Instructions for extended abstract submission to BISS

Complete instructions for submitting an extended abstract in Biodiversity Information Science and Standards for SPNHC-TDWG 2024.

Image by Dave Hoefler

Last updated 6 June 2024

Getting started

Register for SPNHC-TDWG 2024

Registration is now open for the conference and all presenters must be registered before their abstract will be published. Early bird rates for in-person attendance expire 8 July 2024.


Extended abstracts may be submitted for any accepted oral presentation (including lightning talk) or poster—they are encouraged but not a requirement for presentation. Abstracts will be published in TDWG’s journal, Biodiversity Information Science and Standards (BISS) (see more). Abstract publication is a benefit of your conference registration. Acceptance of an abstract in the Oxford Abstracts (OA) conference platform does not guarantee acceptance of publication of an extended abstract.

The deadline for submission of extended abstracts is 15 July.

Abstracts should be written in English for a general audience, providing context for your presentation and avoiding unexplained jargon. Your abstract may include references, figures, tables, even supplemental material. See abstracts from past conferences for examples. Abstract submissions are limited to no more than 6,000 characters (including spaces of all document content; only supplemental materials are excluded from this count).

Process overview

You will be writing your abstract in Pensoft’s online publishing platform, ARPHA writing tool. ARPHA allows you and your co-authors to collaborate through the creation and revision process of your draft. Outside contributors (not listed as authors), such as linguistic editors, may be given access to your abstract (see “need help” below).

After submitting your abstract for review, your abstract will be subsequently edited and peer reviewed by session organizers and volunteers from the Program Committee. The review process is designed to not only enhance the accessibility of your content by the general reader, but also to help improve your presentation.

Abstracts will be published with Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) after necessary registration fees have been paid and the abstract has been finalized and submitted to the journal by the submitting author. The submitting author does not have to be the same person who submitted program abstracts in Oxford Abstracts, but should be an author who is available to respond to reviews and implement changes required for publication.


Email communications within ARPHA are limited. Only the submitting author will receive notifications from the editors. Messages sent within ARPHA to editors go through Pensoft first.

Email interactions (especially in July and August) of the abstract submitter with editors may be necessary before abstracts are accepted for publication. Be sure to train your email system to recognize and permit emails from

Communicate with the journal’s help desk (in ARPHA) to resolve technical issues or with or for content/meeting-related questions.

To start a NEW abstract

Begin on the BISS homepage

As the person submitting the abstract, you should register or log in to You will need to acknowledge Terms of Use if you are new to the system. If you do not receive the system notification containing your account confirmation link, please contact Pensoft’s team at for assistance.

Click button for NEW abstract

After logging in, the button Start SPNHC-TDWG 2024 Conference Abstract should be visible on the BISS homepage. Clicking this button takes you to the ARPHA writing tool and creates a new Untitled abstract with some of the author metadata you used to create your account. This is the easiest way to start a NEW abstract.

While you can now leave your abstract draft here (it will have been assigned an ARPHA identifier, with you as submitter), you are encouraged to start filling out its required fields. Later, when you return to work on your abstract, follow access instructions here.

Look for an email verification of the creation of your draft abstract in ARPHA (from awt[at]pensoft[dot]net).

Do not create more than one draft for an abstract that you intend to submit. To make it easier to see your drafts, Pensoft has added a My drafts button (only appears if you have existing drafts) on your BISS dashboard, next to My tasks and Submit manuscript buttons when you sign in through BISS.

To return to an EXISTING abstract

Log in to ARPHA directly from Choose title from My recent manuscripts OR choose View dashboard button to see all manuscripts on which you are listed as an author, their status, and revision history.

Required fields

Fields with required data include Title, Author, Abstract, Keywords, Presenting Author, Presented At, Conflicts of interest, and Collection.

Access all but Collection from the list at the left by hovering over a category, and then clicking on the pencil icon and filling in requested information.

Regarding the Conflicts of interest, you will be asked to specify if your abstract is (co-)authored by an editor in BISS. Select No unless Gail Kampmeier or Elycia Wallis are co-authors on your abstract.

