be accepted. 
    • The paper acceptance is constrained by such legal requirements as shall then be in force regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism. 

    Responsibility of Authors

    • Authors are required to agree that their paper will be published in open access under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0) license.
    • Authors must certify that their manuscripts are their own work. 
    • Authors must certify that the manuscript has not previously been published elsewhere. 
    • Authors must certify that the manuscript is not currently being considered for publication elsewhere. 
    • Authors should submit the manuscript in linguistically and grammatically correct English and formatted in accordance with VCS’s Author Guidelines.
    • Authors must participate in the peer review process. 
    • Authors are obliged to provide retractions or corrections of mistakes. 
    • All authors mentioned must have substantially contributed to the research. Their individual contribution must be specified in the Author Contribution statement, which will be published as part of the paper.
    • Authorship may legitimately be claimed if researchers:
      • i. conceived the ideas or questions addressed by the paper;
      • ii. designed sampling or experiments that generated new data reported;
      • iii. collected data or conducted experiments specifically in support of the paper;
      • iv. contributed to new analyses or interpretation of data, or to development of new models or simulations;
      • v. developed new analyses or meta-analyses of data drawn from peer-reviewed publications (such reanalysis or meta-analysis may not require authorship of original authors of data-sets); or
      • vi. wrote the manuscript.
    • Submission of manuscripts emerging from groups of authors should include documentation that all participants have agreed on authorship.
    • Researchers submitting a manuscript for publication will not include as a co-author any individual who has not agreed to the content of the final version of the manuscript if practicable; co-authors should be dropped only if they specifically request removal from the manuscript or after lead authors have attempted unsuccessfully to contact them for approval of the manuscript.
    • Authors must notify the Editors of any conflicts of interest. 
    • Authors must identify all sources used in the creation of their manuscript. 
    • Authors must report any errors they discover in their published paper to the Editors.
    • Authors should acknowledge all significant financial support of the research pertaining to their article and list all relevant competing interests.   
    • Any type of non-financial support for publications should also be clearly identified in the Acknowledgements (e.g. provision of materials and information, language editing or editorial assistance).
    • The Corresponding author should provide the declaration of any conflicts of interest on behalf of all Authors. Conflicts of interest may be associated with employment, sources of funding, personal financial interests, membership of relevant organisations or others.

    Responsibility of Editors

    • The Editors of VCS carry the main responsibility for the scientific quality of the published papers and base their decisions solely on the papers'  relevance, soundness, significance, originality, readability and language and the match with  the scope of the journal.
    • New submissions are initially screened by the Receiving Editor for fit to the scope of VCS and the adherence to its Author Guidelines. Manuscripts that substantially fail on any of the two aspects can be directly rejected without peer review. All other manuscripts are assigned to Subject Editors for further handling.
    • The Subject Editor selects the reviewers and steers the manuscript through the peer review process. From the second round of peer review onwards it is upon the discretion of the Subject Editor whether and how many external Reviewers to involve. After every round of peer review, he or she makes a decision based on the received reviews and his/her own thorough reading of the manuscript. Subject Editors are not bound in their decisions to the Reviewers’ recommendations, but only to the quality criteria of VCS.
    • The Subject Editor takes the final decision on a manuscript’s acceptance or rejection, and his/her name is listed as "Academic Editor" in the header of each article.
    • The Subject Editors are not expected to provide a thorough linguistic editing or copyediting of a manuscript, but to focus on its scientific quality, as well as the overall style, which should correspond to the good practices in clear and concise academic writing. 
    • Editors should guarantee the quality of the papers and the integrity of the academic record. 
    • Editors should ensure that all research material they publish conforms to internationally accepted ethical guidelines. 
    • Editors should act if they suspect misconduct and make all reasonable attempts to obtain a resolution to the problem. 
    • Editors should be aware of potential conflicts of interest between Authors and Reviewers.
    • VCS uses a double-blind peer review system, i.e. the identity of Authors and Reviewers is known only to the Editors and should not be disclosed reciprocally.
    • VCS offers to manuscripts of non-native speakers the free service of its Linguistic Editors to improve the linguistic correctness and style of their paper after acceptance. Since the service of the Linguistic Editors is free of charge, neither they nor VCS do not bear any liability for the correctness of their edits.

