Living Handbooks are published on following terms:

If you are interested in publishing your book on gms Living Handbooks, please contact the editorial office.


The concept behind Living Handbooks is to provide electronic, readily available and up to date information that is free of charge and addresses all aspects of the treated subject. Furthermore, since the aim is to represent a collective and universal knowledge base, all knowledgeable experts are invited to participate and contribute.

Aims and responsibilities

The portal Living Handbooks within the German Medical Science (GMS) is the interdisciplinary portal of the German National Library of Medicine ZB MED - Information Centre for Life Sciences. Developed in cooperation with the Association of the Scientific Medical Societies in Germany (AWMF) it offers open access to peer-reviewed life sciences handbooks and it offers all scientists from the field of life sciences the possibility to publish their handbook with all aspects concerning basics, methods, practical examples, incl. audio-visual media for i.e. visualizing procedures, presenting results.

Within the bounds of its technical and organizational possibilities, gms ensures:

  • Sustainable and open access to the publications
  • Citeability via persistent identifiers (DOI)
  • Dissemination of the publications via national and international databases
  • Support and help desk for editors, authors, reviewers
  • Copy editing and editing of figures and tables
  • (Handling of supplementary material and research data)
  • Marketing support: flyer model; presentation at conferences and on social media.

Technical maintenance, long-term availability and security

A strategy for digital long-term archiving of the Living Handbooks contents in a national context is currently being developed by a project within the Goportis network. Via the Goportis network, gms is also connected to international initiatives in the field of long-term archiving. Each document receives distinct persistent identifiers (DOI - Digital Object Identifier) in order to make permanent and location-independent referencing possible. Alterations to a document will be visibly documented by different versions.

Indexing and coverage by databases

The documents are recorded bibliographically by structured metadata in XML format according to the Dublin Core standard. They are published within the GMS portal at

The documents will be covered by several national and international databases and search engines, e.g. LIVIVO.

Publication types and user groups

Within Living Handbooks, peer-reviewed books from different areas of life sciences are published. The subject-specific books edited by a scientific community publish comprehensive handbooks (mostly in English) and audio-visual media to illustrate the treated subject.

Quality control is assured by the editorial board. For the submissions and peer review processes, Living Handbooks provides an online manuscript management system. There are special requirements for submitted manuscripts described in the manuscript guidelines.

GMSis open for launching new Living Handbooks (contact form).

Financing and funding

The - moderate - costs are covered by the editors of the respective Living Handbook, e.g. by acquiring sponsors for the project (deducting of tax in several countries). Companies can join as sustaining members. The logos of these companies can be found at the website at a common banner under “Sustaining members”.

Open access / creative commons

All publications within the GMS portal are published open access under the Creative Commons license CC-BY-SA 4.0 ( They can be shared - copied and redistributed in any medium or format - and adapted - remixed, transformed, and built upon the material - for any purpose, even commercially, under the following terms: You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.

As originator of the work, the author retains the copy right. He only transfers the basic, non-exclusive right to online publication and to electronic storage in databases. For more information, please read the author's contract.

Open access means free online access for interested readers, it neither rules out printouts by the users nor printed archives for back-ups or permanent storage.

Open access books may make use of the same quality assurance mechanisms as the traditionally printed books. Decisive is, who is involved with which criterion/standards in the process of publication and publishing - whereby the media itself (print vs. online) and the costs (chargeable vs. freely accessible) are unimportant.

Data protection and liability

Author's contract

§ 1 Subject matter of the contract

  1. The subject of this contract is the submitted work of the author.
  2. The author ensures, that he owns the rights of public performance, broadcasting and communication to the public, and making available to the public. He further ensures, that he made no legal concessions that oppose to the provisions of this contract. This also applies to the standard texts or master illustrations supplied by the author and whose rights of use he holds. If he offers German Medical Science standard texts or master illustrations for which this does not apply, or where it is uncertain if this applies, then he has to inform German Medical Science about it and about all recognizable legally relevant facts known to him. German Medical Science will take the appropriate measures.  
  3. The author is obligated to point out to German Medical Science in writing if the work includes interpretations from persons or incidents with which the risk of an infringement of personal rights is connected. He ensures immediate notification of the service provider in case of doubt or of alleged or actual legal hindrances.

§ 2 Rights and obligations

  1. The author transfers to German Medical Science the non-exclusive basic right of duplication and circulation of machine readable data media and their safeguard media.
  2. The author transfers to German Medical Science the non-exclusive right to electronically store the submitted work in databases and web pages, to make the submitted work available to the public for individual requests and display on the monitor. This also comprises the right to notify and transfer the work to third parties e.g., within the framework of national collection mandates, including, but not limited to, the purpose of long-term archiving.
  3. The author transfers to German Medical Science the right to copy and to convert the submitted work  for archiving purposes into additional, different electronic or physical formats. When doing so, impairments which are suitable to endanger the content’s integrity or the intellectual and personal rights of the author on the work are to be omitted.
  4.  (German Medical Science grants an online-access-right to the author pertaining to his work that is stored in the database.)

§ 3 Fees

The author does not receive a fee for his work.

§ 4 Author designation, copyright-note

  1. German Medical Science is obligated to appropriately identify the author as originator of the work.
  2. German Medical Science is obligated to attach the copyright note with the publication of the work in the sense of the Universal Copyright Convention.
  3. The author agrees that German Medical Science publishes his work under a „Creative Commons Attribution – Share alike - 4.0 Unported" license ( They can be shared - copied and redistributed in any medium or format - and adapted - remixed, transformed, and builded upon the material - for any purpose, even commercially, under the following terms: You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.

§ 5 Warranty

The Author warrants to GMS that the submitted article does not infringe the copyright or any other proprietary or intellectual property rights of any person. The author shall indemnify and hold the Licensee harmless from and against any loss, damage, costs, liability and expenses (including reasonable legal and professional fees) arising out of any legal action taken against GMS claiming actual or alleged infringement of such rights. This indemnity shall survive the termination of this contract for any reason. This indemnity shall not apply if GMS has amended the submitted article in any way not permitted by this contract.

§ 6 Final clause

If not regulated by this contract, the general legal provisions of law of the Federal Republic of Germany apply. The invalidity or inefficacy of individual regulations of this contract does not affect the validity of the remaining regulations. The parties are then obligated to replace the deficient regulation by such a regulation whose economic and legal sense comes closest to that of the regulation to be replaced.