Our Mission

Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) aims to catalyse change in research communication by publishing ideas, proposals and outcomes in a comprehensive way. By doing so, we hope to increase transparency, trust and efficiency of the whole research ecosystem.

Our key goals are to maximise:


RIO aims at making better use of the vast effort spent on writing and evaluating research proposals and other valuable products of the research cycle. It harnesses the full value of investment in the academic system by registering, reviewing, publishing and permanently archiving a wider variety of research outputs that aren't traditionally made public.

Speed and Efficiency

By making these outputs public, we will expedite the process of evaluating proposed and performed research, opening up new mechanisms for collaboration, feedback, appraisal, dissemination and funding.

Real-World Impact

Research Ideas and Outcomes creates and strengthens links within and across fields of research by placing special emphasis on how research addresses the challenges that our global society is facing. Read more.

Transparency and Trust

We are committed to an entirely open and public peer-review process. We are convinced that this is the best way to build trust in the reviewed outcomes.

Brief Intro

RIO offers tailored services and various benefits to all types of users. With the user in mind we have created a set of features to fit the needs of all our stakeholders - authors, reviewers, funders, project coordinators and conference organisers. Learn more about what RIO has to offer in this short presentation, or read how the journal is specifically tailored to your needs below.

ISSN 2367-7163 (online)

For Authors

At Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO), we want authors to concentrate on content and not to spend their time on matters of formatting. There are thus NO author guidelines here with regard to text or reference formatting. The ARPHA Writing Tool will guide you during the authoring, submission, review and publication process. There are only a few simple rules to follow, so please please have a look at ARPHA’s Tips and Tricks before you start your manuscript!

Alternatively, manuscripts can be submitted as text (MS Word, RTF, ODT) files that shall be converted into the ARPHA Writing Tool by RIO’s Editorial Office. Please note that the conversion comes at a small additional cost, therefore the Article Processing Charges (APC) will be higher in case a manuscript is submitted as a text file. In that case, we strongly recommend to use our article templates as a pattern to follow in order to minimise the extra work in formatting.

The publishing process in RIO includes several steps, which are briefly explained in How it works. The different steps are directly accessible also via the following links:

  1. Authoring a manuscript in the ARPHA Writing Tool
  2. Pre-submission technical validation
  3. Pre-submission, author-facilitated peer-review
  4. Submission
  5. Post-submission editorial check
  6. Reviewable publication
  7. Formal peer-review organized by RIO (optional)
  8. Editorial evaluation of a revised version (optional)
  9. Validated publication (optional)
  10. Example scenarios for revisions and validation on the decision date
  11. Publication of updated versions (optional)
  12. Dissemination, harvesting, text and data mining

For Reviewers

At Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) we use a novel, entirely open and public process of quality assurance checks, technical validation and formal peer-review, briefly described in How it works. The different steps of the review and evaluation process are directly accessible also via the following links:

  1. Pre-submission, author-facilitated peer-review
  2. Submission
  3. Post-submission editorial check
  4. Reviewable publication
  5. Formal peer-review organized by RIO (optional)
  6. Editorial evaluation of a revised version (optional)
  7. Validated publication (optional)
  8. Example scenarios for revisions and validation on the decision date
  9. Publication of updated versions (optional)
  10. Dissemination, harvesting, text and data mining

All reviews submitted to RIO will be made public together with the corresponding publications. Reviewers’ names are disclosed by default. Reviewers may opt to stay anonymous only in case they have been invited to provide a review by the RIO Editors.

For Funders

Major funders of research such as the European Commission, Wellcome Trust (UK), National Science Foundation (NSF) of the US, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and others, are increasingly formally recognising that the research cycle is a continuum, and that all kinds of research objects and outcomes, not just ‘articles’, need to be made public in order to advance research and society and to enable reproducibility and transparent evaluation of research.

Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) publishes research proposals, either funded or disapproved, as well as progress all along the research cycle and exposes it to peer assessment, thereby highlighting:

  • Valuable research that has been performed in the past or is currently underway.
  • Research ideas that may be worth funding, taking into account both their scientific quality and their alignment with societal challenges.
  • Active members of the research community (individuals, teams or organizations) that may be worth funding.

Combined with its strong emphasis on openness and on community engagement, RIO thus provides a strong basis for increasing the impact of research funders, be they classical research funding organizations or emerging ones based on decentralized funding mechanisms.

RIO provides also useful ways to link all outputs related to a research project in online collections that help funders to keep track on the project development and progress.

RIO will notify funders via email alert each time the funding organisation is acknowledged in the publication’s metadata.

For Institutions

The philosophy behind the RIO Journal is to offer flexible and decoupled publishing services to various actors, including individual researchers, research projects, funders, research institutions and libraries.

Institutions may benefit from publishing in RIO thanks to:

  • Flexible online collections that allow linking of various research outcomes along research cycles carried out in an institution or by a research group.

  • Easy customization of institution-tailored and domain specific article templates and publication plans.

  • Peer assessment and usage tracking system for various institutional research outcomes, not just research articles.

  • Great discount options that will make your publishing activities more cost efficient and free authors from having to deal with the financial aspects of publishing.

  • Dedicated promotional PR campaigns for selected research achievements in coordination with institutional press officers.

Please do not hesitate to contact rio@riojournal.com for further information.

For Project Coordinators

Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) is designed to publish research proposals, funded or not, as well as all valuable outputs along the research cycle or a research project, and to expose these to peer assessment, publication and wide dissemination:

  • Funded research projects may publish the grant proposal or parts of it at the start of the project, so as to get an early feedback on future development plans and link back the results to this first publication.

  • Grant proposals consume a huge effort to prepare, even if they turn out to be unfunded. Why not publish these to get credit for the huge work already invested? A research proposal not approved for funding by one organisation may well be found worthy of funding by another one.

  • RIO also offers the possibility to publish research ideas or research proposals before submission. By including the respective DOI in your application, you can demonstrate that you are serious about communicating your research and about public engagement.

  • Research articles and sometimes data are the prevailing if not only public outputs of most research projects. Why not publish also the valuable project reports and deliverables, software, survey reports and case studies, policy briefs, and even Wikipedia articles coming out of the project  - in both human- and machine-readable formats - so as to get the maximum dissemination, outreach and impact?

RIO provides useful ways to link all outputs related to a research project in online collections that help funders to keep track on the project development and progress.

RIO also offers tailored publication plans and dissemination/PR services along research cycles and other outcomes of your project. Please ask rio@riojournal.com for more information.

For Conference Organisers

Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) has developed a set of services that will ease the publication of conference outputs, such as abstracts, posters, presentations or conference full-text talks:

  • Collaborative online authoring and pre-submission peer-review of conference proceedings in the ARPHA Writing Tool.

  • A set of flexible manuscript templates for the different conference outputs

  • Publication of the proceedings in both human- and machine-readable formats (HTML, PDF and JATS XML) at any time when ready - either before or after the conference, or even while it is ongoing.

  • A flexible system of online collections for outputs of a conference or different symposia/workshops within it

  • Funders and sponsors of conferences may track references and acknowledgements for their support via each separate article metadata

  • Archiving of the conference proceedings in trusted international repositories

  • Promotion and PR campaigns for conference proceedings for separate outputs.

