Trillium Report

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The Trillium Report is a German medical journal dealing with innovation management in medicine. Its special focus is on recent developments in biomedical technologies, life sciences, bioinformatics, and healthcare systems (e.g. managed care in Europe). The most interesting aspect of the journal, however, is its pioneering approach to supervised collaborative writing.


Collaborative Writing

The Trillium Report has been the first medical journal in Germany using the Wiki technology for collaborative writing since 2005. The user interface looks very much like that of Wikipedia, but the mechanisms of knowledge management are different in two respects:

  • Access is limited to invited authors, and the process is supervised by a team of editors.
  • An automatic messaging system makes sure that at least two authors get informed about any changes being made to Trillium articles.

The algorithm of the messaging system makes sure that each change to an article prompts other authors to make more changes. In its simplest form, an e-mail is sent to the previous author if his or her name is different from the current author. If more than two authors contribute to an article, this algorithm introduces an effective stochastic element called principle of floating couples: The more authors contribute to a given article in a given period of time, the higher is the probability that a message sent out at time t0, reaches an author, who is no longer the previous author at time t1, when he or her makes the next change to the article.

Scientific Aspects

The scientific challenge of the Triki approach is to optimize the number of authors in a way that the number of e-mails is kept high enough to fuel the process, but not that high that Triki messages might be perceived as spam. Obviously the "ideal" number is not a constant but rather depends on behavioural and cultural features of the respective group of authors. For example, the ideal number is inversely correlated with the number of daily SPAM e-mails in a given country or professional group.

The Triki approach makes a contribution to the science of rapid web-based knowledge management, which has been called Wikilogy.


The underlying program Triki (= Trillium Wiki) has been written in php and JavaScript using MySQL as a database. Programming started mid 2005, i.e. approximately at the same time when American news papers such as the Los Angeles Times started collaborative editing as well.

Further Details

External links

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