A living journal profits from the fact that it is relatively easy to update its texts online. The dynamics of research make this particularly interesting for scientific reviews.
Using this as a basis, the political science network CONNEX founded a new type of scientific journal entitled Living Reviews in European Governance (LREG).
Electronic reviews remain up to date
In Living Reviews articles are published online only and are linked to an ever-growing bibliographical database. The term "living" stems from the idea that articles in an electronic journal can be constantly updated.
Reviews are articles which give an overview and discuss the state of our knowledge in a research area on the basis of the scholarly literature already published. They also point to gaps that need to be addressed. However, because research continues to develop, a review published on paper is only up-to-date for a short period of time .
An idea worth spreading
This exciting idea of "living reviews" was initially developed by the Albert Einstein Institute for Relativity, a member of the Max Planck Society (MPG), which publishes a journal entitled Living Reviews in Relativity. The MPG's Centre for Information Management (ZIM) provides the open-source software needed to edit such a journal. Our aim was to apply this idea to the social sciences.
The ITA contributed its expertise in the field of electronic publishing and new forms of knowledge representation to LREG. We advised our partners on how to set up the EUROGOV Papers – an online series of working paper–, how to adapt the concept and how to implement it in technical terms. In the second phase, we were involved in evaluating and analysing the transfer of this well-established idea from the natural sciences to the social sciences. Our aim was to find out whether it was possible and what consequences it might have in the new area of research.