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'Living books' aim to break down barriers

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A series of 21 ‘living books’ has been launched online as part of an initiative designed to provide a bridge between the humanities and the sciences. The books, which have been written and produced by humanities scholars around the world, re-package and re-present open-access science-related research material to make it more accessible to a humanities audience.

The books include interactive maps, podcasts and audio-visual materials. In addition, the partner institutions working on the project – Coventry University, the University of Kent and Goldsmiths, University of London – are said to have ‘rethought’ the conventional book by developing a new, low-cost and sustainable model for creating, publishing and sharing content. Each volume in the Living Books About Life series is a ‘living’ medium itself, able to be updated by readers through ongoing collaborative processes of writing, editing, remixing and commenting. 

The Living Books About Life series is funded by JISC and published by the Open Humanities Press (OHP).

Alastair Dunning, programme manager at JISC, said: 'By drawing only on open-access material to create these ‘Living Books about Life’, the team is helping define a new era of scholarly communication – and thereby exploiting JISC’s vision to make the results of publicly-funded research available to all.'