Category Archives: Product/Service Updates

QScience selects Rubriq to provide peer review for its 15+ journals


The Rubriq team is excited to announce a new relationship with QScience. Although we continue to be a service focused on helping individual authors, the QScience journals will now also be direct customers of Rubriq. We will provide standardized peer review for their incoming submissions, and effectively remove the connection between peer review and revenue that can cause controversy for Gold OA journals.

Here is the full news release:

International open access publisher Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation has announced a new partnership with Rubriq, complementing its own peer review process for journals on with Rubriq’s ground-breaking scorecard, a standardized, independent peer review tool, developed to speed publication and increase trust in the peer review process.

While Rubriq will provide an independent peer review of submitted research, the editors-in-chief of each journal will retain control over which papers are ultimately accepted or rejected and base these decisions on both the evaluation of Rubriq reviewers and the particular scope of the journal in question. There are more than 15 journals available through, from specialized-topic journals to the multidisciplinary journal QScience Connect.

Although Rubriq will supplement the existing review process for more traditionally-structured journals, it will completely replace the peer review management process for QScience Connect, where editors will make decisions based solely on feedback provided in the Rubriq scorecard.

“This is a bold new step in the future of open access,” said Arend Kuester, Managing Director at QScience. “QScience prides itself in offering a fast, transparent and innovative open access publishing process that is centred on the author bringing his or her research to a global audience. This partnership will vastly improve that process, removing any potential conflict of interest in the reviewing process. And as the volume of submissions increase, the new process will also establish a consistent, high-quality standard of professional peer review and ensure that authors continue to receive responses within a reasonable time frame.”

“This partnership represents a significant step forward to the way in which scholarly publishers, authors and researchers come to think about peer review,” said Rubriq Co-Founder and Managing Director Keith Collier. “It is a paradigm shift that separates the peer review process from the actual publishing; eliminating major inefficiencies while validating Rubriq’s core belief that there should be a faster way to publish trusted research.”

Rubriq is designed to help individual authors make critical changes to their manuscript before submission and select the best journal for their work. This relationship demonstrates how journals can also use Rubriq to improve the publishing process. Outsourcing can enable journals to better manage the costs, quality and transparency of the peer review process.

The foundation of the Rubriq system is a web-based network that can handle large volumes of manuscript submissions. Using its proprietary software, Rubriq matches and assigns submissions to the appropriate peer reviewers, who utilize the patent-pending scorecard Rubriq uses to provide standardized, structured reviews. Rubriq also provides journal recommendations, using the reviews and software to match submitted papers to appropriate journals by keywords, as well as the impact and quality of the papers as assessed by the reviewers.

According to Arend Kuester, QScience represents an ideal partner for Rubriq’s standardized, independent peer review scorecard as it has a reputation as an innovator that is always looking for ways to improve the publishing process. QScience was launched by a team with traditional publishing backgrounds in 2010. They sought the opportunity to create global journals with the freedom to leapfrog established publishing processes and technologies.

QScience’s focus on open access is also a good fit for Rubriq. Open access has been criticized by some for its potential for conflicts of interest or lower-quality (and sometimes non-existent) peer review. By using a tested, standardized, and independent peer review service like Rubriq, any journal can be assured of receiving unbiased, high-quality evaluations of research.

“Our relationship with QScience allows us to demonstrate the potential for Rubriq and the rigor of our peer review process in ‘gold’ open access through a real-life scenario, rather than just theory,” concludes Rubriq’s Collier. “It is a platform from which we can attract the interest of other individual journals, as well as thought leaders in scholarly publishing.”, a Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development initiative, already hosts 14 scholarly journals that cover diverse subjects including information and library studies, sustainable energy, education, medicine and bioscience, Middle Eastern healthcare, design, and Islamic studies. Additional journals are scheduled for launch later this year.


If you have any questions, or are a journal interested in discussing a similar relationship, please email us at

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Beyond Biology: Rubriq scorecards for new fields

scorecardzSome of the first questions we heard after launching Rubriq were “but what about [my area of study]”? We designed the original Rubriq scorecard (see a sample here) specifically for biological and medical sciences, but hoped to eventually expand into other areas. A new partnership project with our sister company AJE prompted us to move up our timeline.

Since most of our team members have a life sciences background, we found outside experts in other fields to help us customize the new scorecards. We are happy to announce that we have created customized Rubriq scorecards for the following fields:

  • Social Sciences: Qualitative
  • Social Sciences: Quantitative
  • Humanities
  • Physical Sciences
  • Math and Computer Sciences
  • Engineering and Materials Science
  • Statistical Analysis “add-in” component (for any scorecard)

The full Rubriq Report contains three components: the scorecard, the iThenticate plagiarism report, and a custom journal recommendation. However, the journal recommendations are based on our ability to do advanced searches of all the published literature. Right now we can easily do that with all fields covered by PubMed, but don’t yet have the same access in other areas of study. So for these new papers we are not yet able to provide journal recommendations.  As part of our development of the new JournalGuide tool, we are expanding our article databases in these new areas. Once those are complete, we will be able to provide journal recommendations.

Although the new scorecards were only recently added to our system, Rubriq has already received manuscripts in all of the new fields. Moving into new areas is exciting, but also means that we need to expand our search for reviewers. Although more than 1,000 reviewers have already signed up with Rubriq, very few are outside our original scope. So if you have colleagues in these newly added areas of study, let them know that we’re looking for reviewers! They can visit our site to see the requirements, and can send any questions to

— Lisa Pautler, Director of Marketing

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Some updates about Research Square (our parent company)

RSQ-featuredResearch Square is the parent company of Rubriq, AJE, and JournalGuide. Our combined team of researchers, software developers, publishing industry veterans and other specialists recently moved to a fantastic new office in downtown Durham. You can read more about it here. We’re planning an official ribbon-cutting ceremony before the end of the year. If you’re in the Raleigh/Durham area and would like to join us, drop us a line at!