Collection (Session)

Each Collection (in ARPHA) represents an organized session accepted for SPNHC-TDWG 2024, including posters, lightning talks, and contributed oral presentations. Please select the session to which you submitted your abstract in Oxford Abstracts unless you have been notified that your abstract was moved to a different session. If your session does not appear in the list, choose CTRB02.

Click Collections on the top navigation bar of your manuscript (top right of figure below) for a drop-down list of sessions. Choose the appropriate collection for your abstract. Designating a Collection is critical, as your abstract cannot be directed to the proper editors without this assignment. Note that both authors and editors have the ability to designate a collection.

Collections Banner Icon


Use title case. Verify with Title Case Converter (select MLA for title style). Italicize scientific names.


Submitting author

The submitting author is the person who will ultimately be responsible and available to submit your abstract for review to the journal and who will finalize the abstract once approved for publication. ARPHA automatically assumes this to be the person first logging in and starting the abstract and that person’s name is assumed to be first author. The author order can be changed, and the initial submitting author may be able to grant this role to another co-author. For help in changing the submitting author, please email and reference the ARPHA number in your email.

Automated notifications from ARPHA or BISS about abstracts are sent only to submitting authors, although co-authors will see and be able to make changes to abstracts when they appear in Draft status in their ARPHA dashboard. Only the submitting author will see a button to submit a revised version of the abstract back to ARPHA.

It is the responsibility of the submitting author to make sure that all co-authors are aware of and agree with the information presented, that their contact information is correct, consistent (i.e., all authors from the same institution appear under the same superscript) and in the proper order in the chain of co-authors.


To add co-authors hover over Authors in the left-side navigation panel and use the pencil icon to edit these fields. Be sure to add affiliations for all authors.

When adding co-authors, please specify what rights each will have to comment only or to edit and comment. Note that it is the submitting author’s responsibility to notify all authors of this submission and their rights with regard to commenting or editing.

Corresponding author

Designate one author as the corresponding author (the person to whom correspondence should be addressed after publication). May be any author or more than one author.

Presenting author

The presenting author (added outside of the Authors metadata panel, after Keywords) is the person who will be delivering the presentation at the conference (this should be consistent with the person listed as presenter on the conference platform). Type in the name of the presenter in the same way they are listed as an author. Do not add affiliations or honorifics. If there are multiple presenters, separate the names with a comma.

The presenting author will be responsible for a live, recorded, or poster presentation and must be fully registered for the conference by the time the abstract is approved for publication.

Presented at

Make sure this is filled in with SPNHC-TDWG 2024 (no more, no less).



Please write your abstract in English for a general audience, providing context for your presentation and avoiding unexplained jargon. This abstract is an expanded version of what has been submitted and accepted for presentation at SPNHC-TDWG 2024.

Be sure to provide references for TDWG or other standards used in your work (e.g., Darwin Core Standard).

Character limit

Abstract submissions are limited to 6,000 characters (including spaces, title, authors and affiliations, keywords, references, etc. but not Supplementary Materials). The Validate button will let you know this number.

Acronyms and abbreviations

The first mention of acronyms or abbreviations (including institutional/organizational acronyms and country abbreviations) in the abstract or figure/table legends must be spelled out (exceptions: 3D, AI, API, DNA, RNA, GIS, HTML, WWW, URL, URI, XML, RDF, JPG, TIF, TIFF, PDF).

Do not show URLs as part of the abstract text (e.g., in parentheses).

Use embedded hyperlinks in text to supply helpful (e.g., links to institutional webpages, jargon or expanded acronyms), but not critical or unique to understanding your abstract. These links will not appear in the printed version of your abstract, so use of them can be considered value-added for those with an electronic version.

However, when it is essential to the appreciation of your content (e.g., resources specific to your work) that links are visible in any format, add and cite endnotes. These may appear as references to URLs that are spelled out at the end of the document.

Be mindful of persistence (not having future users find broken links) and irrelevant advertising if referencing commercial sites.

Editorial help

Need help with linguistics or other opinions about your abstract by non-authors? You may invite contributors to Edit & comment or Comment only within the manuscript. You may also email for help. Please note that seeking confirmation from a fluent English-speaker is especially recommended if you have used AI to compose your abstract or translation tools to make automatic translations.


