1 Focus and Scope
Silva Fennica publishes significant new knowledge on forest sciences. The scope covers research on forestry and forest ecosystems. Silva Fennica aims to increase understanding on forest ecosystems, and sustainable use and conservation of forest resources.
2 Peer Review Process
Silva Fennica’s review procedure is pre-publication, single blind, editors mediate all interactions between reviewers and authors, peer reviews are not published, review is facilitated by the journal and the reviews are owned by the authors of the reviews.
When a manuscript arrives to the Editorial System (OJS), the Editor-in-Chief or the Managing Editor reviews that it fits within the scope of Silva Fennica and fulfils minimum requirements for peer-review. Manuscripts clearly out of the scope of the journal will be declined in this phase. A manuscript may also be declined if it is apparent that it does not contain any new knowledge on the studied topic. Manuscripts with poor presentation, serious linguistic problems, and those that do not adhere to the Author Guidelines of Silva Fennica will be returned to the authors for revision. If the authors decide to resubmit the revised version, it will be considered as a new submission. Manuscripts are screened for similarity using the iThenticate software. Screening results are always interpreted case by case by the Editor-in-Chief or the Managing Editor. Manuscripts deemed too similar with earlier work will be declined.
After the initial review, the manuscript is assigned to one of the Subject Editors. They screen the manuscript for contents. If they find serious deficiencies in methods or other scientific problems, they may recommend declining the manuscript without peer-review. After the initial screening, the Subject Editor selects the reviewers and submits the manuscript to peer-review. Subject Editor and the authors know each other’s identity but the reviewers work under anonymity. Normally, two reviews by qualified scientists are sought for each manuscript. If a manuscript has an interdisciplinary approach, the reviewers are chosen accordingly. The reviewers are asked to fill in the review form and justify verbally their recommendation.
The manuscript is evaluated on the scale:
- Accept submission: Only minor editorial revisions may be recommended.
- Revisions required: Minor revisions that can be evaluated in the Editorial Office without the second peer-review
- Resubmit for review: Major revisions that may require a new peer-review.
- Resubmit elsewhere: The manuscript is not within the scope of the journal or it has minor value for an international readership
- Decline submission
The Subject Editor makes the editorial recommendation based on the reviewer reports. Final decision on publication is made by the Editor-in-Chief.
A contribution should have broad and international interest for being published in Silva Fennica. Reviewers should always reason their opinion about these criteria in the review statement. The contribution should be novel or a significant replication study. Silva Fennica encourages replication studies in the cases described under “Openness and transparency”.
The relevance of methods used is always carefully evaluated. Authors must report how they determined the sample size, all data exclusions (if any), all manipulations and all measures in the study as an unconditional requirement for publication. Silva Fennica has an Associate Editor for Biometry and Methods. His opinion on the adequacy of the methods to the research problem and their correct application is asked when reviewers indicate potential problems with methodology.
3 Openness and transparency
From January 2021 onwards, Silva Fennica will apply the Transparency and openness promotion guidelines of the Center for Open Science (https://www.cos.io/our-services/top-guidelines). We will start on Level 1 of all the eight points described below i.e., we encourage good practices and reviewers are instructed to check for them. Starting January 2024, all submissions will be required to adhere to the level 2 in citation standards, data transparency, analytic methods transparency, research materials transparency, and design and analysis transparency. This level will require data, materials and code openness as a condition for publishing in Silva Fennica.
1) Citation standards refer to the use of community-based standards, such as nomenclature and reporting standards, where applicable. Silva Fennica requires e.g., that taxonomic nomenclature follows an internationally recognised database and soils are classified according to the World Reference Base for Soil Resources. If publicly available data are used in an article, they must be cited according to the instructions of DataCite in the list of references.
2) Authors must state in a dedicated section of the article if data are available and how to access them. In principle, authors are encouraged to open data and they must explain if data are not open. Data should be posted in a trusted open repository for wide reusability. Sometimes there are good reasons not to open data or data may need to be curated for removing sensitive information e.g., personally identifying information or exact location information on threatened species. From January 2024 onwards, Silva Fennica will request opening of data as a condition for publishing, unless the authors have acceptable reasons for not opening their data. Opening of data is encouraged already before the deadline. Genomic data must be open as a condition for publication already from January 2021 onwards.