Please ask rio@riojournal.com for more information.

Why Publish in RIO

Why would I want to do this? 

Publishing non-traditional research outputs before your research articles

Until the widespread adoption of the Internet, publishing was an expensive process. Researchers selectively published only their final summaries of projects as research articles because of the cost-constraints of print-based publishing.

But in the Information Age, these constraints on publishing have been significantly relaxed as digital publishing has superseded print-based publishing. Digital, online publishing is cheap. This shift enables us to reconsider what would be beneficial to publish in this new era.

Researchers expend huge effort and time writing non-traditional research outputs such as research proposals, software, datasets, project reports and milestones. Why not publish these too?

There are many immediate benefits, for multiple different stakeholders:

  • Greater transparency of the research process.
  • Publication credit for all the hard work put into these outputs.
  • Collaborators and improvements can be found by making ideas public at an early stage.
  • Helping others to make better outputs, after reading the previous efforts of others.
  • Rejected or underutilised outputs can be re-used or improved with publication exposure.      

A typical research proposal is a costly document to write - it takes a lot of time and effort. Most research proposals are rejected, so significant effort in preparing and tailoring these for specific grant calls is squandered.

This is a waste.

Completed research proposals, regardless of whether they were accepted or rejected should be published to:

  • Get publication credit for your great ideas.
  • Show otherwise hidden and huge effort in writing it!
  • Get kudos for bright ideas whilst they are still novel.
  • Attract the attention (and perhaps grants!) of funders.
  • Publicly register priority of your ideas - you thought of them first!
  • Link-up your proposal with subsequent outputs.
  • Show you write great research proposals.
  • Enable you to put your proposals on your CV.
  • Let the world know about your newly approved proposal.
  • Find collaborators for techniques, lab work and fieldwork.
  • Get valuable feedback & evaluation.

What Can I Publish

RIO journal accepts submissions of ALL these different types of research ideas and outcomes:

  • Research Ideas
  • Research Proposals
  • Research Articles
  • Review Articles
  • Commentaries
  • Data Papers (Spreadsheets, Sound Recordings, Videos, Imaging Scans, Photos, any data format) 
  • Software Descriptions
  • Workflows
  • Registered Experimental Designs
  • Data Management Plans
  • Software Management Plans
  • Grant Proposals
  • Conference Abstracts
  • Research Presentations
  • Research Posters
  • Single-media Publications
  • PhD Projects
  • PhD Thesis
  • PostDoc Projects 
  • Project Reports (including milestones and deliverables; especially final reports)
  • Methods
  • Policy and Communication Briefs
  • Citizen Science Reports
  • Replication studies
  • Wikipedia articles
  • Case Studies
  • Biographies
  • Book Reviews
  • Editorials
  • Correspondences
  • Corrigenda
  • we are expanding this list on an ongoing basis - get in touch if you
    have suggestions.

RIO does not accept for publication:

  • Teaching Lectures
  • Other Teaching Materials
  • Clinical Trials
  • Patient Data or other data that would be unethical to publish
  • Homeopathy or Homeopathy-related outputs
  • Nuclear or Bioweapons-related outputs
  • Creationist or ‘Young Earth’ or other religiously-motivated research outputs
  • Cryptozoology
  • Pseudoscience

Unique Features

Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) launch created several, globally unique innovations in both technological and social sides of the academic publishing practice:

  1. RIO is published on ARPHA, the first publishing platform ever to support the full life cycle of a manuscript, from authoring through submission, peer-review, publication and dissemination, within a single online collaborative environment.

  2. The online, collaborative ARPHA manuscript writing tool (formerly Pensoft Writing Tool (PWT)) provides a large set of pre-defined, but flexible article templates covering most types of research outcomes.

  3. Within the ARPHA Writing Tool, authors may 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 correct and comment on the manuscript before submission. The external contributors are not listed as co-authors of the manuscript. 

  4. A rich set of functionalities of the ARPHA Writing Tool allows for search and import of literature/data references, cross-referencing of in-text citations, import of tables, upload of images and multimedia, building plates of images, and many more.

  5. An automated technical validation step will save your time by checking your manuscript for consistency, in addition to human-provided pre-submission technical validation by RIOs' Editorial Office.

  6. Pre-submission external peer-review(s) performed during the authoring process in the ARPHA Writing Tool are to be submitted together with the manuscript to speed up evaluation and publication.

  7. During submission, authors may opt for a review process and type of publication that are most suited to their works: (1) Reviewable publication, based on both author-organized external reviews and RIO’s technical and editorial checks, and (2) RIO-validated publication following a formal, journal-organized peer-review.

  8. The peer-review process in RIO is public and reviewers may choose from two different kinds of review: (1) Formal review and (2) Informal short review. The formal reviews are assigned with DOIs and citation details. Informal short reviews and links to the formal ones are exported to Twitter after a moderation check to avoid abuse.

  9. The collaborative peer-review process provides easy communication environment through change tracking, comments and replies, and automated, but customizable email and social network notifications.  

  10. For editor's convenience, peer-reviews in ARPHA are automatically consolidated into a single online file that makes the editorial process straightforward, easy and pleasant.

Socially Engaged Publishing

Research Ideas & Outcomes (RIO) is committed to connecting research to its potential impact on society. To achieve this, the journal will implement Social Impact labelling and categorization of all published outputs based on internationally-recognised criteria such as the EU Societal Challenges (the priorities of EU Horizon 2020 funding), and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Authors will have the option to choose societal impact badges from a preset list provided by RIO. 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 onto the published output, so that they are clearly seen on the landing page of the work. For the convenience of interested parties, including funders, researchers from relevant disciplines, and readers, it is also possible to search and browse RIO by way of these impact categories.

Read more on how it will work and about the benefits of social impact labelling in this dedicated blog post.

Article Processing Charges

Choose between two pricing options for publishing in RIO


Core prices include the following services

  • Manuscript authoring in the ARPHA Writing Tool
  • Online collaboration with your co-authors and peers during authoring
  • Pre-submission peer-review, organized by the author
  • Technical and editorial checks provided by RIO
  • Reviewable publications in HTML, PDF and JATS XML formats
  • Community-driven post-publication peer-review
  • One revised version of your publication upon request
  • Machine-readable, harvestable content via JATS XML and API
  • Archiving in trusted international repositories

Additional services (optional)

  • RIO-organized post-publication peer-review
  • Publication of additional updated versions
  • Conversion from file to structured manuscript according to RIO standards
  • Linguistic services
  • Tailored PR campaigns
  • Print on demand

Individual Publications: Types and Prices

Publication type

Peer-review process

Recommended size limits

Article Processing Charge

Author-organized pre-submission peer-review
Community post-publication peer-review
RIO-organized post-publication peer-review
Figures or tables

Research ideas

  • Research Idea
  • PhD Project Plan
  • PostDoc Project Plan
  • Small Grant Proposal
  • Data Management Plan (Generic)
  • Data Management Plan (Biosciences)
  • Data Management Plan (NSF Generic)
  • Software Management Plan