List words that readers might use in a search to find your content, but do not add words already found in the title of your abstract.

Separate each keyword with a comma (not a semicolon) and space.

Only capitalize proper nouns; do not capitalize the first keyword unnecessarily.

References, figures, supplementary materials

You may add references, figures, tables and upload supplementary materials associated with the abstract. None of these are required. Create these resources first from the end of the left menu, before linking them to the appropriate text in your abstract.

Any figures, images, or media used in abstracts or presentations must be credited with their copyright status, even if they are your own. See TDWG’s Terms of Use.


Use the optional fields Funder, Funding program, Grant title, Hosting institution to acknowledge supporters or institutions that you wish to thank or acknowledge for their contribution to the underlying research or support of your abstract. Be sure to solicit any additional acknowledgements from your co-authors. Keep in mind that the version you submit to the journal will be published as is and the workflow does NOT include an exchange of proofs with those acknowledged.

Aside from the specific fields above for acknowledging supporters, institutions, or grants, there is a general Acknowledgements field for recognizing the use of AI generative tools or translation software in the creation of the abstract and to show appreciation for the help of people who were not co-authors.

Submit for technical review

Please proofread your submission carefully:

  • Double check spelling
  • Make sure that all acronyms and abbreviations have been expanded at first use
  • References to published work are properly added and cited
  • Credit all images with licensing information (see Terms of Use)
  • Keywords not appearing in the title are listed
  • The presenter’s name appears the same as a listed author and in the conference platform
  • The Presented at field is filled in with SPNHC-TDWG 2024
  • Verify that all authors agree with content provided.

Click the Validate button to check that you have no outstanding omissions (ensures that mandatory fields are filled in, you have not exceeded the character limit, and the abstract is assigned to a collection) or errors flagged by the system (unresolved track changes or comments).

The submitting author should see the Submit for Technical Review button (below the Validate button). Clicking this button sends your abstract to the editors for consideration as part of SPNHC-TDWG 2024. This step must be completed by the deadline of 15 July.

You should receive an auto-generated confirmation email (be sure to find this in your mailbox).

On your ARPHA dashboard, the status of the manuscript will change to in pre-submission review and will be in read-only mode for authors.

While your abstract is in pre-submission review, you may see the work of various technical editors suggesting changes to be made, or making comments on your abstract but you will only be able to view, not edit your submission yet. Wait until you receive official notice that feedback has been requested—do not ask technical editors to make changes.

Feedback and revisions

The organizers (technical editors) may accept or reject your submission, or may send feedback requesting (more) revisions, and/or indicate that your abstract is being moved to a different collection or format (e.g., oral to poster) for programming reasons.

Draft (again): if a submission is returned to you for changes, its status will return to Draft. Only you and other authors with editing or commenting privileges will have access to the abstract until you make or respond to changes requested and send it back for technical review. Only the submitting author will receive email notification from

Editors may have used track changes to suggest wording/grammatical/orthographical changes made during the editing/review process. Accept or reject suggestions already in Track Changes and make changes to the text in response to comments provided by the editors. While you may justify not changing your text in a follow-up comment, all others should be resolved (click resolved box) and changes made to your text. If you have immediate editorial questions, please email and reference the ARPHA ID of your abstract in the subject line.

Once you have addressed (i.e., accepted or rejected) all of the Track Changes (the editing ribbon with next / previous buttons will disappear; see also issues) and resolved all closed comments (leave open comments without resolution or where you have provided a justification for not taking actions requested by the editors), please press the Validate button to make sure that all issues have been cleared up. If your manuscript does not validate (i.e., headings are pink and there is more than the number of characters listed), please try to resolve outstanding issues. Sometimes these issues are linked to the source for correcting them; sometimes not. If you are stumped, first try refreshing your browser window or closing it and going back in; if you still can’t find the issue, contact the journal help desk (using feedback icon in top banner) or email with the ARPHA# and screen capture or description of your issue.

Everything set? Hit the Submit for technical review button and it should show that it is in read-only mode. Refreshing the browser window of your dashboard, you should see that it is once again “in pre-submission review.”