3) Analytic methods or code transparency is needed for understanding how results were derived from the research data. Authors are required to state if their code is available and how to access it. Silva Fennica will consider the openness as the principle and deviations must be justified. Like in the case of research data, Silva Fennica will start to require code openness as a condition for publishing an article from January 2024 onwards. Authors are encouraged to open their code even before the deadline. Short codes may be submitted to Silva Fennica with the manuscript as supplementary files while extensive codes are better to deposit to a trusted open repository.
4) Research materials are the materials used for conducting the research or collected during the research but are not in a directly analysable form. Research data are always in an alphanumeric format that can be analysed with a code. Research materials may be digital e.g., questionnaires, survey instruments, and scripts used in social sciences, video used in forest work research, photographs used for identifying plants, or laser scanning product applied for a particular study. Physical materials include e.g., voucher specimens of plants collected for a particular research project or cryopreserved microbia. Plant specimens studied in a museum collection and other collection or archive materials must be identified so that other scientist may find them. Silva Fennica requests authors to state if materials are available and if not, why.
5) Design and analysis transparency are essential for understanding how a study was conducted and analysed. All authors are required to state: “We report how we determined our sample size, all data exclusions (if any), all manipulations, and all measures in the study.”
6-7) Preregistration of studies and analysis plans refer to depositing research and analysis plans to a trusted open repository where they get a persistent identifier. The objective is to reduce sloppy research practices like unreporting variables (that do not support expectations), unreporting covariates, unreporting models tested with the data, or hypothesising after results are known or HARKing. Preregistrations are not always practical in forestry field research but when they are, they should be used. Silva Fennica encourages preregistration of studies and analysis plans. Authors are requested to state if preregistrations exist and give the link to them.
8) Replication is in the heart of reproducibility. All new research findings should be verified by replicating the study, yet forms of replication may differ in different contexts. As a change of journal policies, Silva Fennica now encourages submission of replication studies in the following cases:
- Direct repetition, when it is needed for verifying the results of an experiment opening new insights to the functioning of organisms or communities or those promising enhancement to forestry practice.
- Data reanalyses that contribute towards accepting or rejecting new results.
- Conceptual reproductions, which help to verify original research results and enhance our understanding on the generality of the research outcomes.
4 Publication Frequency
Accepted articles are published immediately after copyediting and proof reading. Published articles are collected annually in five issues. An e-mail alert is sent after appearance of each issue to readers who have subscribed the alert.
Silva Fennica is committed to keep all published articles constantly available over the coming decades. Our website includes articles published since 1913 and our mission is to provide the same access to all new accepted articles. Silva Fennica is a member of the CLOCKSS archive, which ensures the preservation of the material even in the case that the journal ceases publication.
6 Article processing charges (APC)
As a golden open access journal, Silva Fennica does not collect any payments from readers and libraries. Thus, our sources of income are the support from the members of the publishing society, the Finnish Society of Forest Science, and from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. These sources cover about 60 % of the publishing costs. The rest is covered by article processing charges (APC) on published articles. Setting fair APCs requires consideration of several costs within the publishing process. As a non-profit publisher, we work for setting APCs that cover our costs but do not produce profit at the expense of the authors.
Silva Fennica collects an APC of 800 € on each published article. The APC is to be paid after acceptance of the final manuscript version but before publication. Payment options are credit card and bank transfer. In case of a bank transfer outside the European Union, the payer must pay all bank fees.
During the submission process, the authors are asked to commit to publish the contribution in Silva Fennica if it is accepted for publication after the peer-review.
6.2 APC waivers
The APC will be waived in the following cases:
- Both the first and corresponding author work in a research organisation based in a low or lower middle-income country. World Bank classification on the day of submission will be applied. The waiver concerns only these countries’ own research organisations and, thus, international organisations working in the waiver countries (e.g. members of CGIAR) are not eligible for the waiver.
- Full members of the Finnish Society of Forest Science with membership payments on date may publish one free article per year as the first author. Members should consult the Managing Editor for more information on the member waiver programme.
6.3 What do you get in return of the article processing charges?
When considering the APCs from an author’s viewpoint, it is good to remember what services a publisher provides for the author:
- We manage the publishing platform for you.
- We provide access to your article 24/7 from any part of the World.
- We archive your article also for the future generations. Our website contains publications from 1913 onwards and our mission is to keep all material published in our website available for the decades to come. Should something go wrong, access to Silva Fennica is secured by the CLOCKSS archive system.