    Responsibility of Reviewers

    • It is the obligation of the Reviewers to complete their reviews within the given time frame, and to inform the Subject Editor if this exeptionally is not possible.
    • Reviewers are not expected to provide a thorough linguistic editing or copyediting of a manuscript, but to focus on its scientific quality, as well as for the overall style, which should correspond to the good practices in clear and concise academic writing. If Reviewers recognize that a manuscript requires linguistic edits, they should inform both Authors and Editor in the report.
    • Reviewers are asked to check whether the manuscript is scientifically sound and coherent, how interesting it is and whether the quality of the writing is acceptable.
    • In cases of strong disagreement between the reviews or between the Authors and Reviewers, the Subject Editor can seek advice from an additional Reviewer, but he or she always makes the decision at his/her own discretion.
    • During a second review round, the Reviewer will be asked by the Subject Editor to evaluate the revised version of the manuscript with regards to Reviewer’s recommendations submitted during the first review round.
    • Reviewers are asked to be polite and constructive in their reports. Reports that may be insulting or uninformative will be rescinded.
    • Reviewers are asked to start their report with a very brief summary of the reviewed paper. This will help the Editors and Authors see whether the reviewer correctly understood the paper or whether a report might be based on misunderstanding.
    • Further, Reviewers are asked to comment on originality, structure and previous research: (1) Is the paper sufficiently novel and does it contribute to a better understanding of the topic under scrutiny? Is the work rather confirmatory and repetitive? (2) Is the Introduction clear and concise? Does it place the work into the context that is necessary for a reader to comprehend the aims, hypotheses tested, experimental design or methods? Are the Methods clearly described and sufficiently explained? Are reasons given when choosing one method over another one from a set of comparable methods? Are the results clearly but concisely described? Do they relate to the topic outlined in the introduction? Do they follow a logical sequence? Does the discussion place the paper in scientific context and go a step beyond the current scientific knowledge on the basis of the results? Are competing hypotheses or theories reasonably related to each other and properly discussed? Are the conclusions reasonable? Is previous research adequately incorporated into the paper? Are references complete, necessary and accurate? Is there any sign that substantial parts of the paper were copies of other works?
    • Reviewers should keep all information regarding papers confidential and treat them as privileged information. 
    • Reviewers should express their views clearly with supporting arguments. 
    • Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors.
    • Reviewers should also call to the Editors’ attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.

    Informed consent

    Individual participants in studies have the right to decide what happens to the identifiable personal data gathered, to what they have said during a study or an interview, as well as to any photograph that was taken. Hence it is important that all participants gave their informed consent in writing prior to inclusion in the study. Identifying details (names, dates of birth, identity numbers and other information) of the participants that were studied should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and genetic profiles unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the participant (or parent or guardian if the participant is incapable) gave written informed consent for publication. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve in some cases, and informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic profiles, authors should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning.

    The following statement should be included in the article text in one of the following ways:

    • "Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study."
    • "Informed consent was obtained from all individuals for whom identifying information is included in this article." (In case some patients’ data have been published in the article or supplementary materials to it).

    Gender Issues

    We encourage the use of gender-neutral language, such as 'chairperson' instead of 'chairman' or 'chairwomen', as well as 'they' instead of 'she/he' and 'their' instead of  'him/her' (or consider restructuring the sentence).

    Conflict of interest

    During the editorial process, the following relationships between Editors, Authors and Reviewers are considered potential conflicts of interest: Current or recent colleagues at the same institution, close collaborators, doctoral students for which the editor served as committee chair and vice versa, as well as family members. The Receiving Editor will assign a Subject Editor who is, as far as possible, free of such conflicts of interests, and the Subject Editor will invite Reviewers who are to the best of his/her knowledge free of such conflicts.

    Appeals and open debate

    We encourage academic debate and constructive criticism. Authors are always invited to respond to any editorial correspondence before publication. Authors are not allowed to neglect unfavorable comments about their work and choose not to respond to criticisms. 

    No Reviewer’s comment or published correspondence may contain a personal attack on any of the Authors. Criticism of the work is encouraged. Editors should edit (or reject) personal or offensive statements.

    Authors should submit their appeal on editorial decisions to the Chief Editors.

    VCS encourages publication of open opinions, forum papers, corrigenda, critical comments on a published paper and Author’s response to criticism – provided they meet the quality criteria of the journal.

    Misconduct

    Research misconduct may include: (a) manipulating research materials, equipment or processes; (b) changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the article; c) plagiarism. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion. If misconduct is suspected, journal Editors will act in accordance with the relevant COPE guidelines.

