Published: Jan. 9, 2019 By

The header image for the Living Journal of Computational ScienceWith the launch of the Living Journal of Computational Molecular Science (LiveCoMS), academic publishing continues to evolve in the digital age. ChBE Associate Professor Michael Shirts is one of the researchers behind the project, working with initial funding and support provided by the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries.


Shirts helped found LiveCoMS, a new peer-reviewed, open access journal that allows computational molecular science researchers to update their papers on a regular basis to keep up with advances in the field.


Computational molecular science research requires a great amount of background knowledge and expertise in a multitude of scientific fields—fields that advance faster than textbooks and traditionally published papers can keep up. In a print journal or traditional online venue, once a paper is finalized and published, it becomes static. Papers on LiveCoMS are different in that they become “living documents,” meaning that the authors can continue to edit, update and share their work.


“A special part of LiveCoMS is the updateable nature of articles,” Shirts said. “In fact, we expect articles to be updated to maintain their value to the community. Our authors commit to this when they publish with us.”


Authors publishing on LiveCoMS are encouraged to update their publications once a year to once every few years. This can save authors and researchers significant time and effort and spare them from having to rewrite or restate established findings when providing new guidance, while also helping them continue to get credit for their publications. Additionally, authors keep copyright for their articles, and the submission cost of $100 is much lower than many other open access journals.


“The journal incentivizes work that is critical for the community but formerly unrewarded—in particular, tutorials that provide step-by-step guides so crucial for beginners, or explanations of how to perform complicated simulations correctly,” Shirts said.


The University Libraries supported the project through an initial seed grant, and CU Boulder is the publisher of record for the journal.


“The Libraries strongly support making research more widely and rapidly available via open access journals like LiveCoMS,” said Assistant Professor Andrew Johnson, Head of Data and Scholarly Communication Services. “We are excited to help researchers like Professor Shirts and his colleagues succeed in their efforts to create innovative and sustainable models for disseminating scientific research.”


Learn more about LiveCoMS by reading the editorial in the first issue Why we need the Living Journal of Computational Molecular Science.”


Read more coverage on the launch here.