€ 190

Grant proposals

  • Grant Proposal
  • DFG Grant Proposal
  • NSF Grant Proposal
  • NIH Grant Proposal
  • FP7 Grant Proposal
  • H2020 Grant Proposal
OptionalYesN/A60,00060€ 650

Brief research outcomes

  • Single-media Publication
OptionalYesN/A1,0001 figure + 1 table€ 50
  • Research Poster
  • Research Presentation
  • Conference Abstract
  • Correspondence
OptionalYesN/A1,00010€ 100

Early research outcomes

  • Project Report
  • Methods
  • Case Study
  • Commentary
  • Data Paper (Generic)
  • Data Paper (Biosciences)
  • Questionnaire
  • Software Description
  • Workshop Report
OptionalYesOptional12,00024€ 450

Research outcomes

  • Research Article
  • Review Article
  • Replication Study
OptionalYesOptional25,00050€ 550


  • Policy/Communication Brief
  • Wikipedia Article
OptionalYesOptional12,00024€ 250

PhD Thesis

  • PhD Thesis
OptionalYesN/A50,000100€ 500

Editorial matters

  • Editorial
  • Book Review
  • Biography
  • Obituary
Not RequiredYesN/A5,00010€ 250

Research Cycle Packages: Types and Prices

Publication types included


Partial research cycle

Research cycle (standard)

PhD project

Large collaborative project

Research idea

Research outcomes

Best if you wish to publish your research ideas earlyBest if you wish to publish only research outcomesBest for researchers and Postdocs who wish to publish a complete research cycleBest for PhD students who wish to publish their entire project from start to finishCollection of several research cycles and outputs for large research projects
  • Research Ideas







  • Grant Proposals







  • Brief Research Outcomes







  • Early Research Outcomes







  • Research Outcomes







  • PhD Thesis







Total number of publications







Price per package






Average price per publication







  • Optional services not included (see separate prices in table below)
  • Upgrades from one package to another possible by paying the difference
  • If our packages are not suitable for your project or the needs of your community – please get in touch, and we will be happy to discuss alternative configurations with you

Optional Services Per Publication

Optional service



RIO-organized post-publication peer-review€ 200Available for many, but not all publication types
Updated version50% of
corresponding APC
One revised version is included in the core price
Conversion from file to ARPHA30% of
corresponding APC
This additional cost can be avoided by writing your manuscript in ARPHA
Linguistic services€ 15 per 1800
Relevant if you want your text to be edited by a native English speaker
Tailored PR campaign€ 300Press release, dedicated media and social networks promotion
Tailored PR campaign + Video interview€ 450Video interview organized by RIO
Paper reprint copiesOn demandCharged at cost

Launch Promotions (Valid for Manuscripts Submitted Before the End of 2016)

Try RIO's new publication types and test the unique features and workflows of ARPHA - RIO's cutting-edge platform for authoring and publishing

Grant Proposals
  • Publish any type of Grant Proposal for FREE if it is still under evaluation or has NOT been accepted for funding 
Brief Research Outcomes
  • One FREE Brief Research Outcome for any type of standard Research Outcome you publish
  • Brief Research Outcomes include: Conference Abstracts, Research Posters and Presentations, Single-media Publications, and Correspondence
Early Research Outcomes
  • Publish any type of Early Research Outcome for FREE
  • Early Research Outcomes include: Project Reports, Methods, Case Studies, Commentaries, Data Papers, Questionnaires, and Software Descriptions
One FREE publication for subject editors
  • For all subject editors appointed by the end of 2016

How It Works

  1. Authoring a manuscript in the ARPHA Writing Tool
  2. Pre-submission technical validation
  3. Pre-submission, author-facilitated peer-review
  4. Submission
  5. Post-submission editorial check
  6. Reviewable publication
  7. Formal peer-review organized by RIO (optional)
  8. Editorial evaluation of a revised version (optional)
  9. Validated publication (optional)
  10. Example scenarios for revisions and validation on the decision date
  11. Publication of updated versions (optional)
  12. Dissemination, harvesting, text and data mining

Authoring a manuscript in the ARPHA Writing Tool 

The manuscripts intended for submission to RIO should be written in the online collaborative ARPHA Writing Tool through flexible article templates to be selected in the tool after clicking on the "Start  a manuscript" button. ARPHA provides a rich set of functionalities, which make the collaborative work of the authors and their peers easy and pleasant. The authoring process in ARPHA is described in fine detail in the Tips and Tricks menu of the writing tool.  

Alternatively, manuscripts can be submitted as text (e.g., MS Word, RTF, ODT) files that shall be converted to the ARPHA publishing platform by RIO’s Editorial Office. Please note that the conversion comes at a small additional cost, therefore the Article Processing Charges (APC) are higher in case the manuscript is submitted as a text file.

There are NO author guidelines in Research Ideas and Outcomes  (RIO) with regard to text formatting. The ARPHA Writing Tool will guide you during the authoring and submission process. Please consider Tips and Tricks if you need some assistance or contact helpdesk@pensoft.net. There are only a few simple rules to follow, so please please read carefully the half page of text below before you start your manuscript:

1. How can I decide which article type to choose?

The article templates in ARPHA are created to facilitate structured publishing of scientific content and ensure discoverability and machine-readability of your work. Please before opening a manuscript in ARPHA visualize the template you want to use by clicking on the Example link of the template to see its structure and ensure it fits your work. You can change the structure of the article template to a certain extent; for example you can add new subsections or change the order of them within the manuscript, however we would recommend to apply such changes only if absolutely necessary. There are also less-structured manuscript templates, which may be used for editorials, correspondence, opinion papers, and others.

2. How can I cite references, figures and tables?

  • Please do not type in-text citations of references, figures or tables manually! The citations will be inserted automatically at the place of your cursor through the "Cite a figure", "Cite a table", "Cite a reference" or "Cite a supplementary material" commands. Once you select the place you want to insert a citation, click on the desired reference, table or figure from the respective list (see next).

  • Before citing a reference, figure, table or supplementary material, you have to upload these, so that they become visible in the respective list of figures, tables, references, or supplementary materials.

  • Please do not number captions of figures or tables – they will be numbered automatically and can be re-ordered, if needed.

  • All uploaded figures, tables and references must be cited in the text and vice versa.

Pre-submission technical validation 

The ARPHA Writing Tool provides automated technical pre-submission validation step to save your time by checking your manuscript for consistency. At any time, you can click on the Validation button at the bottom left of the sidebar to check for technical consistency.

In addition, a pre-submission technical review is performed for all manuscripts in ARPHA by the Editorial Office against formal checklist criteria such as: technical consistency, language, ethical issues, correspondence to the journal’s criteria for publication, focus, and scope. The RIO editors may need to go through several iterations of the technical evaluation process until the manuscript reaches an acceptable level of quality to be submitted to RIO.

Pre-submission, author-facilitated peer-review 

To facilitate and speed up the publication process, authors are expected to source at least one or more external peer-review(s) from specialists in their field, prior to submission to the journal via the ARPHA Writing Tool.

