I think it is fair to say that commenting on scientific papers is broken. And with commenting I mean online comments that are publicly available, not informal discussions in journal clubs or at meetings. This definition would include discussions of papers on social media such as Twitter or Facebook. Why do I think that commenting is broken?
What can be done to address these issues, i.e. increase the number of comments, increase the depth of the discussion, and make it easier to link comments to articles? Some of the thoughts that I and others have had include the following:
On Tuesday the US National Library of Medicine launched PubMed Commons as a New Forum for Scientific Discourse:
We hope that PubMed Commons will leverage the social power of the internet to encourage constructive criticism and high quality discussions of scientific issues that will both enhance understanding and provide new avenues of collaboration within the community.
PubMed Commons is still a pilot project and in order to read or write comments you have to be a PubMed Commons participant and be signed in with your My NCBI account. PubMed Commons has some important features:
10/26/13: added link to the recently launched PeerJ Questions which uses a question and answer format (thanks to Jason Hoyt for reminding me).
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