    Plagiarism and duplicate publication policy
    A special case of misconduct is plagiarism, which is the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results or words without giving appropriate credit. Plagiarism is considered theft of intellectual property and manuscripts submitted to VCS that contain substantial unattributed textual copying from other papers (including those of the same authors) will be immediately rejected.
    Instances, when authors re-use large parts of their publications without providing a clear reference to the original source, are considered duplication of work. Slightly changed published works submitted in multiple journals is not acceptable practice either. In cases of plagiarism in an already published paper or duplicate publication, an announcement will be made on the journal publication page and a procedure of retraction will be triggered.

    Responses to possible misconduct

    All allegations of misconduct must be referred to the Chief Editors. Upon the thorough examination, the Chief Editors should conclude if the case concerns a possibility of misconduct. All allegations should be kept confidential and references to the matter in writing should be kept anonymous, whenever possible.

    Should a comment on potential misconduct be submitted by the Reviewers or Editors, an explanation will be sought from the Authors. If it is satisfactory, and the issue is the result of either a mistake or misunderstanding, the matter can be easily resolved. If not, the manuscript will be rejected or retracted and the Editors may impose a ban on that individual's publication in VCS for a certain period of time. In cases of published plagiarism or dual publication, an announcement will be made in VCS explaining the situation.

    When allegations concern authors, the peer review and publication process for their submission will be halted until completion of the aforementioned process. The investigation will be carried out even if the authors withdraw the manuscript, and implementation of the responses below will be considered.

    When allegations concern reviewers or editors, they will be replaced in the review process during the ongoing investigation of the matter. Editors or reviewers who are found to have engaged in scientific misconduct should be removed from further association with the journal, and this fact reported to their institution.

    Retraction policies

    Article retraction

    According to the COPE Retraction Guidelines followed by VCS, an article can be retracted because of the following reasons:

    • Unreliable findings based on clear evidence of a misconduct (e.g. fraudulent use of the data) or honest error (e.g. miscalculation or experimental error).
    • Redundant publication, e.g., findings that have previously been published elsewhere without proper cross-referencing, permission or justification.
    • Plagiarism or other kind of unethical research.

    Retraction procedure

    • Retraction should happen after a careful consideration by the VCS Editors of allegations coming from the editors, authors, or readers.
    • The HTML version of the retracted article is removed (except for the article metadata) and on its place a retraction note is issued.
    • The PDF of the retracted article is left on the website but clearly watermarked with the note "Retracted" on each page.
    • In some rare cases (e.g., for legal reasons or health risk) the retracted article can be replaced with a new corrected version containing apparent link to the retracted original version and a retraction note with a history of the document.

    Expression of concern

    In other cases, the VCS Editors should consider issuing an expression of concern, if evidence is available for:

    • Inconclusive evidence of research or publication misconduct by the authors.
    • A belief that an investigation into alleged misconduct related to the publication either has not been, or would not be, fair and impartial or conclusive.
    • An investigation is underway but a judgement will not be available for a considerable time.

    Errata and Corrigenda

    Pensoft journals largely follow the ICMJE guidelines for corrections and errata.

    Errata

    Admissible and insignificant errors in a published article that do not affect the article content or scientific integrity (e.g. typographic errors, broken links, wrong page numbers in the article headers etc.) can be corrected through publishing of an erratum. This happens through replacing the original PDF with the corrected one together with a correction notice on the Erratum Tab of the HTML version of the paper, detailing the errors and the changes implemented in the original PDF. The original PDF will be marked with a correction note and an indication to the corrected version of the article. The original PDF will also be archived and made accessible via a link in the same Erratum Tab.

    Authors are also encouraged to post comments and indicate typographical errors on their articles to the Comments tab of the HTML version of the article.

    Corrigenda

    Corrigenda should be published in cases when significant errors are discovered in a published article. Usually, such errors affect the scientific integrity of the paper and could vary in scale. Reasons for publishing corrigenda may include changes in authorship, unintentional mistakes in published research findings and protocols, errors in labelling of tables and figures or others. In taxonomic journals, corrigenda are often needed in cases where the errors affect nomenclatural acts. Corrigenda are published as a separate publication and bear their own DOI. Examples of published corrigenda are available here.

    The decision for issuing errata or corrigenda is with the editors after discussion with the authors.


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