Pre-submission reviewers are to be invited via the "Invite reviewer" button in the ARPHA Writing Tool. The open public peer-review process used in RIO requires all pre-submission author-organized peer-reviews and reviewers' names to be made public together with the article, if the manuscript is accepted for publication. Reviews are also provided with DOIs and are individually citable.

Pre-submission review is mandatory for some publication types and optional for others. "Mandatory" means that a manuscript cannot be submitted to RIO, if not completed with a final review statement from at least one external reviewer. "Optional" means the authors may proceed with submission without external pre-submission review, however in this case they need to provide a public statement to justify their decision by choosing from the following two options:

  • My manuscript has been previously reviewed by: [names of persons or organisations who have supported the publication of the manuscript]
  • My manuscript does not need a pre-submission review: [statement]

Good reasons for not providing pre-submission peer-reviews would be cases when a manuscript has already been positively evaluated, for instance when a grant proposal has been funded, or a PhD thesis has been succesfully defended. Nonetheless, RIO strongly advises authors to provide pre-submission reviews in all cases.

Outputs that must undergo pre-submission peer-review include:
Research Articles, Review Articles, Replication Studies, Methods, Case Studies, Commentaries, Data Papers, Questionnaires, and Software Descriptions.

Outputs for which pre-submission peer-review is optional include* :
Research Ideas, Research Proposals, PhD Project Plans, PhD Theses, Small Grant Proposals, Grant Proposals, Data Management Plans, Software Management Plans, Single-media Publications, Research Posters, Research Presentations, Conference Abstracts, Correspondence, Project Reports, Policy/Communication Briefs, and Wikipedia Articles.

More information on the pre-submission peer-review process may be found on RIO's blog: Peer-review at RIO: Part 1.

* Even though pre-submission review is optional for a few manuscript types, the authors will be strongly encouraged to seek peer-review.


Manuscripts for RIO should be prepared for submission in the ARPHA Writing Tool. Manuscripts submitted in text files (e.g. MS Word or ODT) via the "Upload a Manuscript" button will be converted  into ARPHA by RIO’s Editorial Office at a small additional cost.

During the submission process, the author(s) should:

  1. Submit at least one pre-submission external review, together with the manuscript. This requerement holds for several, but not all article types. For some article types pre-submission review is optional, however authors are strongly advised to provide reviews in all cases. The number of pre-submission reviews is not limited and they can be provided by external reviewers in the online collaborative environment of the ARPHA Writing Tool. As an exception, pre-submission reviews can be submitted as separate files during the submission process, however this practice is not encouraged by RIO.

  2. Suggest a number of additional reviewers in case the author opts for RIO-organized peer-review and validation of the work.

  3. Choose from two types of the review process most suited for the submitted manuscript:

    1. Default: Public, community-driven, peer-review, which leads to a reviewable publication. It is in the hands of the community and the authors to facilitate post-publication reviews.

    2. Optional Extra: After submission and publication online, RIO will formally organize peer-review of the manuscript, with an editorial decision after the journal-organized reviews are published. If the reviews are favourable then the editor will give it the seal of approval: RIO-validation.

  1. Answer a couple of other questions about copyright, authorship, ethical issues, and processing charges.

  2. If desired, one may also select relevant Impact Categories of societal challenges that are pertinent to the manuscript (strongly recommended).

Post-submission editorial check 

In spite of the thorough pre-submission technical checks and validation, all submitted manuscripts will be briefly checked technically and editorially by the RIO Editorial Office and published as reviewable publication within seven working days after submission.

Reviewable publication 

All technically and editorially approved manuscripts will be published as reviewable publications within seven working days after submission, based on (1) Pre-submission external review(s); (2) Pre-submission technical checks in ARPHA; (3) Post-submission editorial check. The reviewable publication becomes online open access, permanently available to read and/or review non-anonymously by the community. All submitted reviews will be published upon submission and will be given their own DOI and are independently citable.

Formal peer-review organized by RIO (optional) 

If selected as an option by the author(s), the journal can arrange formal peer-review of the author(s) published work. If two or more invited reviewers pass the work as acceptable then an editor can then give the work the RIO-validated stamp of approval. The completed reviews are published with their own DOI and are independently citable.  

The formal peer-review process in RIO starts at the time the manuscript is available as a reviewable publication and includes the following subsequent steps:

  1. Author-suggested reviewers  are automatically invited by the system, when the manuscript becomes available as reviewable publication. All author-solicited reviewers are publicly visible as invited by the author and may not opt to stay anonymous.

  2. Authors may suggest an editor who could handle the reviewable publication.

  3. An email alert system and social network broadcasting will notify potential reviewers, who have subscribed to particular research areas of interest to participate in the public review process. The reviewable publication is available for review to any registered user.

  4. Editorial Office assigns a subject editor to the reviewable publication.

  5. Additional reviewers may be invited by the Editor or the Editorial Office. Only journal-invited reviewers may opt to stay anonymous, but the content of their review will be published in full.

  6. In the public peer-review process in RIO the reviewers may choose from two different kinds of review: (1) Formal review and (2) Informal short review. The formal reviews are assigned with DOIs and citation details. Informal short reviews and links to the formal ones are automatically exported to Twitter.

  7. When submitted, reviews are published under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 4.0), they are assigned a DOI and are permanently publicly available online and individually citable‏.

  8. The final decision on validation is taken by the subject editor, or the Editorial Office, and they openly publish a statement justifying one of the following evaluation decisions:

    1. Strong accept

    2. Weak accept

    3. Weak reject

    4. Strong reject

Editorial evaluation of a revised version (optional) 

  1. The author revises and then submits the revised manuscript within ARPHA (not public). The editors and reviewers are notified about this.

  2. Revisions are then discussed between the author, editor and reviewers, internally in ARPHA until the editor takes the final decision, which could be:

    1. Validated: the "Validated publication" stamp is then publicly added to the article landing page and article metadata, in HTML, PDF and XML and undergoes further dissemination.

    2. Not validated:  the article will be permanently available as a reviewable publication, however the revised version can also be published upon author’s request.

Validated publication (optional) 

A reviewable publication can be endorsed as a validated publication, based on the above transparent decision making process, if the following conditions are met:

  1. Acceptably reviewed by at least two reviews, provided by either journal-organized or community-sourced peer-reviewers, including at most one positive pre-submission review (Strong accept or Weak accept)

    1. Deemed worthy of RIO-validation by the assigned editor or editorial office, after having read all RIO-published reviews, with an openly published justifying statement summarizing the decision. Editors decide if published reviews are well-composed and relevant to the validation decision. Not all published reviews necessarily count towards the editorial decision, especially if the review is ill-tempered, illogical, irrelevant or superficial.

  2. On the author-set RIO-validation decision date, the Editor may take the following decisions based upon the supplied reviews:

    1. Validated (the reviews indicated the work is worthy of RIO-validation)

      1. after this decision the authors should confirm the validated version as ready for PDF and XML production and further dissemination, with the possibility to correct only minor copyediting issues.

    2. Not validated yet (the reviews indicated the work is not good enough for RIO-validation)

      1. after this decision the author(s) can revise their work and re-submit that revised version to the RIO-validation endorsement process

    3. Not validated yet (not enough reviews to decide). Extend the decision date 30 days.

Example scenarios for revisions and validation on the decision date 

  1. There are no additional reviews, besides the pre-submission ones: the decision date is automatically reset to a date 30 days in the future at which point another decision will be made.

