Online discussion of scientific research articles is lacking, DrugMonkey says. Authors' interpretations of their data are only a "starting point" in science, which "proceeds best when we collaborate with our data, our ideas, our interpretations and our conclusions," he says. But there hasn't really been an appropriate online forum for researchers to discuss one another's work. Nature Publishing Group and PLoS haven't had much luck generating consistent public discussion and science blogs suffer from "a lack of focus and a lack of comprehensive coverage," DrugMonkey adds. But now there is a new internet creation called The Third Reviewer, which could change everything. The site features many different journals — though mostly in the neurosciences — listing the table of contents of each one. Even better, DrugMonkey says, is that the site allows for anonymous commenting. This is important because it allows people to comment or criticize without fear of reprisal.
Arlenna at the Chemical BiLOLogy blog is also excited about The Third Reviewer, and wonders when a similar site will be created for chemistry and chemical biology. It's sometimes dangerous to comment on published work, even pseudonymously, because "the internet is a much smaller world than you think," she says, even if the work isn't necessarily worthy of being published in the first place. "But on this website, you can say whatever you think anonymously: compliment good work and call out crappy work. Yay!" Arlenna writes. And Micro Dr. O at the Tightrope blog is wondering when the microbiologists can have a Third Reviewer of their own. There are discussions to expand the site to other fields but it's not clear yet if this will require additional resources, she says.