PART 1: The ARPHA Writing Tool: Adding Value to RIO

The online, collaborative ARPHA Writing Tool (AWT) is an innovative, entirely Web-based, authoring, submission, peer-review, publication & dissemination authoring platform. While flexible to accommodate more traditional journal concepts, it clearly fits neatly with RIO’s novel approach to research publishing.

In the following two-part blog post, we will explain how the newly updated AWT will be integrated with RIO to provide a number of great features for unique user-experience.

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All About User Friendliness:

The ARPHA Writing Tool did not appear out of nowhere. Pensoft has been developing its own writing tool since 2012, and the AWT is an updated version of this prototype, the Pensoft Writing Tool. The AWT builds onthe experience we have accumulated during the 3-year lifespan of its predecessor, and is designed to make the user experience as seamless and pleasant as possible.

How we did that? The AWT features a modern and intuitive design, where all features are listed and just a click away for the authors to use. The tool runs in one mode, showing real-time changes, comments and updates. Comments are left inline and automatically navigate through the text to make review and correcting easy.

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RIO is all about collaboration, and within the ARPHA Writing Tool, this is now easier than ever. Authors can not only work collaboratively on a manuscript with their co-authors, but can also invite external contributors, such as mentors, pre-submission reviewers, linguistic and copy editors, or just colleagues, who may modify the manuscript or comment on it before submission. The system allows for such external contributors to not be listed as co-authors of the manuscript.

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The collaborative peer-review process provides easy communication through track-change functionality, comments and replies, and automated, but customizable email and social network notification tools.

TEMPLATES for all needs

The AWT provides a large set of predefined, but flexible article templates covering many types of research outcomes. At the moment, the list fits the needs of the existing Pensoft journals, but with RIO coming soon, the choice of templates will grow to accommodate the needs of publishing full research cycles across a wide range of disciplines.

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Adding CONTENT and REFERENCING made easy

A set of Web-based services and tools in AWT allows, e.g. for search and import of literature or data references, cross-referencing of in-text citations, import of tables, upload of images and multimedia, assembling images for display as reusably composite figures,  and even add videos to your article.


All the author needs to do to add content to an article is to select the right type from the side menu and then navigate through the instructions in the pop-up window. If in doubt, the authors can also consult the ‘Tips and Tricks’ on our website.

So far, we have explained some of the main features of the AWT that are useful throughout the authoring process, but there is much more to explore! In next week’s post, we will look at what happens after your manuscript is completed and ready for submission.

Would you like some experience of basic editorial work at RIO Journal?

Warming up for its first set of research ideas, proposals, articles, software suggestions and a lot more types of scientific work to be submitted in November, RIO Journal is on the lookout for early career researchers to lay the basis of the one-of-a-kind project that Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) Journal is.

What is an Editorial Apprentice?

At RIO Journal, we want to help researchers gain an understanding of editorial roles, by experience, from an early stage in their careers. Editorial Apprentices perform basic technical checks and execute the validation of a manuscript right before it is submitted to RIO.

RIO uses a unique platform – ARPHA, along with its associated authoring tool, the ARPHA Writing Tool (AWT). The platform is the first end-to-end, narrative- and data-integrated publishing solution that supports the full life cycle of a manuscript, from authoring to reviewing, publication and dissemination.


To ensure high quality of content, manuscripts on ARPHA go through a two-step validation process. First, the system provides an automated technical check, but a human “fine tuning” on a manuscript is often still needed. The editorial assistant keeps an eye on the text consistency, whether the references and the language are in compliance with the high standards of RIO, and if data underlying a manuscript are published according to the journal’s policy.

Why should I apply for an Editorial Apprentice at RIO?

If you are a PhD student or a Postdoc, you should be looking for some first-hand experience of more senior academic roles. It’s good to improve your own understanding of the academic system, as well as good for your CV. As an Editorial Apprentice at RIO you’ll gain experience of paper reviewing and publishing processes, and you will also be given the right atmosphere to advance your editorial skills and improve your knowledge of the publishing process.

What else do I want to know about RIO?

RIO is the first open-access peer-reviewed journal that makes it possible to publish research across all stages of the research cycle in disciplines ranging from humanities to science.  RIO uses a novel, entirely public process of quality assurance checks, technical validation and formal peer-review, including options for pre-submission and post-publication peer-reviews.


How to apply?

If you are a PhD student or a Postdoc and wish to continue your career in academia or in the academic publishing industry, you are more than welcome to apply for an Editorial Apprenticeship via our online application form (Also available as PDF).

Please, note you will need to spend a few hours per week for a period of one year or more. We are looking for candidates who have published or submitted at least two scientific articles. High-level proficiency with written English is a must.

We look forward to working with you!

RIO will emphasise the social impact of research

Most funding agencies now require researchers to specify and think about the broader, societal impacts of their proposed research. This makes a lot of sense, since approximately 80% of research is publicly-funded either by governments or charities.

Thus, the outputs of most academic research should ideally make some kind of contribution towards wider societal impact, even if tenuous or long-term.

Here at RIO, we don’t think the potential societal impact of research is well surfaced by most traditional journals, and this is something we’d like to improve upon. So, as one of the many innovative features of RIO, we’re going to experiment with social impact labelling and categorization of research outputs based upon internationally-recognised external criteria such as the EU Societal Challenges (the priorities of EU Horizon 2020 funding), and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recognizing that the mapping of a given piece of research to such impact categories may be difficult at times, we strongly encourage the use of this feature, but do not require it.

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More detail about the UN SDGs is available at: . This image is copyright of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Permission for re-use is granted by the UN.

How will it work, in practice?

SDGs on RIOAuthors will have the option to choose societal impact badges from a preset list provided by RIO (see the Filter image for an example). The badges indicate impact categories that are or may be relevant to their submitted work. Reviewers and editors can assess the appropriateness of these badges, and if accepted, these badges will be pinned on the published output, so that they are clearly seen on the landing page of the work.


We think this will benefit authors, readers and funders of research.

  1. For Authors: It will better advertise the intended societal impact of their work – sometimes this can be quite indirect, so we think this expressive labelling will aid the recognition of potential social impact.
  2. For Readers: It will hopefully encourage more interdisciplinary reading. When searching for work relevant to ‘Zero Hunger’ (SDG #2), articles from vastly disparate subject areas will be more cohesively surfaced: social sciences, biology, chemistry, and engineering may all be relevant here, amongst others. Outputs from these different disciplines will no longer be siloed away from each other in vastly different journals.
  3. For Funders: Interesting research outputs that are relevant to specific societal challenges, some of which may be ideas not yet funded(!) may now be more clearly and relevantly presented.

Enabling the filtering of a diverse range of research ideas and outcomes by societal impact is thus clearly desirable, and while RIO is the first to implement such a system, we would encourage the wider community to join us in highlighting the connection between research and societal impact more systematically.

Do you want the potential societal impact of your research to be more clearly signalled to the world upon publication? Submit your research to Research Ideas & Outcomes (RIO) – we’ll start accepting submissions in November.  

P.S. The RIO team listens to constructive feedback on the journal from the global community. We are therefore delighted to acknowledge and thank our advisory board member Susan Reilly (LIBER) and Stuart Hamilton (IFLA) for emphasising the UN Societal Development Goals. We have taken that on board and will be using these and other internationally recognised societal goals as the basis for societal impact labelling at RIO.