Your manuscript may require more than one cycle of revision so please address communications promptly.

Finalize and submit to journal

Once the submitting author receives notification that their abstract has been approved, they must now go through the process to finalize and submit the abstract to the journal for publication.

Verify in ARPHA

  1. Verify that the author order and their respective affiliations are correct and you have added Acknowledgements where appropriate.
  2. Double check the name of the presenting author (should appear as it does in the author list) and do a final proofing of your abstract.
  3. Validate. Next, click the Validate button first to make sure there are no lingering issues. See Click on the blue text for each issue to resolve it. A successful validation will only show the number of characters in your abstract.
  4. Once approved, the Submit to the journal button should become visible (if you do not see this button, you may not be listed as the submitting author (see Authors) in the ARPHA Writing Tool. When you are ready to submit your abstract for publication, click the Submit to the journal button and then go through the (long) checklist of submission steps.

After hitting Submit to the journal

  1. The first step in the checklist regards the license and copyright of your abstract. The default is CC BY 4.0 with copyright attributed to the authors. However, if any author is a U.S. or Canadian government employee, you must specify CC-0. Any other issues should be referred to the journal’s help desk.
  2. Step 2 requires that you mark the box indicating “I am aware that my abstract will be published only after registering and payment of any fees for the SPNHC-TDWG 2024 conference”.
  3. The final step asks you to assign categories (taxon, geographic area, scientific subject, geological era) to your submission; complete this step if it is applicable, but be sure to click through to the end of the submission process.
  4. When the submission process is finalized, you should receive an email confirming the successful submission and the abstract goes directly to production for publication, a DOI (digital object identifier) is assigned, and the abstract cannot be revised further (without difficulty).
  5. At publication, you should receive a confirmation email from the journal.

Incomplete submission

If, after your manuscript has been approved, you fail to complete all of the steps in the previous section, you may see it tagged as Incomplete Submission in your ARPHA dashboard, even though a BISS ID has been assigned to it.

Because this now has a BISS identifier, you must access actions to complete the submission (or delete it) via the BISS dashboard not ARPHA’s.

Incomplete Submission

The deadline for finalizing your abstract for publication in the journal will be announced in July.

Seeking help

If, at any time, you need further technical assistance, check the Tips and tricks link or if you fail to find an answer to your question, click Feedback icon (on the top navigation bar to open a new window with an email form for you to fill in to the journal’s technical staff) OR for content/editorial questions, send an email to TDWG Editors including the ARPHA ID of your abstract in the subject line. Note that icons now use tooltips (mouse over) and do not otherwise include text explanations. For other questions about the conference, please email

How does the editing process work?

Your abstract will be edited and reviewed for content and suitability as well as style and language. Once authors submit an abstract, the editors are notified about it, and they gain access to it. Once they evaluate it, and leave notes for its improvement (if any), the volume editors will send feedback to the authors. At that point you—as the Submitting author—receive an automated notification from, with access in editing mode to the abstract. After you coordinate the modifications with your co-authors, you can resubmit. This cycle can be reiterated as many times as needed, until the abstract is accepted, and ready to be submitted to the journal (to be published as is). Please wait for the system notification. If, for some reason, your abstract is not accepted by the conference organizers under the collection (e.g., symposium) to which you submitted it, they will notify for help in moving it elsewhere, if possible.

Why does it think I still have track changes?

Lots of times it’s something small (e.g., a comma). Use the Next and Previous button in the Track Changes dialog to pinpoint what you may have missed. Sometimes though it’s a quirk of ARPHA (e.g., you added a reference while Track Changes was on and some of the text is green). Put your cursor in the middle of the text and then click Accept in the track changes menu. See Tips & Tricks for more help.

I see feedback and corrections to make in my abstract, but I don’t have access. Did I do something wrong?

Don’t worry–you did nothing wrong. Your abstract is still undergoing review (status should be in pre-submission review; see below to How do I know the status of my abstract) and should be sent back to you soon. If you have further questions or issues (e.g., you’re going to be out of touch soon for a period of time), email so they know to expedite providing feedback once reviews are completed.