Research Square was recently the recipient of several awards, highlighting both our overall growth as well as the workplace itself. We received multiple distinctions from Inc. Magazine, including membership on the prestigious Inc. 5000 list and the Inc. Hire Power award. The Hire Power designation ranks us in the top 10 of North Carolina companies creating new jobs, as well as the top 10 in our category.

In addition to accolades from Inc. Magazine, we were also listed in the Triangle Business Journal Fast 50, which highlights the fastest growing private companies in the area. But we don’t just get honors for growth. Research Square was also recognized for our family-friendly work culture. Carolina Parenting, which owns Carolina ParentCharlotte Parent and Piedmont Parent, highlights companies that support and encourage working parents in North Carolina. They selected Research Square for their 2013 N.C. Family-Friendly 50 Companies list.

As part of the Research Square family, our Rubriq team has been spending quite a bit of time helping our fledgling sister brand, JournalGuide. Although the public launch is expected by January, you can see our beta now on In addition to helping to create JournalGuide, the Rubriq team also recently integrated the Rubriq scorecard into the new Scholarly Editing Assistant site offerings. This new site is a collaboration primarily between our sister company AJE and Thomson Reuters. We have also been working on some special projects working directly with journals. Look for updates about our brand new projects as well as more information on our work with Thomson Reuters here on our blog in the weeks to come!

Lisa Pautler, Director of Marketing

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Phase Two of Beta is Here!

We are excited to announce that Rubriq has successfully completed the first phase of beta testing, and the second phase is now underway!

As of this second phase, a total of eight publishers are now providing feedback on all aspects of the Rubriq report and system, and will help develop the features and options designed for journal editors. You can find out more about journals in the Rubriq network on our new Journals page.

This second phase of the Rubriq beta launch introduces two new services for authors in addition to the Rubriq scorecard. The first is a plagiarism check. Rubriq has selected iThenticate to provide a complete plagiarism report, as it is widely recognized as the industry standard. This will not only help authors resolve any issues prior to submission, but can also be attached to a manuscript for use by any journal.

The second new service is the journal recommendation report. After the scorecard is completed, a list of journals is compiled that most closely matches the paper’s scores and content.  These data-driven suggestions are then checked for accuracy and relevance by a Rubriq team member who is experienced in journal selection, and who is also a published researcher.  Authors will be able to filter and sort all of these journal recommendations by their own preferences, and therefore can make a well-informed decision about the best place to submit for a higher likelihood of success. 

Rubriq is also expanding from its initial three areas of study (immunology, cancer research, and microbiology) to cover over 200 biological and medical fields. Information about journals in these fields has been compiled into a proprietary database, which is used in the journal recommendation process.

Selected journals will soon receive invitations to claim their profiles, update their data, and become active in the Rubriq network. There is no cost for journals to join or participate in the Rubriq network. Journals that do not receive invitations by the end of April can request membership on the Rubriq website using this request form.

We are now accepting manuscript submissions, and continue to welcome new reviewers to the Rubriq network from all STM fields. The Rubriq team thanks its beta partners and Advisory Panel for their feedback and insights that have brought us to this new chapter. 

Lisa Pautler, Director of Marketing / @RubriqNews

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The First Week of Rubriq

It’s our first week with a live beta service, and we weren’t sure what to expect since we’re getting close to the holidays. But we’ve been excited to see over 300 reviewer applications and close to 200 author account signups since announcing the service.  It’s exceeded our expectations.

We also added a great new member to our Advisory Panel this week – Cheryl Shanks, President of Salient Content.  I had the pleasure of working with Cheryl when she oversaw peer review operations for the American Chemical Society.  Her experience and insight on scholarly publishing will be a great asset to Rubriq. 

I’m also pleased to announce we will be participating in both the AAP/PSP and SSP conferences in the first half of 2013.  Active, two-way discussions about Rubriq at these events help inform the direction of the service and I want to thank the organizers for their invitations. 

January looks to be a busy and exciting month.   We will be working closely with publishers participating in our beta tests and continuing to develop the Journal Recommendation and Matching components of Rubriq. 

Thanks to everyone who is spreading the word about Rubriq!  And best wishes for a happy, healthy holiday and New Year!




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The Official Launch of Rubriq

After nearly a year of research and countless interviews with principle investigators, postdocs, journal editors, publishers, funders, and industry experts, we are finally ready to make our plans known publicly.

It’s great to finally launch our website and share our ideas and plans with the world. It’s been interesting to hear the reaction to Rubriq over the last few months. Nearly everyone we’ve spoken with agreed that there is a big problem in scientific publishing. It’s simply inefficient – on a massive scale. The result is an unnecessary tax of time and energy on the entire global research community. 

The good news is we don’t have to start over with a completely new publishing model to address the problem.

Our idea is simple.  Let’s keep the traditional peer review approach that (although not perfect) is time-tested as the best method for ensuring we protect the scientific record.  But let’s just do it outside of the lens of any one journal.  An independent, and standard approach that all journals could leverage to make better, faster decisions about what to peer review or publish.

It would bring consistency, transparency, and speed to a system known for its sluggishness, opacity, and redundancy.  We also believe it would open up new innovations within the scholarly publishing industry.

By creating a pre-publication metric (the R-score) on the quality and interest of an article that can be used by authors and editors, we can all make better decisions and save time.

We hope you explore the site, ask questions, help beta test, and inform where we take this service. We don’t claim to have all the answers, but are willing to engage any and all who want to improve scholarly publishing.  We hope you join us!

Keith / @keithecollier

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