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Full Access: PubMed Commons & SciENVcv

It has been over a month since PubMed Commons was first released. I will say that the release was much smoother than PubMed Health’s original release. PubMed Commons was discussed before release, had a great information page, has a twitter account, and had more information posted when it launched. The twitter account has been posting updates about the pilot status and when they are also going public. I will say that when I first posted about it, I was scrambling to get access but that is the nature of beta launches. Now I have access and have had a chance to look around.

First, PubMed Commons is still in pilot mode. This means you have to get an invite in order to get access. I can send invites to people, but you also need an article indexed in PubMed. I will try to send invites to you even if you don’t have an article published. Who knows you may just get access!

So just what does this access get you? Well right now, not much as it is still being developed. There are currently about 6 pages worth of comments.


PubMed Commons Homepage


I like how on the homepage I can see all the comments, and then also the “What People are Reading.” I am curious where the data is being pulled to show what people are reading, who is the people, and how often is that updated?

As for the comments, I am not going to discuss the accuracy of the comments as I cannot judge the comments currently posted. I do want to comment on the features and formatting of comments.

First, I like that I can see how many comments are currently available on the article.




As you can see in the image above PubMed Commons homepage displays the comments, tells you if others found the comment helpful (typical of most sites with comments), list the authors name with a link to information about them (more on this in another post), gives you the date the comment was made, and this author has provided links to other studies.

PubMed Commons comment as displays in PubMed

This image shows how the comments look in PubMed with the abstract. If you currently do not have access to PubMed Commons then you will not see the comments at the bottom but this feature is coming soon when they make PubMed Commons available to the public.

When you look at the abstract on PubMed, this is where you can click “Was this comment helpful?” You can also reply to the comment or report the comment. So just how does the comment box look?

When someone post a comment they are just given a big comment box to type everything into:PC4

They have provided the ability to add links, and to also access the guidelines for posting to PubMed Commons. These are nice features. I think it would be great to also add some other HTML simple features. For instance, in other comments some people have added numbers next to references or sections to break items out. It would be great if you could add bullet list, and also to format font. Now how many people will actually spend time formatting font? Well that depends on how well PubMed Commons catches on.

In the previous post, I said that PubMed Commons could just end up adding to all of the noise out on the internet and I still think this is a possibility. There is one thing that PubMed has going for it that other similar programs have not… the comments will appear with the article abstract on a site that thousands of researchers use daily. Yes it is another item to look at and read through, but would it save me time to read through the comments before reading through a 20 page article? Possibly. If the comments are short, well written, applicable, quality comments then yes I might read the comments before reading the entire article.

Well then just how do I know who is the person commenting though?

Right now, if I click on the commentators name, all I see is how many comments they have made and not much more information.



But wait… who is Hilda Bastian and can I trust her comments? Yes I could read through and analyze the comments. I could also cyber stalk Hilda to find out more information about her. The ideal option though would be that when I click on Hilda’s name, it also list out her publications in PubMed. Then I could see that she has written on this topic and has authority on the subject.

Even better, is if PubMed Commons eventually works in the new SciENVcv.  What? You haven’t heard of this? Yeah, I actually just stumbled across this when I was reading the NLM technical bulletin for this post! It is a new feature I didn’t realize was being released (information overload, kind of like what many of said PubMed Commons might turn into):



So if this post wasn’t already log enough…. let’s dive into SciENVcv a little.

It is actually already on your  MyNCBI account. It is just at the very bottom of the page (at least it was on mine):


I do not have an eRA account so I went through the manual set up.


The set up is pretty standard. I will say that it would have been nice to have a drop down for country. I could have put in USA, United States, etc.


One nice feature is that I can share the biosketch (Yeah I can do this in LinkedIn, Doximity, website, and many other places too). I can also extract my CV as a PDF, which I can also do in LinkedIn, and other places. A nice feature would have been if I could have imported a CV to make it easier to upload all of these items. Or if I could have just linked to LinkedIn, Doximity, Mendeley, or another place.

The question is, will I keep updating my CV information in multiple places. Even better, will physicians. Now, this new SciENVcv actually connects to the grants section and information often required in order to receive grants. So it may be very beneficial to researchers and others who often submit grants. It would be nice if you could share some sections but keep others sections private.

If this turns into a why that you can find out more about authors or commentators on PubMed then I think it will be a huge help. If it also eventually leads to ways you could connect to colleagues, add authors to groups, download contact information, or find people at your institution who have published (yes this is hard to track down sometimes) then it could be even more beneficial. Do I think that I will stop updating LinkedIn? Doximity? Website? Other places? At this point for me, I will continue to update my profile on LinkedIn, and some parts on my website. I often will post in various social network sites that to find out more about me please visit my LinkedIn page or my website. Why? Well I just cannot update everything, and IFTTT.COM doesn’t have an easy way to say if I update my LinkedIn Profile also update Google Profile, Facebook, Twitter, SciENVcv, etc. Man that would be sweet.

Or what if I could save articles with a tag and then create an action to invite the author to connect on LinkedIn. I’m going to investigate that now, and also probably set up my SciENVcv… hey it’s just one more place to update information that will probably get outdated eventually!?!

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