Where do I enter the state or province under address as an author?

ARPHA does not currently track that information. If you feel it is necessary, add an ISO 3166-2 code for your country’s subdivision, separating it from the city name with a comma and space.

My abstract has been approved and it validates but why don’t I see a submit to the journal button?

You may not be the person who originally submitted the abstract (see submitting author. If the submitting author is unavailable, please contact the Pensoft team for help.

I use more than one email for my work. How do I choose one?

In the ARPHA editorial platform, you should use only one email account that you check regularly, will have persistence, and that you do not mind being public (the system displays it publicly to other users and in published papers). This way all tasks appointed to the user will be accumulated under a single account and you will not have to log in and out and access several dashboards for a single journal. The editorial platform allows users to have different roles within the same journal and also in other journals hosted by Pensoft. The system does not allow adding more than one email per account and is not set to enable sending a copy of the same notification to an alternative email of the same user. If you have been asked to merge two or more accounts into a single one, Pensoft will need to choose one of the emails as primary. This is also used to send alerts and newsletters of Pensoft journal content to which you may subscribe.

Regardless of email, if you are an author and need to credit a particular institution for the work you are presenting, modify your affiliation in the author metadata for each abstract or manuscript submitted.

How do I know the status of my abstract?

Sign into ARPHA. Your abstract(s) should be listed under the My Manuscripts tab (text will be gray) on your dashboard. On the right of each manuscript, you can see the status. Note that only one person can work on an abstract at a time (either as authors or editors). If you are not actively working on a manuscript, please close the window to give others a chance to contribute. Note: the dashboard may give misleading indications that someone is editing the manuscript. You can verify if this is true by clicking on the manuscript title.

  • Draft = authors have editing rights; editors see as read-only; authors must submit the abstract for review for the abstract to be released for editorial assessment.
  • In pre-submission review = authors see as read-only; technical editors are able to make changes to the abstract and add comments. Authors may see these updates but will not be able to make changes until volume editors release the abstract back to the authors using the Send Feedback button. Pressing the Send Feedback button returns the abstract to Draft mode so that authors may respond.
  • Once your abstract has been Approved, the submitting author will need to Submit to the journal and complete the final publication checklist (this consists of multiple screens; please be sure to follow it to the end). It then proceeds to Layout and is in a queue to be Published. The final deadline for submission to the journal will be determined. Make sure that the submitting author will be available until the process is complete.
  • If you fail to complete the final publication checklist, your abstract may be marked as Incomplete submission. You will get three automated warnings to remedy this before the system automatically buries/removes your submission from the publication queue.
  • Both authors and technical editors can send email (see icon near the top of the page) to co-authors and/or editors at any time during the pre-approval process; this does not change the status of the manuscript. If you use this step, please fully reference your manuscript ID, the issue(s) and the person(s) you think should be responding to the email. The system sends individual emails out so no one receiving them knows who else is being asked to address your question. If in doubt, email outside of the system instead.
  • For an abstract associated with SPNHC-TDWG 2024 to be published, the presenter must be fully registered (i.e., any assessed fee paid) for the conference.
  • Approved abstracts will be published once the placement of their presentation in the program is confirmed. Authors should receive notification of successful submission to the journal, pending publication.

What if I don’t see my abstract anywhere?

It is possible that you have more than one ARPHA account under different emails. You can resolve this by following these instructions.

Another possibility is that the ARPHA platform has automatically archived your abstract due to prolonged inactivity (does so after three ignored email warnings). You will need to notify Pensoft to retrieve such an abstract from this fate. Please make sure all communications include an article identifier (ID#) in the subject line. When it is returned, it will be in Draft mode and you will need to revise it and (re-)submit for technical review. Editors are not able to work on or accept a manuscript in Draft status.

Otherwise, communicate with the help desk (use the feedback icon located in the top banner of your abstract) to try to resolve technical issues or with or for conference-related questions.

What are the benefits of submitting an extended abstract?

See Why submit an extended abstract in BISS?.

Where will I find published abstracts?

See published abstract collections and select current year’s volume. Sign up for email notifications of newly published content from Biodiversity Information Science and Standards after signing in.