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I am supporting RIO Journal. I think you should too

September 1st, 2015 | Posted by rmounce in Generation Open | Open Access | Open Data | Open Science | Publications

Today (2015-09-01), marks the public announcement of Research Ideas & Outcomes (RIO for short), a new open access journal for all disciplines that seeks to open-up the entire research cycle with some truly novel features

I know what you might be thinking: Another open access journal? Really? 

Myself, nor Daniel Mietchen simply wouldn’t be involved with this project if it was just another boring open access journal. This journal packs a mighty combination of novel features into one platform:

  • 1.) RIO will publish research proposals, as well as regular research outputs such as articles, data papers and software – this has never been done by a journal before to my knowledge
  • 2.) RIO will label research outputs with ‘Impact Categories’ based upon UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and EU Societal Challenges, to highlight the real-world relevance of research and to better link-up research across disciplines (see below for some example MDGs).


  • 3.) RIO supports a variety of different types of peer-review, including ‘pre-submission, author-facilitated, external peer-review‘ (new), as well as post-publication journal-organized open peer-review (similar to that pioneered by F1000Research), and ‘spontaneous’ (not journal-organized) post-publication open peer-review which is actively encouraged. All peer-review will be open/public, in keeping with the overall guiding philosophy of the journal to increase transparency and reduce waste in the research cycle. Reviewer comments are highly valuable; it is a waste not to make them public. When supplied, all reviewer comments will be made openly available.
  • 4.) RIO offers flexibility in publishing services and pricing in a bold attempt to ‘decouple’ the traditional scholarly journal into its component services. Authors & funders thus may choose to pay for the publishing services they actually want, not an inflexible bundle of different services, as there is at most journals.
Source: Priem, J. and Hemminger, B. M. 2012. Decoupling the scholarly journal. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. Licensed under CC BY-NC

Source: Priem, J. and Hemminger, B. M. 2012. Decoupling the scholarly journal. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. Image licensed under CC BY-NC.


  • 5.) On the technical side of things, RIO uses an integrated end-to-end XML-backed publication system for Authoring, Reviewing, Publishing, Hosting, and Archiving called ARPHA. As a publishing geek this excites me greatly as it eliminates the need for typesetting, ensuring a smooth and low-cost publishing process. Reviewers can make comments inline or more generally over the entire manuscript, on the very same document and platform that the authors wrote in, much like Google Docs. This has been successfully tried and tested for years at the Biodiversity Data Journal and is a system now ready for wider-use.


For the above reasons and more, I’m hugely excited about this journal and am delighted to be one of their founding editors alongside Dr Daniel Mietchen. See our growing list of Advisory and Editorial Board members for insight into who else is backing this new journal – we’ve got some great people on board already! If you’re interested in supporting this initiative please do enquire about volunteering as an editor for the journal, we need more editors to support the broad scale and ambition of journal. You can apply via the main website here.

  • Hi Ross

    I think the idea of linking up research outputs with impact categories is a great one. Can I ask why you chose to go for the MDGs? It doesn’t seem to make much sense when next month the UN is about to implement the new post-2015 framework with a new set of SDGs (see: IFLA is advocating for the importance of access to information to all of the 17 new goals (see, and we’re also convinced that open access will play a big role (see also the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, particularly the reference to the knowledge platform:

    From the 7th to the 18th September we’ll be holding an eForum with COAR and FAO where you can learn more about the SDGs and what the library, information and research community can do to contribute. See here:

    Is it too late to change your framework to the SDGs instead of the MDGs?



    • rmounce

      It is never too late for anything at RIO, we are an agile journal and we listen to the community. Now that we are aware of this we will certainly consider switching to SDGs, no guarantees though. Many thanks to you and Susan Reilly (@skreilly) for raising this feedback :)

  • Some good ideas here, but it is not true that no other journal is publishing this kind of work. Another open access journal publishing proposals, research protocols and formative research has been around since 2012 (JMIR Research Protocols) and is Pubmed indexed:

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