Living Books About Life is a series of curated, open access books about life — with life understood both philosophically and biologically — which provide a bridge between the humanities and the sciences. Produced by a globally-distributed network of writers and editors, the books in the series repackage existing open access science research by clustering it around selected topics whose unifying theme is life such as air, agriculture, bioethics, cosmetic surgery, electronic waste, energy, neurology and pharmacology.
By creating twenty one ‘living books about life’ in just seven months, the series represents an exciting new model for publishing, in a sustainable, low-cost manner, many more such books in the future. These books can be freely shared with other academic and non-academic institutions and individuals. Taken together, they constitute an engaging interdisciplinary resource for researching and teaching relevant science issues across the humanities, a resource that is capable of enhancing the intellectual and pedagogic experience of working with open access materials.
All the books in the series are themselves ‘living’, in the sense that they are open to ongoing collaborative processes of writing, editing, updating, remixing and commenting by readers. As well as repackaging open access science research — along with interactive maps, visualisations, podcasts and audio-visual material — into a series of books, Living Books About Life is thus engaged in rethinking ‘the book’ itself as a living, collaborative endeavour in the age of open science, open education, open data and e-book readers such as Kindle and the iPad. The book that I worked on, along with Janneke Adema, explored the way that concepts and ideas around the theme of Symbiosis can be applied to a number of areas within the (digital/networked) humanities.
Living Books About Life is a collaboration between Open Humanities Press and three academic institutions: Coventry University, Goldsmiths, University of London, and the University of Kent. Funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), and published by Open Humanities Press (OHP) (http://openhumanitiespress.org). The Editors of the series are Clare Birchall (University of Kent), Gary Hall (Coventry University), Joanna Zylinska (Goldsmiths, University of London). Other members of the project team include Sigi Jőttkandt (Open Humanities Press), David Ottina (Open Humanities Press) and myself (Coventry University).