The US National Institutes of Health has decided to discontinue PubMed Commons due to low usage, according to the NCBI Insights blog. PubMed Commons was established in 2013 as a spot where researchers could publicly comment on published research. At the time, the endeavor was envisioned as a forum for post-publication peer review. However, NCBI Insights says it never took off as anticipated. Only about 6,000 comments have been logged on the more than 28 million papers indexed by PubMed, it adds. “We gave it a fair shot,” Jerry Sheehan, deputy director of the NIH’s National Library of Medicine, tells Nature News. “It just wasn’t turning into a major point of discussion for the research community.” Nature News notes that other sites like PubPeer have popped up where researchers can discuss the literature — may do so anonymously — and that many journals sites have added their own commenting systems. It adds, though, that some researchers worry that commenting sites may the domain of a select group, while PubMed is visited by most researchers. NCBI Insights says that the commenting functions will cease operating February 15, 2018 and that existing comments will be visible through March 2, 2018. ~https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-01591-4
By PubMed Commons
FEBRUARY 5, 2018 – PubMed Commons has been a valuable experiment in supporting discussion of published scientific literature. The service was first introduced as a pilot project in the fall of 2013 and was reviewed in 2015. Despite low levels of use at that time, NIH decided to extend the effort for another year or two in hopes that participation would increase. Unfortunately, usage has remained minimal, with comments submitted on only 6,000 of the 28 million articles indexed in PubMed.
While many worthwhile comments were made through the service during its 4 years of operation, NIH has decided that the low level of participation does not warrant continued investment in the project, particularly given the availability of other commenting venues.
The discontinuation plan is as follows:
- New comments will be accepted through February 15, 2018.
- Comments will continue to be visible on the PubMed and PubMed Commons websites through March 2, 2018.
- Users wishing to access the comments after March 2, 2018, will be able to download them from NCBI’s website.
Many thanks to all of you who participated in this experimental effort to enhance the opportunities for interaction about published biomedical literature.