Counting days and tweets: What’s happened to RIO Journal so far?

So, here we are, counting days and Twitter impressions since Research Ideas & Outcomes (or, RIO for short) our new open access journal was officially announced on 1st September 2015. As much as we were excited to take this long-prepared and anticipated stand in the spotlight, we are still holding our breath ahead of the big event – the launch itself, scheduled for November 2015.

In the meantime, when not busy welcoming our very first subject editors, we have our ear to the ground, so that we can make sure to provide everyone with the best services and insight. The truth is, we don’t only value attention, we deeply appreciate your opinion and respect your needs and concerns.

So, here below we provide a short summary of the eventful first week of RIO Journal:

It all started on 1st September on Twitter. Among the constantly growing list of our first followers, there were a lot of welcoming retweets, sounding just as excited as we were:

Then, the time came for the world media to give its verdict:

This week sees the birth of a new type of scientific journal, one that will publish not only study results and data, but also research ideas and proposals. It’s called Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO).
/The Scientist, 3rd September/

With so many science journals already in existence, it is rare for a new title to draw attention. But researchers and publishing experts are taking notice of Research Ideas and Outcomes, or RIO, an open-access journal that launched on 1 September.
/Nature, 3rd September/

Understandably, the hottest discussion points were RIO’s initiatives:

> To present openly the whole process of the research cycle especially including research proposals
> To publish such ideas regardless of them being eventually approved or rejected for funding
> To apply a transparent, public, and open peer-review policy

Stephen Curry, a structural biologist at Imperial College London shared on Twitter that in his opinion RIO is “bringing a new sense of transparency and collaboration to research”, while he voiced his strong support for preprint publications and open feedback in his Guardian blog. “Preprints can help to refocus attention where it matters – on the work itself, not where it is published. In so doing, they have the potential to revitalize the scientific enterprise”, his column reads.

“I like the idea of getting “publishing-credit” for my research proposals and other research output. Roughly speaking for every proposal I write, I write one paper less”, points out computational chemist at the University of Copenhagen Jan Jansen on explaining why he accepted the invitation to become one of RIO’s subject editors.

At the end of the day, some of RIO’s innovations couldn’t escape being challenged by some criticisms. A librarian and known extreme critic of open access journals, Jeffrey Beall questioned the freedom given to RIO’s authors to make their own choice of reviewers.

One of the RIO’s own subject editors, Ivo Grigorov, a marine scientist at the Technical University of Denmark also raised his concerns on the matter. Yet, he and our ever growing list of editors and advisory board are sticking with us:

In his turn, Ross Mounce, a postdoc at the Natural History Museum, London and a founding editor of RIO, explained how the new open access journal seeks to improve the “immensely wasteful” traditional research process in his piece on the popular LSE Impact blog.

Ross also gave a podcast interview for Beta Pleated Chic, he spoke in detail about the whole list of innovative tools and strategies.

If you know of any other press mentions or blogs about RIO Journal, please don’t hesitate to forward them to us on Twitter @RIOJournal.

3 Replies to “Counting days and tweets: What’s happened to RIO Journal so far?”

  1. Dear RIO team!

    First of all, congrats to your work so far and your transparency! It’s good to see enthusiastic people around and it’s good to have you (as a journal) on the table!
    It is also great to see some discussion, be it critic or constructive.

    As you were reporting about some reactions on twitter and the media, I just wanted to let you know that we’ve recently had RIO in our latest episode of the Open Science Radio. Yes, I know, it is in German, however I thought that I’d let you know what one of the arising questions was.

    Our initial reaction was that it is actually good to have someone around addressing this far-reaching issue of opening more of the research cycle steps than only the final article publication. And we are positive that those people being part of the RIO team will have enough energy, enthusiasm and ideas to make this an interesting approach. However, we also discussed that it will be really interesting to see how you address the usability issue. I mean, one of the challenges we could see is how to provide a clear navigation for readers in cases where the author(s) really collect and publish so much material on your journal platform as they could (ranging from ideas collections, to proposals, to articles, presentations, reports, data, etc.). We’re really looking forward to see some ideas regarding questions such as:
    – How is all the information presented?
    – What will be the initial starting point for a reader in a certain project?
    – Will there be any guidance on e.g. the importance of certain artefacts/documents (e.g. assuming that a post in social media might be less important than a workshop presentation, or a conference poster might be not as important as a report or an review article)?

    I find navigation and usability sometimes less optimal, especially if there is a lot of different material e.g. on platforms like the Open Science Framework.
    As I said, it’s good to have you on the table! We’re keeping our fingers crossed. With the Open Science Radio we will try to keep our eyes on your progress and thus keep our listeners informed.


  2. Hi, Matthias!

    Thank you for the warm words, we’re also really happy to join as a platform for, hopefully, something that goes even beyond publishing high quality academic work, like also hosting elaborate and fruitful debates and discussions!

    In terms of information presentation, our intention is to keep it as user-friendly and relevant as possible. For example, a particular submission will be arranged according to its type of review, how it maps to the SDGs and/or how it links to similar submissions, be it from the same team’s
    research cycle or across several ones.

    Thanks to the content being available in XML, we can rearrange the information in as many fashions as it takes to make it accessible and satisfactory for the users. Another good idea that we’re looking into implementing is to not only have the materials organised by their submissions, but also having parts of them, like images, for example, sorted into galleries.

    We certainly agree that navigation could be tricky, especially considering the range of platforms currently in use. So, what we’ve thought about as a solution is applying multiple points of entry into a project for both humans and machines. The users will be able to browse by either scientific discipline, date, societal challenge, type of publication, keywords, or simply by way of a search engine.

    Once the users get to the right research, they will be guided through its range of content and artefacts. We’re currently working on a way for users to highlight the kind of content they find of particular value, which we expect to address the issue.

  3. Hi Daniel!

    Just saw your response. Thanks for the explanations. As I said, I am really looking forward to get a first glimpse on the design of the platform and how things are stored, presented and how the readers are guided through all the material of a certain project.

    Good luck on the way!

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