Joining PubMed Commons: A Step-by-step Guide

In our previous post we wrote about a new service called PubMed Commons that allows researchers to add comments to individual PubMed records. As we described in that post, PubMed Commons is currently a beta pilot release, and requires interested people to join the system before they can view or add comments. This post will describe how to join PubMed Commons.

What do you need to do to join?

First, you need to be one of the over 23 million people who are an author of a PubMed record. In this pilot phase, you’ll also need two more things to join PubMed Commons:

  1. A My NCBI account
  2. An invitation to join PubMed Commons

First, are you signed in to My NCBI?

You need to be. Go to the PubMed Commons home page and look in the upper right-hand corner. Do you see your My NCBI user name where “your_name_here” appears in Figure 1? If not, click Sign In to NCBI and login to your account. If you don’t have an account, you can now create one.

Next, let’s see if you’re already a participant!

This is easy. Go to the PubMed Commons home page and compare what you see to Figure 1. If you can see the “What people are saying” and “What people are reading” sections, you’re in! Welcome aboard!

If you don’t see these sections, keep reading.

Figure 1 – PubMed Commons home page that will appear for someone who is a PubMed Commons participant. Their My NCBI user name will appear in the upper right (circled), indicating that they are logged in to My NCBI, and the “What people are saying” and “What people are reading” sections will appear.

Figure 1 – PubMed Commons home page that will appear for someone who is a PubMed Commons participant. Their My NCBI user name will appear in the upper right (circled), indicating that they are logged in to My NCBI, and the “What people are saying” and “What people are reading” sections will appear.

So it looks like you’ll need to join PubMed Commons.

If you’ve made it this far, your PubMed Commons home page probably looks like Figure 2. If so, you’ll need to join PubMed Commons to view and add comments.

Figure 2 – PubMed Commons home page that will appear for someone who is logged in to My NCBI but who is not a PubMed Commons participant. Click the indicated link to learn how to join PubMed Commons.

Figure 2 – PubMed Commons home page that will appear for someone who is logged in to My NCBI but who is not a PubMed Commons participant. Click the indicated link to learn how to join PubMed Commons.

How to join PubMed Commons

Option 1

If you are on one of our lists of approved e-mail addresses, you can invite yourself! You should be on one of these lists if any of the following apply:

  • you have an eRA Commons account.
  • you are an NIH intramural researcher.
  • you are funded by the Wellcome Trust.
  1. To check if your e-mail is on one of these lists, follow the highlighted link in Figure 2 “How do I join?”.
  2. You’ll need to enter the e-mail address that is filed with eRA Commons, NIH or the Wellcome Trust.
  3. If you see a green check mark next to the e-mail address box, click the “Request Invitation” button. Then, check your e-mail inbox.
  4. If we don’t recognize your e-mail (you see a red “X”), it may be that your address changed and an older one is on our list. Don’t despair! All you need to do is to update your address at the appropriate institution above and we should get your updated address within 1-2 weeks.

Option 2

Alternatively, anyone who is an author of a PubMed record can get an invitation from someone who is already a participant. All you need to do is to give them the PubMed ID (PMID) of one of your publications and your current e-mail address.

Here’s another idea!

Recruit a group of at least 50 PubMed authors with their current e-mail addresses and send that list to info@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. (Eligible institutions are those with an .edu or .ac internet domain, including for example e-mail addresses ending in .ac.uk or .edu.au.) We’ll then add all of these addresses to our list, and you’ll each be able to invite yourself using Option 1.

Still have questions?

Please see the FAQ page for PubMed Commons for answers, comment here, or write to us at info@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.

4 thoughts on “Joining PubMed Commons: A Step-by-step Guide

  1. Pingback: PubMed Commons going public soon | PubMed Commons Blog

  2. I do not see the “add a comment” box to start a new thread. It would be helpful if your “how to” description included an active link to that option.

  3. Pingback: When published papers become like YouTube videos: How comments can revolutionize research – PubMed Commons. - Blog of Moa'bite

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