Scope & Concept

I. Overall Concept

Living Reviews in Computational Astrophysics is a peer-reviewed, full open access, and exclusively online journal, publishing freely available reviews of research in all areas of computational astrophysics. Articles are solicited from leading authorities and are directed towards the scientific community at or above the graduate-student level. The articles in Living Reviews provide critical reviews of the current state of research in the fields they cover. Articles also offer annotated insights into the key literature and describe other available resources. Living Reviews is unique in maintaining a suite of high-quality reviews, which are kept up-to-date by the authors. This is the meaning of the word "living" in the journal's title.

It is central to the concept of Living Reviews in Computational Astrophysics that it be a fully electronic journal, this allows to update its articles regularly and with minimum effort. The journal's reference database provides indexes of useful resources. Thus, in addition to a review journal, Living Reviews can be used by its readers as a database, an encyclopedia, or a resource letter. Living Reviews in Computational Astrophysics aims to become a valuable tool for the scientific community and one of the first places a researcher looks for information about current work in computational astrophysics.

Living Reviews intends to complement, rather than to replicate, existing online journals and resources. It is neither a first-publication journal, nor a collection of electronic monographs or textbooks. Instead, articles are placed at the level of a good plenary review talk at an international conference. Written by experts, reviews published in the journal cite, explain, and assess the most relevant, interesting, and important print and electronic resources in a given field. The articles evaluate existing work, place it in a meaningful context, and suggest areas where more work and new results are needed.

Living Reviews in Computational Astrophysics attracts readers from the entire computational astrophysics community. Graduate students can use the journal to start their initial literature surveys or to learn about fields peripheral to their own; researchers can use it to quickly find out about the most up-to-date results in fields in which they are not current, to track down bibliographic references that they have not recorded, or even to find areas in which their own skills can be applied in a new field; and lecturers can use it to find information and visual materials that can be used in presentations at all levels.

II. Publication Details

The journal is organized into yearly volumes. Articles appear throughout the year, as they are ready for publication. The journal carries no page charges for authors and no subscription fees for users.

Living Reviews is a RoMEO green publisher, i.e., encouraging authors to archive the pre-print and post-print or publisher's version/PDF.

The journal is not distributed on paper in the traditional way. In general, readers access and use Living Reviews online. Individual articles can be downloaded in PDF suitable for printing or in a self-contained set of HTML pages for offline reading.

Free subscription to a mailing list will be used to notify journal users when a new article has been published. Users will not need to subscribe to the Living Reviews mailing list in order to view the articles in the journal.

It is the aim of the editors of Living Reviews in Computational Astrophysics that the full-text articles published therein become accessible as soon as possible via the External LinkAstronomical Data Service (ADS).

III. Electronic Design

To facilitate online reading and browsing, Living Reviews in Computational Astrophysics provides a well integrated viewing environment: pop-up windows give instant access to earlier equations, to footnotes, and to the reference list, special buttons enable citation tracking within the article. Authors are encouraged to include an unlimited number of colorful figures, graphs, and movies in their articles and to create active links to other online resources. Print versions of each article are provided whereby, however, some features of the electronic article may be lost.

One of the main features of Living Reviews is the provision of an online viewing environment. With a print document, a reader tends to follow an author's ideas in a preordained manner. Within an electronic document, a viewer navigates information by following links on an "as-needed" or an "as-desired" basis. Given this dynamic quality, we expect Living Reviews to be used rather than just read. Therefore, a user working with electronic documents needs information to be presented in a way that is easy to assimilate from a computer screen.

All articles appearing in Living Reviews in Computational Astrophysics and all references appearing in those articles, are collated into a searchable reference database. Queries to the database will return active links to cited materials available on the web. Through this, Living Reviews provides a comprehensive way for its users to become aware of and, where possible, to directly access the most important research in the field, even without going through any specific review article.

IV. Article Updates

The key feature of Living Reviews is the concept of a "living" article. This means that we will take advantage of the immediacy of electronic publishing to keep articles as up-to-date as possible, recognizing that it is essential that all articles stay current.

Authors will revise articles as important new research developments occur. These article updates are either

  • treated as new publications, subjected to peer review, and released with a new publication number (major update), or,
  • in case of errata or small, but important additions, are added directly to the original review and marked throughout the article (fast-track revision).
For archival purposes, the previous version of a major update is still listed in the original volume in which it was published.