Will RIO Journal be the most open of its kind?

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A large amount of scientific research is published in scientific journals, and there has been a lot of debate around offering open access to these articles, along with the underlying data, software, and methods. There is a new journal that launched recently with the goal of going beyond traditional scientific publishing by encompassing all outputs of the research cycle.

What does this mean? The RIO Journal (Research Ideas and Outcomes) is launching with the goal of publishing a number of things not currently published, in addition to more conventional outputs on a single collaborative platform. This includes things such as project proposals, data, methods, workflows, software, project reports, and research articles.

Traditionally it was only possible to publish research articles, with software and data being added in some specific cases. The other things were often there, but sent directly to the funding agencies, reviewed by committees, and were largely unavailable to the wider community. This new journal has the goal of not only providing a cohesive venue to publish all these things, but to provide the most transparent, open, and public peer-review process across all areas of academic research (where most journals restrict themselves to one or two specific areas).

The RIO Journal will begin accepting submissions on November 1 and will offer simple publishing options. It is also offering the capability to publish immediately with peer-review/validation taking place after the fact. This ensures work can be shared as soon as you hit publish, and the platform will clearly indicate whether work has been reviewed.

The journal offers low-cost publishing, starting at just 50 Euros, with a modern platform designed for online document collaboration. As someone who has published in a number of journals, it should not be understated how important these two factors are. Publication fees are often 10-20 times the starting fee, and the tools were designed upon a much older infrastructure where 'photo-ready' was still a relevant term. It is important for journals to remain accessible both financially and from a usability standpoint.

It is exciting to see new movement in this area, and I look forward to seeing the first publications on the platform. The journal uses the CC BY 4.0 license for all publications and marks up documents to make it easier to use automated/machine assisted processes for analysis. We should encourage more of the process to be published, a great deal of time is spent on things such as research proposals, reports, and case studies that could have much more impact if published.

Learn more about open science.

Marcus D. Hanwell
Marcus D. Hanwell | Marcus leads the Open Chemistry project, developing open source tools for chemistry, bioinformatics, and materials science research.

1 Comment

This is an interesting concept. There is a lot going on now with respect to open access and academia as it is clear the apple cart is turning over in the scientific publishing world.

For this particular approach to work - there needs to a critical mass of literature published in the RIO to generate an impact factor that will attract higher quality work. The publishing charges, although low compared to open access fees for major publishers are still high compared to ability to publish open access versions of articles with the existing licenses from the conventional publishers for free. The success of institutional repositories, arxiv, academia.edu and researchgate speak to this.

Frankly, I think now that it is pretty clear that the cost associated with academic publishing have been squashed by the internet - and the most difficult tasks (peer review and editing) are generally unpaid and performed by academics themselves -- that both traditional models (pay to subscribe and pay to publish) are in trouble.

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