  2. A sufficient number of reviews are provided (at least two, besides the pre-submission ones):  after reading all the reviews, the editor decides on the basis of the reviews that revision is required before it can be RIO-Validated. The manuscript is sent back to the author for revision and re-submission to the process.

  3. A sufficient number of reviews are provided (at least two, besides the pre-submission ones):  after reading all the reviews, the editor decides the work is acceptable: ‘RIO-Validated’. The manuscript is sent back to the author for final revision and when ready, the author should confirm that the final version is ready for PDF, XML production and further dissemination as a RIO-Validated publication.

  4. A total of three reviews have been provided: after reading all the reviews, the editor publicly justifies by written explanation that some of the reviews are: ill-tempered, illogical, irrelevant or superficial. The editor decides: ‘Not validated yet’ as there is only one acceptable review of the work. Another decision date is set 30 days in the future at which the validation decision will be re-assessed.

  5. A total of five or more reviews have been provided: The editorial decision is NOT necessarily a ‘vote counting’ summarization of all the available reviews. For example, if a minimum of two reviews are generally positive about the contribution of the work, the other three reviews could be overall negative about the work. After reading all the reviews, the editor decides if the work is acceptable for RIO-Validation on the basis of all the evidence presented in all the reviews.

Publication of updated versions (optional) 

At any time, an author may request to publish an updated version of the article, which shall be linked to the first and consequent published versions via CrossMark. By requesting a publication of an updated version, the article will be returned to the ARPHA Writing Tool where the authors and peers can work collaboratively on the updated version.

Dissemination, harvesting, text and data mining 

All publications in RIO are openly licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 and marked up in the Journal Article Tag Suite (JATS), so as to facilitate reuse by automated or machine-assisted processes.

A common objection put forward against publishing the research process in more detail is that there already is a deluge of publications, to the point that it has become very rare for researchers to read all the publications that may be relevant to their research.

We think the answer to this flood of information is not to keep some information hidden, but to structure publications for consumption by both humans and machines, and to have the latter help the former in their appraisal of existing knowledge. This works even better if we publish research workflows in more detail than is customary today.

We provide also several email and RSS alerts that allow for automated notification by subject, funder and type of publication.

Publishing Updated Versions

Authors may revise and update their publications anytime via the "Publish updated version" button. The button is located on the right-hand side of an article underneath any reviews in the Review section. It is visible to the submitting author only (when logged-in).   

Any time an author opts to update a publication, the manuscript is returned to the ARPHA Writing Tool (AWT), where the author can correct it. Upon re-publication the revised article receives a new Digital Object Identifier (DOI), which is permanently linked to the original version through  CrossMark. Post-publication changes are moderated by the RIO editorial team to ensure that updates are legitimate.

RIO authors are allowed to publish one updated version per article for free. Additional updated versions will be charged according to our policies.

RIO Policies

General Statement

The RIO policies and guidelines are mandatory. Exceptions to elements of the policies may be granted in specific cases, but will require justification that will be made public together with the article. 

License and Copyright Agreement

In submitting the manuscript to RIO journal, the authors certify that:

  • They are authorized by their co-authors to enter into these arrangements.
  • The work described has not been formally published before (except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture, review, thesis, or overlay journal), that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere, that its publication has been approved by all the author(s) and by the responsible authorities – tacitly or explicitly – of the institutes where the work has been carried out.
  • They secure the right to reproduce any material that has already been published or copyrighted elsewhere.
  • They agree to the following license and copyright agreement:


Licensing for Data Publication

RIO Journal uses the Creative Commons CC-Zero Waiver, http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ for data in any supplementary materials associated with an article.

Other data publishing licenses may be  allowed as exceptions (subject to approval by the editor on a case-by-case basis) and should be justified with a written statement from the author that will be published with the article.

Open Data and Software Publishing and Sharing

RIO strives to maximize the replicability of the research published in it. Authors are thus required to share all data, code or protocols underlying the research reported in their articles. Exceptions are permitted, but have to be justified in a written public statement accompanying the article.

Datasets and software should be deposited and permanently archived in appropriate, trusted, general, or domain-specific repositories (please consult http://service.re3data.org and/or software repositories such as GitHub, GitLab, Bioinformatics.org, or equivalent). The associated persistent identifiers (e.g. DOI, or others) of the dataset(s) must be included in the data or software resources section of the article. Reference(s) to datasets and software should also be included in the reference list of the article with DOIs (where available). Where no domain-specific data repository exists, authors should dGiteposit their datasets in a general repository such as ZENODO, Dryad, Dataverse, or others.

Small data may also be published as data files or packages supplementary to a research article, however, the authors should prefer in all cases a deposition in data repositories.

Privacy Statement

The names and email addresses present on the journal’s website will be used exclusively for the purposes of the journal.

Author Policies

The Corresponding Author’s Role and Responsibilities are to:

  1. Inform all co-authors of the submission of the manuscript to the journal (note: each co-author will receive a confirmation email upon submission and will need to confirm their authorship).
  2. Manage all correspondence between the journal and all co-authors, keeping the full co-author group apprised of the manuscript progress.
  3. Designate a substitute correspondent for times of unavailability.
  4. Ensure payment of the publication charges at the point of Editorial Acceptance, or before that in case some specific services have been purchased (e.g., conversion to ARPHA or linguistic editing).
  5. Ensure that the manuscript is in full adherence with all RIO policies (including such items as publication ethics, data deposition, materials deposition, etc).
  6. Post Publication: Respond to all queries pertaining to the published manuscript, provide data and materials as requested.
  7. The submission must be created (and completed) by one of the co-authors, not by an agency, or by some other individual who is not one of the co-authors.

RIO adheres to the ICMJE uniform requirements of authorship: All authors on an article must meet these requirements, which are extracted below:

  • "Authorship credit should be based on 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and 3) final approval of the version to be published. Authors should meet conditions 1, 2, and 3.
  • When a large, multicenter group has conducted the work, the group should identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript (3). These individuals should fully meet the criteria for authorship/contributorship defined above, and editors will ask these individuals to complete journal-specific author and conflict-of-interest disclosure forms. When submitting a manuscript authored by a group, the corresponding author should clearly indicate the preferred citation and identify all individual authors as well as the group name. Journals generally list other members of the group in the Acknowledgments. The National Library of Medicine indexes the group name and the names of individuals the group has identified as being directly responsible for the manuscript; it also lists the names of collaborators, if they are listed in Acknowledgments.
  • Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship.
  • All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship, and all those who qualify should be listed.
  • Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.

Open and Public Peer-Review

All reviews submitted to RIO will be made public together with the corresponding publications. Reviewers’ identities are disclosed by default. In rare cases and at the discretion of RIO editors, reviewers may occasionally be permitted stay anonymous. All reviews will be assigned DOIs and citation details, so as to be made individually citable.

Commenting Policies

All public comments follow the normal standards of professional discourse. All commenters are named, and their comments are associated to their RIO profile. RIO does not allow anonymous or pseudonymous commenting or user profiles.

RIO does not tolerate language that is insulting, inflammatory, obscene or libelous. RIO reserves the right to remove all or parts of Comments to bring them in line with these policies. RIO is the final arbiter as to the suitability of any comments.

Conflicts of Interest

RIO requires that all parties involved in a publication (i.e. the authors, reviewers and academic editors) should transparently declare any potential Conflicts of Interest (also known as Competing Interests). The disclosure of a Conflict of Interest does not necessarily mean that there is an issue to be addressed; it simply ensures that all parties are appropriately informed of any relevant considerations while they work on the submission.

Potential Conflicts of Interest should be declared even if the individual in question feels that these interests do not represent an actual conflict. Examples of Conflicts of Interest include, but are not limited to: possible financial benefits if the manuscript is published; patent activity on the results; consultancy activity around the results; personal material or financial gain (such as free travel, gifts, etc.) relating to the work, and so on.

While possible financial benefits should appear here, actual funding sources (institutional, corporate, grants, etc.) should be detailed in the funding disclosure statement.

Funding disclosure

RIO requires that authors declare the funding which made their work possible, including funding programmes, projects, or calls for grant proposals (when applicable).

Ethics and Security Statement

Authors provide an Ethics and Security statement detailing the relevant ethical standards that were met when conducting the research.

Ethics and Security statements are required whenever research is conducted on humans or human tissue; on animals or animal tissue; when conducting field studies; or whenever the approval of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) was required.

Where IRB approval was required, the authors must provide an ethics statement as part of their Materials and Methods section detailing full information regarding their approval (including the name of the granting organization, and the approval reference numbers).​​ If an approval reference number is not provided, written approval must be provided as confidential supplemental file.

'Dual Use Research of Concern' is defined by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) as any "biological research with legitimate scientific purpose that may be misused to pose a biologic threat to public health and/or national security."

If an author, editor or reviewer feels that a submission may be subject to concerns surrounding dual use, then it is incumbent on them to report this concern to staff.

Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement


The publishing ethics and malpractice policies of RIO Journal follow the relevant COPE guidelines (http://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines), and in case a malpractice is suspected, RIO Editors will act in accordance with them.


Research misconduct may include: (a) manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, (b) changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the article.

A special case of misconduct is plagiarism, which is the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

If misconduct is suspected, journal Editors will act in accordance with the relevant COPE guidelines: http://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines.

Should a comment on potential misconduct be submitted by the Reviewers or Editors, an explanation will be sought from the Authors. If this is satisfactory, and a mistake or misunderstanding has taken place, the matter can be resolved. If not, the manuscript will be rejected, and the Editors will impose a ban on that individual's publication in RIO journal for a period of three years.

In cases of published plagiarism or dual publication, an announcement will be made in the journal, explaining the situation.

Appeals and Open Debate

We encourage academic debate and constructive criticism. Authors do not have a right to neglect unfavorable comments about their work and to choose not to respond to criticisms.

No Reviewer’s comment or published correspondence may contain a personal attack on any of the Authors. Criticism of the work is encouraged, and Editors should edit (or reject) personal or offensive statements.

The Author(s) should submit their appeal on editorial decisions to the Editorial Office.

RIO journal encourages publication of open opinions, forum papers, corrigenda, critical comments on a published paper and Author’s response to criticism.


RIO Journal reserves the right to retract articles that are found to be fraudulent or in serious breach of RIO’s policies.

Licensing of the Policies

RIO policies and guidelines are available under a CC-BY 4.0 license.  Parts of the policies are adapted from those used in other Pensoft journals, others are adapted from PeerJ Policies (which are also made available under a CC-BY 4.0 License).

Terms of Use

This document describes the Terms of Use of the services provided by the Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) Journal, hereinafter referred to as "RIO". All Users agree to these Terms of Use when signing up to RIO. Signed RIO Users will be hereinafter referred to as "User" or "Users".

RIO is provided by Pensoft Publishers Ltd.,  "Geo Milev 13A Str., 1111 Sofia, Bulgaria". We as providers will be hereinafter referred to as "the Provider".

The Provider reserves the right to update the Terms of Use occasionally. Users will be notified via posting on the site and by email. If using the services of RIO after such notice, the User will be deemed to have accepted the proposed modifications. If the User disagrees with the modifications, they must stop using RIO services. Users are advised to periodically check the Terms of Use for updates or revisions. Violation of any of the terms will result in the termination of the User's account. The Provider is not responsible for any content posted by the User in RIO.

Account Terms

After an accounts is created for RIO journal the User is automatically signed the ARPHA Platform. Read more about the ARPHA Terms of Use and Account Terms here.

Services and Prices

The Provider reserves the right to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently the services provided by RIO. Plans and prices are subject to change upon 30 days notice from the Provider. Such notice may be provided at any time by posting the changes to the relevant service website.


The User retains full ownership to content uploaded in RIO. We claim no intellectual property rights over the material provided by the User in RIO. However, by setting pages to be viewed publicly (Open Access), the User agrees to allow others to view and download the relevant content. In addition, Open Access articles, being publicly available data, might be employed by the Provider (or anyone) for data mining purposes.

The Provider reserves the rights in their sole discretion to refuse or remove any content that is available via the Website.

Copyrighted materials

Unless stated otherwise, the RIO website may contain some copyrighted material (for example logos and other proprietary information, including, without limitation, text, software, photos, video, graphics, music and sound ("Copyrighted Material"). The User may not copy, modify, alter, publish, transmit, distribute, display, participate in the transfer or sale, create derivative works, or in any way exploit any of the Copyrighted Material, in whole or in part, without written permission from the copyright owner. Users will be solely liable for any damage resulting from any infringement of copyrights, proprietary rights, or any other harm resulting from such a submission.

Exceptions from this rule are e-chapters or e-articles published under Open Access (see below), which are normally published under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license (CC-BY) or Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (CC-BY)

Open access materials

RIO is a supporter of Open Science. Open access to content is clearly marked, with text and/or the open access logo, on all materials published under this model. Unless otherwise stated, open access content is published in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (CC-BY). This particular license allows to copy, display and distribute the content at no charge, provided that the author and source are credited.

Privacy Statement

RIO (and the ARPHA Platform of which the journal is part) collects personal information from Users (i.e. Name, postal and email addresses) only to improve and for the purpose of its services. All personal data will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of the website and will not be made available for any other purpose or to third parties.

Disclaimer of Warranty and Limitation of Liability

Neither Pensoft and its affiliates nor any of their respective employees, agents, third party content providers or licensors warrant that the RIO service will be uninterrupted or error free; nor do they give any warranty as to the results that may be obtained from use of the journal, or as to the accuracy or reliability of any information, service or merchandise provided through RIO.

Legal, medical, and health-related information located, identified or obtained through the use of the Service, is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for qualified advice from a professional.

