PubMed Commons: NLM launches pilot version of open comments on articles

Recent advances in scientific communication worldwide advocate the publication of open peer reviews, the use of social networks and altmetrics to promote the dissemination and discussion of research results. In an attempt to meet these trends, the largest international database of health sciences literature, PubMed, operated by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Library of Medicine (NLM), part of the National Institutes of Health inaugurates a system that enables scientists to publish open comments about scientific papers called PubMed Commons.

PubMed comprises over 23 million references of journal articles in the health area. This vast medical library launches the pilot version of a system that will allow researchers to comment on articles indexed on the database – and access comments made by their colleagues.

For the pilot phase there have been selected authors who are members of the internal NIH programs (intramural programs), external researchers funded by the NIH (extramural programs) and researchers from the Wellcome Trust. The selected authors will have the opportunity to test PubMed Commons, which seeks to create a forum for discussion on scientific topics, enabling exchange of opinions among the scientific community regarding published articles.

The success of PubMed Commons will largely depend on the scientific level of the reviews, which should, as far as possible, be short and objective, or have a brief summary in larger posts. The contributions are under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Researchers who have at least one paper in PubMed can be indicated to participate by colleagues who receive research grants from NIH or the Wellcome Trust. Institutions having at least 50 authors who meet the necessary conditions may submit a list of potential participants to NLM. Only real names will be accepted, pseudonyms or anonymous comments are not allowed. Enabled authors should also have an account “My NCBI”, preferably with institutional emails and a password to log into the system. Initially, only qualified authors can make comments or read them.

Comments will not be arbitrated, and will appear as soon as they are posted. However, they neither should express political issues nor contain commercial information, nor be discriminatory, offensive, inflammatory or illegal. Comments considered anyhow inappropriate will be removed by NCBI without the authors’consent.

Check the list of frequently¹ asked questions with detailed information about this innovative initiative.


¹ FAQ:

External Links

National Center for Biotechnology Information –

National Library of Medicine –

National Institute of Health –

PubMed –


About PubMed Commons:

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License –


lilianAbout Lilian Nassi-Calò

Lilian Nassi-Calò studied chemistry at Instituto de Química – USP, holds a doctorate in Biochemistry by the same institution and a post-doctorate as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow in Wuerzburg, Germany. After her studies, she was a professor and researcher at IQ-USP. She also worked as an industrial chemist and presently she is Coordinator of Scientific Communication at BIREME/PAHO/WHO and a collaborator of SciELO.


Translated from the original in portuguese by Lilian Nassi-Calò.


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

NASSI-CALÒ, L. PubMed Commons: NLM launches pilot version of open comments on articles [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2013 [viewed ]. Available from:


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