Today NIH’s National Library of Medicine (NLM) is bringing a new way of sharing and exchanging research information, fully integrated with the PubMed website, to a wider audience.
For the last few months, NLM has been running a pilot of a commenting system for PubMed’s massive database of biomedical literature. The system, PubMed Commons, allows authors to discuss and share information through comments on article citations. Hundreds of authors have signed up as beta testers and commenters since the pilot began. While commenting will continue to be available only to authors of publications in PubMed (see this page for more details), today the discussion goes live and is viewable by the broader public.
So what’s everyone talking about? Some authors are contributing information that specifically follows up to the contents of their published research article, such as links to full datasets, figures and background information, or recommended resources and further reading. Other conversations have ranged from sharing ideas on how to identify or cite databases in research articles, to exchanging experiences with particular analysis methods. This recent post on the PubMed Commons blog provides a nice roundup of how authors are expanding on PubMed records. But you don’t have to take NIH’s word for it! An earlier post describes how to perform searches and set alerts for article commentary in your scientific areas of interest.
This is yet another way NIH is opening the door to more scientific discourse and I hope that you will join this exciting new forum.