Opening-up the early stages of research – LSE blog about RIO

Research Ideas & Outcomes (RIO) is now featured on the LSE Blog and here is what we shared with them.

Few like to admit it, but the traditional process of research is immensely wasteful. Inefficiency occurs in every part of the research cycle, perhaps none more so than the research proposal stage. For example, nearly 90% of EU Horizon 2020 grant proposals were rejected. Many of these proposals are extremely good works, written by teams, over many months of work. Significant effort goes into crafting research proposals, yet as research outputs in themselves, they are hugely under-utilised. After the proposals are scored and either funded or not funded, typically via closed processes, what happens to these documents? Most stay hidden, never to be seen again, regardless of whether they were funded or not

What if we treated proposals like other outputs of the research cycle: like data, like software, like research articles? What if we published proposals in a journal, regardless of whether they were funded or not, to enable the citation of ideas not yet tested, to foster collaboration, to demonstrate the quality of proposed research, and to help others see what good proposals look like…

Launched yesterday, a new journal called Research Ideas & Outcomes (RIO) has been created specifically to enable and encourage the entire research cycle to be published, from start to finish, specifically including research proposals and ideas; the earliest stages that rarely get published (see the video below for more explanation).

Efficient publishing technology does away with the need for typesetting

The innovations provided by RIO journal do not stop there though. Another of the major features of the journal is its authoring, reviewing and publishing system called ARPHA for short. This system is a revolution in itself: if used fully, it eliminates the need for an outsourced typesetting process and all the associated errors that entails which frustrate authors and delay publication. It also speeds up the publishing process; no delay waiting for typesetters, and it reduces the cost of production as good typesetters charge a non-negligible sum per page.

I remember only too well getting manuscript proofs back from a different publisher and seeing that the typesetting process had converted the word ‘Phylomatic’ into ‘phlegmatic’ (see tweet above) – the latter word was not in any submitted author version! This error had been introduced by mistake during the shadowy typesetting process, something publishing companies typically keep very quiet about as it’s a remarkable inefficiency in the publishing process. Typesetting is arguably an anachronism and doesn’t need to exist if authors use tools that are specifically designed to produce structured academic outputs. Don’t take my word for this: memorably, Dr Kaveh Bazargan, who runs a high-quality, successful typesetting business (River Valley) stood-up at a conference in 2012 and said of typesetting: “It’s madness. I’m here to say I really shouldn’t be in business”.

Pensoft have cracked the authoring tools problem with a solid solution that has been successfully developed & tested with the Biodiversity Data Journal and shown to be a robust system. By combining the ARPHA publishing system, with a broad subject-scope, a philosophy of publishing the entire research cycle, and low cost open access publishing, I genuinely think RIO journal offers a distinctive and attractive option for authors, significantly better in production workflow than most other journals. Alongside Dr Daniel Mietchen, I am proud to be a founding editor of this visionary new journal.

Originally posted in the LSE Blog at:

All you can publish: go à la carte with Research Ideas and Outcomes Journal (RIO)

Science is Awesome!

This is something we truly believe in at Pensoft.

But, like everything in this world, science needs funding to sustain itself. Out there, some great minds are turning countless ideas into research proposals every year, yet only a small proportion would eventually get funded.

Sadly, most of the time few get to hear about a particular idea if it gets rejected.

RIO Journal – get credit for all your work

The Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) journal is created to provide a positive enhancement to a frequently inefficient funding system.  

RIO publishes all outputs of the research cycle: starting from the project proposals, through to data, methods, workflows, software, project reports and research articles. And it all comes together on a single collaborative platform, encompassing all areas of academic research, including science, technology, humanities and the social sciences. Learn more about our vision in the RIO video.


Why publish a research proposal?

Behind a proposal there’s always:

  • a good idea,
  • long hours of research
  • huge collaborative effort by scientists.

But when it comes to funding decisions, it all turns to a pile of paper with either an approval or rejection stamp on it. Wafer-thin decision margins mean that great projects often don’t get funded at the first time of asking.

We created RIO as an alternative that allows scientists to get credit for their ideas as citable publications. Thus, they can share the outcomes from the vast research effort spent on producing non-traditional research outputs such as proposals that are otherwise lost to science and society.

All published ideas and outputs on RIO have public article level metrics and comment sections – so the stamp of approval is now in the hands of the real end users: the community.

New thinking: science for society

The journal takes a step ahead with a collaborative platform that allows all ideas and outputs to be labelled with Impact Categories based upon UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and EU Societal Challenges.

These categories provide social impact-based labelling to help funders discover and finance relevant research.

Application FormAs RIO publishes research from across a wide range of disciplines, it is expected that the new Impact Category labels will help the journal to foster interdisciplinary research, allowing scientists from different fields to have their work discovered in novel-ways beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries,  providing real value for society. RIO is currently actively looking for editors from across disciplines, fill in a simple Editor Application Form and join us!

Innovation non-stop

RIO offers the most transparent, open and public peer-review process thus building trust in the reviewed outcomes.

The journal is published through ARPHA, the first publishing platform ever to support the full life cycle of a manuscript, from authoring through submission and public peer-review to publication and dissemination, within a single, fully-integrated online collaborative environment. RIO launches several innovative publishing features – a comprehensive list of these is available here.

And all that comes a-la-carte

Through RIO and ARPHA you can tailor our services towards your needs.

For a long time publishers ‘dictated the rules’ for the products and services that researchers  get. At Pensoft we believe in the opposite –  scientists, funders and communities should dictate to us their needs and we should aim to provide products and services to cover those needs.

Following this philosophy, at RIO you can choose exactly which publishing services you want according to your needs and budget.

You can write a manuscript in the RIO authoring tool, or submit it in other formats. Authors can also supply as many pre-submission reviews with your manuscript as you want and choose the style of peer-review that is appropriate for their output. They can also opt in and out from a number of additional services, such as proofreading or the services of our press office and many more. All options are available here.

Join us in the future

From the get-go Pensoft has always aimed to revolutionise the publishing field supplying authors with the latest innovations.

With RIO we are actively looking to expand. Not just in scope, by servicing all areas of academic research, including science, technology, humanities and the social sciences. But also to expand the mindset of a system haunted by old-fashioned prejudices.

RIO smashes the status-quo by publishing ALL research ideas & outcomes that constitute the research cycle, including: project proposals, data, methods, workflows, software, project reports and research articles. It’s simply a more accurate reflection of the real process of research.

All this supported by the latest innovations and tailored to your needs!

Visit the pre-launch webpage at: