News Release

Publishing at the speed of research

GigaScience and River Valley Technologies announce their collaboration to publish scientific research in a rapid and modular fashion

Business Announcement


Today, the open-access, open-data journal GigaScience and the technology and publishing services company River Valley Technologies announce a new partnership to deliver a research publishing process that is extremely rapid, low-cost, and modular. As a pioneer of open data and open science publishing, GigaScience brings editorial expertise in publishing research that includes all components of the research process: data, source code, workflows, and more. River Valley Technologies, with 30 years of expertise in publishing production, delivers an end-to-end publishing solution, including manuscript submission, content management and hosting, using its collaborative online platforms. The collaboration is developing a publishing process that, in addition to providing on-the-fly article production, will create more interactive articles that can be versioned and forked.

The current scientific publishing process is heavily labor and time intensive for authors, reviewers, and editors. It is a multi-step routine that includes writing an often lengthy manuscript, finding a journal, peer-reviewing the content, and finally publishing in an online and, in many cases, print format. This process has not significantly changed in decades. Each of these publication stages -- the majority non-automated -- can result in the time between research completion to final publication taking months to years. Traditional publishing practices are therefore completely unsuitable for releasing information in rapidly changing fields and for releasing data and software tools that in practice are continually updated. This initiative aims to address as many of these bottlenecks as possible -- and will continue to evolve, fine tune, and reduce time and cost with new publishing strategies and technologies as they move forward.

GigaScience's current editorial workflow has focused on changing the research article from a stagnant narrative to one that includes formerly inaccessible elements (data, source code, workflows, etc.) that underlie the narrative. By including and interlinking these elements, a scientific article becomes something that is not only more reproducible, but is also interactive, with readily reusable resources to build on. The in-house construction and use of GigaScience's open database, GigaDB, that can host all the data associated with the research article, was the first step toward creating this type of article. Given their history of publishing all the components of research along with the narrative describing the research, the team at GigaScience is now looking toward creating a new type of journal, with articles that are short, focused, and less complex-- drastically reducing the time needed for writing and peer review. Further, these articles will have a more modular format -- allowing them be versioned, updated, and forked. The goal is to make article publication a more interactive (and living) process.

Changes on the editorial side of a publishing platform alone are not enough to bring current scientific publishing processes into the 21th century. Substantial changes to manuscript submission and article publishing processes are essential. Enter River Valley Technologies which offers novel publishing platforms that far surpass, both in design and in technology, current publishing workflows -- many of which were established back when journals first went online in the late 1990s. The platforms delivered by River Valley Technologies form an end-to-end, fully automated XML-based system that can seamlessly ingest submitted manuscripts and convert them into an XML online format as well as highly accessible HTML, PDF, and other formats. Minimal human intervention and administration are required, unlike traditional production processes that require extensive administrative resources, adding weeks to the final publication date of an accepted manuscript.

GigaScience's Executive Editor, Scott Edmunds, explained that it would be impossible to achieve the changes the GigaScience team envisions for new journal development without partnering with River Valley Technologies. "In our seven years of pushing the boundaries of scientific publishing, our biggest frustration has been trying to work around legacy publishing obstacles. Working with River Valley Technologies -- with their state-of-the-art, forward-thinking platforms -- will finally allow us to put all our new ideas into practice."

River Valley Technologies' Director, Kaveh Bazargan, said: "Our mission has always been to accelerate scholarly communication and to make the publishing process more efficient and more transparent. We are excited to be working with GigaScience, a journal that is not afraid to challenge the established norms of the industry and to use our systems to their full potential."

The collaboration's first product will be the launch of a new scientific research journal, GigaByte, in 2020, which will allow extremely rapid publication of short articles focused on non-complex data sets and rapidly evolving research computational tools and technologies. The articles in this journal will be able to be versioned and forked to allow researchers to add new data and information to an article over time without having to completely rewrite the article.


Contact Information


Dr. Scott Edmunds
Executive Editor, GigaScience, BGI Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3610 3531
Cell: +852 9249 0853

River Valley Technologies:

Maryam Bazargan, Director

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About GigaScience:

GigaScience is co-published by BGI and Oxford University Press. The journal covers research that uses or produces 'big data' from the full spectrum of the life sciences. It also serves as a forum for discussing the difficulties of and unique needs for handling large-scale data from all areas of the life sciences. The journal has a completely novel publication format -- one that integrates manuscript publication with complete data hosting, and analyses tool incorporation. To encourage transparent reporting of scientific research as well as enable future access and analyses, it is a requirement of manuscript submission to GigaScience that all supporting data and source code be made available in the GigaScience database, GigaDB, as well as in publicly available repositories. GigaScience will provide users access to associated online tools and workflows, and has integrated a data analysis platform, maximizing the potential utility and re-use of data.

About River Valley Technologies

River Valley's mission is to accelerate scholarly communication. The company aims to streamline the publishing process through automation and easy-to-use platforms, helping STM societies and publishers manage their content more efficiently and deliver content to readers faster and more cost-effectively. Developed in-house, River Valley's proprietary platforms address the pain points felt by stakeholders, from researchers preparing their manuscripts to publishers requiring perfect XML. The system deals with all admin, allowing clients to focus on creating content. River Valley was established in 1988 by Kaveh Bazargan. A physicist by training, his intense interest in the emerging area of desktop publishing led him to start the company with the mission of delivering cutting edge solutions to academic publishers. Some 10 years ago, the company pioneered the first online authoring system and today boasts a number of publishing platforms, including: RVRite for collaborative authoring; ProofCheck for author proof checking; RVFormatter for automated conversion of XML to PDF; and ReView for intuitive peer review. With Head Office in London and 3 offices in India, River Valley supports clients across EMEA, the USA and Asia. Clients include Cambridge University Press, The IET, De Gruyter, IOS Press, American Physical Society, The Sphere Association and IOP Publishing.

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