PubMed Commons going public soon


It’s been a month since the beta launch of PubMed Commons, the pilot system that enables authors’ discussion and sharing of information about publications in PubMed.

The first public version of the PubMed Commons pilot will be released in the coming weeks. All users of PubMed will be able to see and cite comments.

We’re grateful to the hundreds of you who joined the closed phase of testing – especially for your patience with the inevitable bugs in a beta system. Your activity and feedback have made the system better in several ways:

  • There will be a simplified way for eligible authors to join – including all those with current author email addresses in PubMed and PubMed Central;
  • A permanent citable link will be available;
  • We have increased the space in individual comment boxes (up to 8000 characters), and the new release will have warnings if you’re getting close;
  • Article helpfulness ratings are influencing the comment stream on the home page;
  • New specific guidelines have been released to address concerns reported by members.

More features are in the pipeline. There will be an increased use of data from the helpfulness ratings to make the display of comments more helpful – and we will support sharing on social media. Also in development is an application programing interface (API) to integrate comments from PubMed Commons into other websites.

Exploring options to ensure a vibrant and useful forum for discussion of scientific publications will be a key focus of the next stage of the pilot. We will be exploring ways to expand people’s access to commenting and rating helpfulness, for example through group accounts. Enhancing the value of PubMed for users is critical to the success of PubMed Commons, and we are relying on the community to help shape the conduct and system it wants to see.

We are establishing a working group to advise us during the next stages of the pilot and its evaluation. And we look forward to community discussion, too.

The upcoming release marks the start of evaluation of PubMed Commons. Evaluation results will be considered at 3 months and 6 months, with the final report on the pilot anticipated after 9 months. Three key areas will be our focus: uptake and reputation, quality and impact of comments and discussion, and sustainability.

We will be blogging more about comments being made in the Commons, what we’re learning, and explaining more about aspects of the system. We will be trying out a Twitter chat too, so keep your eye out on @PubMedCommons for the announcement.

Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to PubMed Commons and the discussion about it. We look forward to an even wider discussion soon. Stay tuned to this blog or @PubMedCommons for news of the Commons going public.

The PubMed Commons team

More information

How to join PubMed Commons (Note – if you are an author of a publication in PubMed Commons, your email may be in the list explained in this post)

Early developments in the PubMed Commons pilot

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About NCBI Staff

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, provides access to scientific and biomedical databases, software tools for analyzing molecular data, and performs research in computational biology.

5 thoughts on “PubMed Commons going public soon

  1. Great to see that PubMed Commons is progressing. We recently updated BioMed Central’s comment system to prominently link to PubMed Commons if published articles have additional comments there, and we are looking forward to updates to the NCBI APIs to make even closer integration possible. See:

  2. PubMed Commons would be more useful if we can make comments using psudoname while register with real name. In this way, more critical/useful comments will be received while still keeping the commentor responsible. This will serve the goal of this tool and the Science as a whole much better.

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