- We work on providing high security of our website; both for reliability and stability of the service and protection from cyberattacks.
- We take care of the peer review of your manuscript in order to provide you constructive feedback on your work and assuring that only high quality scientific material is published.
- Our professional editor makes the easy-to-read html page with modern linking properties and the printer-friendly pdf file for you.
- We give DOI for your article for ease of access.
- We keep your article listed in various databases on scientific publications.
- Your article is published in a journal that belongs to the top 25 % of forestry-related journals listed in Scopus (2019).
- Your article is compliant with the Open Access promoting PlanS of the major European research funders.
Our APCs partly cover these and other essential publisher services. Other support we receive complements the APCs, i.e. you do not pay the full publishing cost, and makes it possible to waive the APCs for some author groups, most notably for authors who are affiliated with a research organisation based in a low or lower middle-income country.
7 Criteria for authorship and contributors
Silva Fennica follows these four criteria for authorship and contributors, which are generally recognised in natural sciences:
- Substantial contributions to the conception of research question and design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of data and results; AND
- Scientific writing of the work or revising it critically for sound and intellectual content; AND
- Final approval of the version to be published; AND
- Accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
All those designated as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, and all who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors. Those contributors who do not meet all four criteria should be acknowledged. Responsibility for the correct attribution of authorship lies with authors themselves.
Authors collaborating on multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary work typical in forest sciences may have different and perhaps non-overlapping areas of expertise. However, authors should still be able to stand accountable for ensuring investigation and resolution of questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work.
By these criteria, acquisition of funding alone, collection of data alone, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship. In addition, each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content. This also applies to all authors designated within large multi-author groups and on those occasions when authors report work on behalf of a larger group of investigators.
Authors must provide an appropriate attribution for traditional knowledge when applicable. This may include citation of indigenous sources (such as people or community groups) or other written or unwritten communal sources of knowledge.
8 Conflicts of interest
The authors must declare any significant conflict of interest as a part of the manuscript submission process. Conflict of interest may be formed e.g. by receiving funding from a company, products of which are used in the research. Normally, declared conflicts of interest will not impede the review process of the manuscript but reviewers will be informed on them
Silva Fennica follows the single-blind review process. Reviewers known to cooperate with the authors (e.g. several recent common publications) are not invited to review a manuscript. However, it is impossible to find out all collaborations. Thus, if a reviewer is invited to review a manuscript of colleagues with whom they have active collaboration, they should decline the review invitation.
A Subject Editor must follow the same principles as reviewers when the Editor-in-Chief assigns a manuscript to them for review process. Subject Editors have the responsibility to decline overseeing the review process of the manuscripts of close collaborators or in the case of another type of conflict of interest. In these cases, the review process will be managed by the Editor-in-Chief or the Managing Editor.
9 Allegations of misconduct
9.1 Research misconduct
Research misconduct refers to misleading the research community and often to misleading decision-makers. In Finland, the home country of Silva Fennica, research misconduct is divided into the following four subcategories (Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity; https://tenk.fi/en/research-misconduct/rcr-violations):
“Fabrication refers to reporting invented observations to the research community. In other words, the fabricated observations have not been made by using the methods as claimed in the research report. Fabrication also means presenting invented results in a research report.
Falsification (misrepresentation) refers to modifying and presenting original observations deliberately so that the results based on those observations are distorted. The falsification of results refers to the unfounded modification or selection of research results. Falsification also refers to the omission of results or information that are essential for the conclusions.
Plagiarism, or unacknowledged borrowing, refers to representing another person’s material as one’s own without appropriate references. This includes research plans, manuscripts, articles, other texts or parts of them, visual materials, or translations. Plagiarism includes direct copying as well as adapted copying.
Misappropriation refers to the unlawful presentation of another person’s result, idea, plan, observation or data as one’s own research.”
Publishing the same research results multiple times ostensibly as new and novel results (redundant publication, also referred to as self-plagiarism) is considered a case of disregard for the responsible conduct of research by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity.
