High impact factor for MPG open access journal

Living Reviews in Relativity second best in its category

July 16, 2010

The open access physics journal Living Reviews in Relativity, published by the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam, has received its first impact factor of 10.600 in the 2009 Journal Citation Reports released by Thomson Reuters on June 17, 2010. The unique review journal already ranks second worldwide in the category Physics, Particles & Fields.

The Journal Impact Factor is one of the most widely used tools for assessing the importance of scientific journals. It allows users to objectively evaluate a journal's performance and its influence on research globally. The impact factor of a journal is the average number of citations to those papers that were published during the two preceding years.

“The founders set out with the goal for the journal to become one of the first places a scientist looks for information about work in the fields of gravitational physics. And we are delighted to have reached the goal of providing this service,” says Prof. Bernard Schutz. The director of the Albert Einstein Institute, initiator and Editor-in-Chief of Living Reviews in Relativity adds, “the successful adaptation of the concept in other scientific fields is an additional confirmation of our idea.”

Living Reviews were initiated by Bernard Schutz in 1998. The concept of 'living' articles is taking advantage of web-based electronic publishing, allowing authors to frequently incorporate the latest developments and research findings by updating their reviews. To ensure high-quality scientific content, all articles are subject to peer review and solicited by an international editorial board from experts in their fields.

Today, Living Reviews in Relativity maintains 68 topical reviews, which have been cited more than 4,800 times by other authors. The journal has become one of the first places scientists look for information about work in the fields of gravitational physics. Its successful concept was adopted by other publications in various fields ranging from astronomy to political science. Currently, five Living Reviews journals are published by partners from the Max Planck Society, the Austrian Academy of Sciences and ECSA, the Leibniz Association, and the ETH and the University of Zurich. Beside Living Reviews in Relativity these are:

Living Reviews in Solar Physics

Living Reviews in European Governance 

Living Reviews in Landscape Research

Living Reviews in Democracy


In recent years scientists and scientific organizations worldwide, among them the Max Planck Society, have been successfully campaigning for unrestricted (i.e. open) access to scientific information. With twelve years of experience in publishing high quality scientific content freely available on the Internet, Living Reviews in Relativity is certainly one of the pioneering projects. Its founders continue to be actively engaged in the ongoing discussion following the “Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities” and related initiatives.

To guarantee continuous high quality of the journals, each one has an editorial board of international scientists, and articles undergo peer review before publication. The technological possibilities of the Internet are ideal for presenting scientific content and additional material (e.g. movies, images, program code, etc.). The specially developed software (web publishing, databases, workflow) supports the publication process and is freely available for re-use.

Living Reviews in Relativity was developed at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics. The development of the journal has been supported by Heinz Nixdorf Foundation and Max Planck Digital Library.

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