In no event will the Provider, or any person or entity involved in creating, producing or distributing RIO or the contents included therein, be liable in contract, in tort (including for its own negligence) or under any other legal theory (including strict liability) for any damages, including, but without limitation to, direct, indirect, incidental, special, punitive, consequential or similar damages, including, but without limitation to, lost profits or revenues, loss of use or similar economic loss, arising from the use of or inability to use the journal platform. The User hereby acknowledges that the provisions of this section will apply to all use of the content on RIO. Applicable law may not allow the limitation or exclusion of liability or incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitation or exclusion may not apply to the User. In no event will Pensoft’s total liability to the User for all damages, losses or causes of action, whether in contract, tort (including own negligence) or under any other legal theory (including strict liability), exceed the amount paid by the User, if any, for accessing RIO.

Third Party Content

The Provider is solely a distributor (and not a publisher) of SOME of the content supplied by third parties and Users of RIO. Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed or made available by third parties, including information providers and Users, are those of the respective author(s) or distributor(s) and not of the Provider.

Writing a Press Release

Pensoft’s experienced PR team puts a lot of effort in the wide dissemination of the works we publish through press releases, news aggregators, blogs, social network communication and the mass media.

It goes without saying that press releases and news stories can have a major effect on the impact and popularity of research findings. Moreover, they are of benefit to all parties involved: the authors, their institutions, funding agencies, publishers and the society in general. Thanks to a well-established dissemination network, Pensoft press releases regularly provide the basis for print, online, radio and TV news stories in reputed international media outlets, including National Geographic, BBC, Sky News, CNN, New York Times, The Guardian, Deutsche Welle, Der Standard, DR, etc.

Here are some examples of Pensoft's press releases, posted on EurekAlert, which have enjoyed high popularity and thousands of views within the first days following their publication:

Our PR team invites you to prepare (or request) a short press release on your accepted paper whenever you find your research of public interest. We have provided a template and instructions to guide you through the specific text format.

We are always happy to promote your research by preparing a press release for you and coordinating our dedicated PR campaigns with the PR offices of our partnering institutions. You are welcome to approach us with your press release drafts or any queries regarding our PR campaign via email at either pressoffice@pensoft.net, or dissemination@pensoft.net.

To keep up with the latest news, subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Also, keep an eye on EurekAlert! AAAS for our top breaking stories!


Why did you create such a publishing model?

It is unique, no other journal publishes research proposals or entire research cycles. At RIO, we believe it will provide great value and service to scientists (authors), reviewers, funders, project coordinators, and readers. Many research groups around the world right now are inadvertently performing the exact same research because no one communicates what they intend to do until after they have done it and published a paper about it - on a global scale this is very inefficient. We want to publish the full research cycle all in one place to tackle inefficiencies in the system and ensure that society can gain maximum return on the investment in research.

What distinguishes your journal from scientific repositories and other OA journals?

Perhaps the most obvious uniqueness is that we publish a wider variety of research outputs than most others. We are specifically encouraging researchers to publish their research ideas, grant proposals (be they successfully funded, rejected or under non-public review), PhD and PostDoc project plans, methods and methodologies, protocols, data, software, research and review articles, policy briefs, and many more.

Another unique feature of RIO is that it is based on our end-to-end, fully web-based publishing platform ARPHA, which is the first of its kind and takes you from authoring the manuscript through several stages of peer-review to publication and dissemination in human- and machine-readable formats, all in the same integrated system. The draft is the proof, that is proofreading and correcting happens in real time, and there is no need for intermediary platforms.

The most unique facet of RIO Journal is the option to publish research proposals. Are researchers psychologically ready to take advantage of this option?

Publishing your ideas and proposals is perhaps a step from which many researchers still shy away, and it is certainly nowhere near mandatory at this point. At the same time, opening up science has been on the world agenda for quite a while, and the first months of RIO have shown that the concept of publishing not just research outcomes but more of the research process resonates with many in the research community.

The benefits of this could be numerous. A publication of a research idea or proposal will not only give authors credit for their research early on but will also be beneficial for finding new opportunities for collaboration with colleagues around the world as well as attracting the attention of potential students or funders. Publishing your research from the idea stage onwards may also help establish priority, and it demonstrates your commitment of communicating your research. We expect to publish items from a wide variety of fields, as we are not a subject-specific journal. For example, we have already published grant proposals on topics ranging from nanomaterials to clinical trials to collaborative knowledge management to software engineering.

Finally, we plan to map the research published in the journal to societal challenges, thereby providing funders (as well as journalists, educators, students other researchers and of course the wider public) with a way to browse research by the societal challenges it addresses, in addition to the traditional ways of browsing by discipline, geolocation and timestamp.

Which audience do you want to address with your RIO platform?

RIO is attractive to researchers who ─ like our Advisory Board members and Subject Editors ─ are genuinely interested in communicating research not just within their field but also within the broader research community and with the interested public. RIO’s scope encompasses all areas of academic research, including science, technology, humanities and the social sciences.

RIO brings to the table several key innovations to the scientific publishing process, namely the ability to publish articles along the entire research cycle (not just at the end), an end-to-end integrated authoring/reviewing/publishing platform, and a fast, open review process. In that context, we believe that our platform will resonate with researchers from all fields of science, project coordinators, conference organizers, funders and institutions alike. Here is why:

Authors benefit from fast publication and seamless writing & formatting, project coordinators and conference organizers are able to curate multiple research outcomes, and reviewers can create open and citable reviews. At the institutional level, RIO makes it easier for funders to engage the public with the research they fund and is a great outlet for institutions that are trying to communicate more than just research results. Finally, RIO’s readers will enjoy the benefit of learning not only what researchers have found out, but also how they have done it, and hence can engage with the research process in a deeper way.

RIO is particularly attractive to early-stage researchers who want to sharpen their ideas with feedback from the community, and create new contacts and opportunities for collaboration and funding.

Why might an author consider submitting to RIO Journal instead of other journals offering similar article types?

RIO is not just about accepting different kinds of submissions, it is also about explicitly - and visibly - linking them together across the research cycle; about collaborative peer-review and authoring; about mapping societal challenges; about technical innovation; and about giving authors a wider choice of features they actually want from the journal.

The platform is all about innovation, so along with our unique concept, we offer a whole range of features attractive to the respective user groups. These include a technically advanced and user-friendly collaborative authoring environment as well as next-generation peer review processes, including options for pre-submission and post-publication peer-review.

RIO provides three stages of peer review: (1) Author-organized, pre-submission, (2) community-sourced, post-publication, and (3) journal-organized, post-publication (optional). Reviews will be public by default. All of this serves to cultivate quality and to speed up publication and dissemination.

One of the most advanced features of RIO is what we call an a lá carte publishing model that allows authors to select from various decoupled publishing services to best fit their work and needs.

Additionally, RIO offers the possibility to map research to societal challenges ─ specifically the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ─ in order to inspire multidisciplinary collaboration and engage society with research in more and deeper ways than we see presently.

How does placing special emphasis on the societal impact of an article benefit scientists?

Mapping RIO research to societal challenges was part of the RIO concept from the very beginning. At first, we had planned to categorise research with respect to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). But we soon realised that the newer Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would be more appropriate, so now, people can easily browse RIO’s published articles by SDGs or vice versa. Much of research is required to have some kind of societal impact statement ─ publishing in RIO more clearly highlights this proposed social impact, both to the public and to potential funders who are interested in particular societal challenges.