9.2 Handling of cases of research misconduct
Fabrication and falsification are normally detected by a reviewer (submitted manuscript) or a reader (published manuscripts). A reviewer or a reader suspecting fabrication or falsification should immediately contact the Editor-in-Chief of Silva Fennica. They will review the justification why fabrication or falsification is suspected and contact the corresponding author. The author must provide evidence on the reliability of the results. If the author fails to answer or provide convincing evidence on the reliability of the work, the Editor-in-Chief will ask the opinion of the Associate Editor for Biometry and Methods and a Subject Editor or an Editorial Board member knowledgeable on the subject matter of the manuscript/article. If they agree with the reviewer/reader suspecting fabrication or falsification, the Editor-in-Chief sends their statements to the corresponding author for response and informs their home institution and all authors on the suspected misconduct case. Silva Fennica will cooperate with a possible investigation on the case with the corresponding author’s home institution. In this phase, the Editor-in-Chief may post an editorial concern on a published article on the web site of Silva Fennica, depending on the severity of the suspicions. If actual misconduct is proven by the investigation in the author’s home institution, a published article will be retracted. A manuscript will not be published before the misconduct case is solved. If the home institution does not investigate the case in spite of strong evidence on misconduct, the Editor-in-Chief may also proceed to article retraction on their discretion.
Misappropriation is normally detected by the scientist whose ideas were used in an article without reference. The editor-in-Chief will ask the corresponding author for a response. If the response does not clarify the situation, the Editor-in-Chief normally reports the case to the author’s home institution for investigation and informs all authors of the article.
Plagiarism is normally detected in the similarity check of a manuscript. Silva Fennica uses the Crossref Similarity Check Service that is based on the iThenticate software for similarity check. The similarity check results are always reviewed by an editor for evaluating bona fide similarity (normally methodology used by other scientists) versus potential intentional copying of other scientists’ text. If several copied paragraphs are detected, the manuscript will be returned to the authors without peer-review for corrections. If plagiarism of a complete article or exceptionally large portions of an article are detected, the manuscript is definitely rejected and the Editor-in-Chief reports the case to the corresponding author’s home institution. They will also inform all other authors and the publisher of the copied article. The same procedure is followed if a reviewer detects plagiarism. If a reader reports a severe case of plagiarism, the Editor-in-Chief first asks the corresponding author for a response. According to the response, they may refer the case to corresponding author’s home institution for investigation. In clear cases, the article is retracted and the Editor-in-Chief will inform all authors and the publisher of the original article.
In the case of self-plagiarism, the procedure for plagiarism is normally followed. However, the Editor-in-Chief may decide not to contact the author’s home institution or publisher of the original article if self-plagiarism is detected in the manuscript review phase.
10 Complaints process
Authors may complain on the editorial decision to the Editor-in-Chief. In the complaint, the author must present detailed justification why a reviewer statement or a Subject Editor recommendation is flawed. If both original reviews indicated same problems in the manuscript, the Editor-in-Chief may decide not to take any corrective action. If the original reviewers disagreed, the Editor-in-Chief normally reopens the review process under their own control, and asks for a third review. Further decisions will be taken according to the third reviewer statement and strength of authors’ justifications.
Complaints on false allegations of misconduct, typically after the author’s home institution has cleared them on misconduct, will be directed to the Editor-in-Chief. The complaint should include a copy on the final decision with its justifications. The Editor-in-Chief will take the necessary corrective action, e.g. removal of an editorial concern. An author dissatisfied on the decision of the Editor-in-Chief on a false allegation may refer the case the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (see details at http://www.tenk.fi/en/investigation-of-allegations).
Publication of Silva Fennica is supported by a proportion of the membership fees of the Finnish Society of Forest Science, the article processing charges, and the State subsidy to Finnish learned societies for publishing. The State subsidy is provided by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland, which has delegated the administration and granting rights to the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies.
12 Journal History
Finnish Society of Forest Science started science publishing in 1913 by establishing the journal Acta Forestalia Fennica. During the early years, the publications of the Society were commonly monographs edited in Finnish or German but some papers appeared in English or French.
Silva Fennica was established in 1926 for publishing short research reports. Silva Fennica first appeared occasionally, after enough suitable papers were submitted. In 1967, Silva Fennica was converted to a quarterly scientific journal: Silva Fennica number 121 was also the first issue of volume 1 of the renovated journal. English became the only publishing language of Silva Fennica in 1994. The same year, online publication of the abstracts began. Open access publication of whole text articles in the Internet began in 1998. Thus, Silva Fennica was among the first international scientific journals to go online. In 2000, Acta Forestalia Fennica merged with Silva Fennica.
Silva Fennica was copublished by the Finnish Society of Forest Science and the Finnish Forest Research Institute (later Natural Resources Institute Finland) from 1994 through 2016.