Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Bringing PubMed Commons to Europe PMC

Scientific communication does not stop at the moment of publication. Scientific discussions in the form of post-publication peer review can provide valuable insights for published articles, bring up an alternative research perspective, or even present updates for published research. At Europe PMC it’s part of our mission to support innovation in scientific publishing, and we believe that community feedback constitutes an important part of scholarly communication process. That’s why we are proud to partner with Hypothes.is, a non-profit organisation developing open annotation tools, to display post-publication comments from PubMed Commons on articles in Europe PMC.

What is PubMed Commons?

PubMed Commons was a post-publication peer review forum for authors run by the NLM (National Library of Medicine). It has been an important venue for scientific discourse of published research literature. With PubMed Commons’ departure in February 2018, comments for over 6000 PubMed-indexed articles have been carefully preserved by Hypothes.is. Every PubMed Commons comment along with replies has been transformed into a Hypothes.is annotation, available for access and reuse.

To ensure that PubMed Commons comments can be publicly accessed and explored in appropriate context, we have exposed available comments on publication pages using an open API provided by Hypothes.is.

How can I view publication comments?

You can see the comments appear on article abstract and full text pages. The link to the comments labeled as “PubMed Commons Archive” is displayed in the right-hand menu, just below the annotations tool.

Example: link to PubMed Commons comments appears on one of the articles in Europe PMC (PMID:28322189)

All comments appear in a sidebar menu in chronological order. They are presented as “page notes” - comments on a document as a whole, in contrast to annotations that are linked to a specific word or sentence in the article.


Comments are visible publicly without an account. They are displayed in view-only mode, and there is currently no option to add new comments in Europe PMC. Only comments from PubMed Commons archive are displayed on Europe PMC website, but you can explore and add other public annotations on Europe PMC articles with open tools from Hypothes.is.

We hope that this effort will provide better visibility for scholarly commentaries as an important part of the scholarly record.

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