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PubMed Commons: A Forum for Scientific Discourse

Today the National Library of Medicine has launched a pilot version of PubMed Commons, a system that will allow commenting on abstracts in the PubMed database.  According to the PubMed Commons site:

"PubMed Commons is a system that enables researchers to share their opinions about scientific publications. Researchers can comment on any publication indexed by PubMed, and read the comments of others. PubMed Commons is a forum for open and constructive criticism and discussion of scientific issues. It will thrive with high quality interchange from the scientific community. PubMed Commons is currently in a closed pilot testing phase, which means that only invited participants can add and view comments in PubMed."

Initial authors eligible to participate are those on lists compiled from, NIH extramural and intramural programs, and Wellcome Trust. These participants may invite additional authors to participate, however -- at least through the pilot phase -- participation is limited to authors of PubMed indexed articles. A filter will allow limiting search results to abstracts with comments, and it will be possible to create links from comments to other abstracts (using PubMed ID numbers) or to external sources.

For more information about PubMed Commons, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedcommons/.  There is also a discussion of the implications for scientific communication on today's post on Retraction Watch.

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