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PubMed Commons to Shut Down

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.