PubMed Commons: Start the Conversation


Because of the long publication cycle of many journals, including our own The Ochsner Journal, readers and authors have been unable to start a conversation about articles in a timely fashion, having to rely on Letters to the Editor published months after the original article’s publication.

In October 2013, PubMed launched PubMed Commons, a pilot program to allow comments online directly below the abstracts in PubMed, creating a way to engage readers and authors. After a successful test run, PubMed Commons was opened up in December and all authors on PubMed can now participate in the program.

We’ve included some information to help you start engaging with articles from The Ochsner Journal and every journal included in PubMed.


How can someone leave a comment?

You must be registered and logged in to leave a comment. Anyone who has anything published on PubMed can join, but you must have a My NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) account, and your email address must be associated with your name in the PubMed system. Alternatively, someone who is currently in the system and registered can invite you to join. PubMed Commons has information about joining here.


Are there rules/guidelines for the comments?

To ensure quality discussion, PubMed has set some rules regarding comments. In addition to the typical guidelines, such as no profanity and no advertisements, users must register with their real names, disclose any conflict of interest, and refrain from any speculations about an author’s motivations or conduct. The full guidelines are available on the PubMed Commons site.


If someone comments on my article, how will I know?

If a commenter elects to “invite an author,” he or she can invite you to the discussion. If not, you will not automatically know that someone has posted on your work. You can set up an alert with the PubMed Commons system and find out the best way to search for articles with comments by following the instructions from this PubMed blog post.


Where can I find out more?

PubMed Commons has extensive information about the program, including FAQs, guidelines, and a blog with periodic helpful posts. Find out more at PubMed Commons and join the conversation.


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