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Commenting may also be used to express agreement

Posted by rafaerts on 25 Nov 2009 at 10:03 GMT

A spirited, intelligent comment thread can also help raise the profile of an article and engage the broader community in a conversation about the science

Commenting peer-reviewed publications is not a new concept. Many printed journals offer a forum for feedback on recently published papers, in 'Write Back', 'Correspondence' or 'Letters to the Editor' sections (e.g. Usually, the authors of the commented article are offered the opportunity to agree or disagree with the comments, resulting in 'author replies', 'rebuttals' and 'rejoinders' for instance. When peer-reviewed, such comments are even considered important enough to be included in one's publication record. Unfortunately, editors are more likely to publish critical letters - those that disagree with the original article, point out flaws or methodological errors, or add additional insights that were not addressed. Letters in which authors entirely agree with the commented publication are rare - they don't create commotion. Nevertheless, such positive reactions, written forms of the pat on the shoulder, are valuable too, not in the least for the authors themselves. It's good to hear that the community agrees with your results and finds them useful. Therefore, let us use online comments also for highlighting good parts of papers, not only for pointing out what we think is wrong.

No competing interests declared.

RE: Commenting may also be used to express agreement

Mietchen replied to rafaerts on 08 Dec 2009 at 11:20 GMT

I entirely agree (and was looking for a way to annotate this comment accordingly). I also think a basic classification of comments (e.g. via radio buttons similar to those used for the conflict of interest statement) into "bad practice", "typo", "confirmation" etc. could go a long way to make annotations more useful to the community, especially if aggregated (as a form of reputation or karma) for individual users (which may be authors on one paper, reviewers on another, commenter on a third etc.) in a way both humans and machines can read.

No competing interests declared.