With news of PubMed Commons closing its doors to comments, we outline how experts can advance research with post-publication reviews on Publons.
On February 1, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the closure of PubMed Commons, a site where verified experts could discuss articles indexed in its database of biomedical research. Low levels of engagement and the growth of alternative venues were cited as contributing to the decision to discontinue the service, which had been running for five years.
News of PubMed Commons’ closure upset scientists and advocates worldwide. Researchers saw the venue as a valuable source and platform for post-publication discussions, and for questioning any flaws spotted in the literature.
At Publons, we also recognize the important work PubMed Commons was doing to speed up research.
Fraudulent and careless research does slip through the gaps and it can slow down breakthrough research by several years (check out our recent podcast on this). It’s critical that experts are provided with a space to critique, add to, or ask questions about research both pre- and post-publication.
Providing recognition for this work is central to our mission at Publons. And providing a platform for these discussions to unfold in real-time is equally important to us.
That’s why we wanted to outline the ways in which researchers can have these essential conversations with authors and other reviewers on Publons.
How to add a post-publication review on Publons
We’ve seen a number of instances where authors have long discussions about their research with several experts in their field, and new data and analyses have come from it.
Here’s how you can get involved:
You can add a publication to review from any page on Publons. Simply navigate to the Search bar at the top of the page and enter the title of the publication to search for it, or import it by DOI/arXiv/PMID.
You can also select the "Add a review" from the Review records page of your dashboard, and enter the article title or DOI into the text fields provided.
Once the article has been located on or added to our database, click “Add a review.”
Once you have selected whether you want your review to be public, you can type the content of your post-publication review into the text box provided. Select the 'Create review' button once you’re ready to publish your review. If your privacy settings have allowed for it, your review will appear under the publication.
How to comment on a post-publication review
It's important that authors and other experts can add to or discuss the points laid out in a post-publication review. We offer that functionality with our commenting system.
To add a comment simply go to the publication page and scroll to the end of the review. Select “Add comment” and type your response in the text box provided.
Once you’re ready to publish your review select the “Create review” button.
Our review and commenting guidelines
We want to build a community that is:
Constructive: your contributions push the sphere of human knowledge forward;
Positive: your contributions are focused around improving research, not tearing it down; and
Reliable: your contributions to the site are yours and provided in good faith.
In order to maintain this atmosphere on Publons, we have developed review and commenting guidelines that we ask all researchers adhere to. If you know of any reviews you think may breach our guidelines, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.