How can scientists use your platform to support their research and career?

RIO creates a virtuous cycle between allowing scientists to get credit for their work, improving the quality of the scientific process, and shortening the learning curve for young scientists.

By supporting a broad range of publication types, RIO helps people get the due credit for more of the things that they do, e.g. grant proposals, data and software. Grant writing is a skill, and demonstrating that you’re good at it is of value to you and the community. By publishing your entire research cycle with RIO, including the early stages, you can display your work in a more timely and accurate manner than the traditional publication process that hides many of these steps.

In addition, publishing ideas, methods, and early-stage results will enable researchers to get feedback from the community at an earlier stage of their work and increase the quality of their results. This more open and collaborative approach to doing science will also help to reduce inherent biases in the way we do research, encourage the publication of "negative" results, and make it a lot easier to conduct replication studies ─ an important aspect of the scientific process we currently do not emphasise nearly enough.

Finally, RIO’s readers stand to benefit from the wealth of information that is shared on the platform. Young scientists will gain access to best practice in important aspects of the profession such as grant proposal writing, research planning, interim results presentation, science to policy communication briefs, and engaging the public.

What is the intended workload for editors?

An editor’s role would be that of assigning reviewers and overseeing the journal-mediated review process for manuscripts in their area(s). Due to the high degree of automation of the platform, the workload should be lower than at other journals, and the idea is that editors can concentrate on those parts that cannot currently be fully-automated, i.e. reading, commenting and matching reviewers to submissions.

What benefits does RIO offer for reviewers?

By default, all reviews in RIO are made public to ensure that the reviewers’ work is visible and that they can get credit for it. Moreover, RIO assigns DOIs to the reviews, which facilitates their discoverability and citability. On that basis, reviewers readily cooperate, and our editorial board is growing steadily. Reviews are a scholarly output in and of themselves. We want people to be proud of their reviews and to value their intellectual worth, thus we make them publicly available, so they can be read, critiqued and cited by others.

To ensure that reviewers get the necessary credit, RIO is working on integration with platforms specialized in peer review. For instance, if you have a Publons profile and set it to show your reviews by default, reviews you did for RIO will be displayed automatically.

Regarding "public" reviews, do you mean that the review must be signed (i.e. not anonymous), that its content must be open, or both?

We require that the review content is always openly available and that pre-submission reviewers (endorsers) reveal their identity. We will give journal-invited post-publication reviewers the option to remain anonymous, but we encourage signed reviews by post-publication reviewers. Read more on pre-submission peer-review here.

If authors organize themselves a pre-submission peer-review of their paper, is it possible to also arrange a post-publication peer-review?

Yes. All published articles are available for post-publication peer-review, by default. Authors may publish a revised version of their works to consider reviewers’ comments at any time. More on peer-review options is available on our blog:

Part 1 Pre-submission

Part 2 Post-publication

How to guarantee a transparent, open and public peer-review process? Some people worry that if the author can choose peer-reviewers, it might be considered as "cheating".

The best guarantee against cheating or ‘soft’ reviewing is openness. We accept that there will be people who will try to bias or cheat the peer-review process, but with such an open and public publishing system it will be easier to catch fraudulent peer-review.

Some academic journals such as Biology Direct or Copernicus journals have been using open peer-review for nearly 10 years now. Open peer-review without doubt helps maintain quality.

Do you think RIO might have difficulties in putting the new idea of academic publication into practice?

No. Many scientists have already uploaded their research proposals to more basic websites e.g. see here.

Many scientists want to publish non-traditional research outcomes, but do not have an online space that is specifically designed for it - to facilitate peer-review and expert scholarly comments. All RIO articles will be assigned a permanent publication identifier, a DOI, so that they can be cited more easily, listed on CVs, and used to openly demonstrate the quality of prior work. Scientists put a lot of effort into writing research proposals, so RIO provides these scientists with new rewards for all that effort. Moreover, it makes the results of this effort available for anyone to cite and use.

How will readers, and institutional evaluation mechanisms (for promotion or tenure review) differentiate between the validated and non-validated publications?

RIO validated and reviewable publications will be clearly labeled as such and should be apparent for readers and data miners.

How does the ARPHA Writing Tool used by RIO make it easy to cite articles?

The ARPHA Writing Tool uses the ReFindit tool which enables you to find online most papers you want to cite in a manuscript by searching by DOI, PubMed ID, author names, year of publications or titles. Information about this and many other services of the rich editing functionality set of the ARPHA Writing Tool are available in the Tips and Tricks guidelines.

Which fees do scientists have to pay for different kinds of articles and publications?

RIO’s pricing is based on the idea of letting authors choose which services they want, and this is reflected in the Article Processing Charges (APCs) for the different individual publication types. Aiming to promote the publishing of entire research cycles, rather than just single publications, the journal also offers research cycle packages that revolve around the needs of different types of users. At the moment, RIO also offers Launch Promotions to encourage the publication of early research outputs. Any type of Research Idea or Brief Research Outcome is FREE until the end of April 2016.

About Pensoft

History & Overview

Pensoft is an independent academic publishing company, well known among biodiversity scientists worldwide for technologically cutting-edge open access journals, such as: ZooKeys, Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ), PhytoKeys, MycoKeys, Nature Conservation, NeoBiota, and Comparative Cytogenetics. Founded in 1992 in Bulgaria, "by academics, for academics", initially focusing on book publishing, it has grown to become an innovative and leading open access journal publisher. Pensoft has published more than 1000 books and over 4,000 open access articles, mostly in the field of natural history.

Pensoft is a member or partner of: CrossRef, OASPA, CLOCKSS, Research Data Alliance (RDA), OpenAIRE, Dryad Data Repository, GBIF, Encyclopedia of Life, and others.

Pensoft journal content is indexed by: PubMed Central, ISI Web of Science, Scopus, BIOSIS, Google Scholar, DOAJ, Zoological Record, CAB Abstracts, Wikispecies, Vifabio, BHL Citebank, Globalnames, JournalMap and others.


In 2010, Pensoft was the first publisher to implement semantic tagging and enrichment of published articles as a routine editorial practice. The company is actively developing novel tools, workflows and methods for text and data publication, dissemination of scientific information, and technologies for semantic enrichment of content. In 2013, Pensoft launched the first ever end-to-end XML-based authoring, reviewing and publishing workflow, as demonstrated by the Pensoft Writing Tool (PWT) (now upgraded to the ARPHA Writing Tool) and the Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ). The company has also developed several tools for semantic publishing, such as the Pensoft Markup Tool (PMT), Pensoft Taxon Profile (PTP), Pensoft Wiki Converter (PWC), the literature and data discovery tool Refindit.org, and others.


Pensoft is actively looking to expand the subject-scope of its publishing with the launch of Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) - an open access journal that publishes ALL research ideas & outcomes that constitute the research cycle, including: project proposals, data, methods, workflows, software, project reports and research articles. RIO uses a novel collaborative platform integrating manuscript authoring with the most transparent, open and public peer-review process for publishing and dissemination. The scope of RIO encompasses all areas of academic research, including science, technology, humanities and the social sciences.