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Commenting PLoS articles online

More than once, I critized PLoS for changing only the access to publications rather than offering an enhanced way of scientific communication. At least one of the standard features of most content management systems - the ability to add comments - will now be used for all PLoS journals. The aim is to add real correspondence, not just "I like this papr. Good vork. Yours Schnuffelfred", hence the "electronic letters" will undergo editorial screening. As of now, you have click links in the sidebar to find out whether there are "eLetters", which is a little annoying but I am sure there will be enhancements. A selection of letters is supposed to appear in the monthly journal.
The editorial of the current issue has more details and specifically mentions blogs as an influence.

[N.B.: Of course, there is a page to see all eLetters.]
Pedro Beltrao (guest) - 2005-10-11 11:50

Why not a user driven moderation ?

PLoS Computational Biology also has these eLetters. The way they describe the whole thing it makes it sound too formal. You have the feeling you are submitting it like a paper. I think a user driven moderation would probably work fine in a scientific journal. They could at least give it a try and if it did not work then they could always set up this editorial filtering. Anyway, it is a start.

spitshine - 2005-10-11 13:13

Letters to the editor vs personal correspondence

One of the virtues of the 'letters to editor' concept that PLoS implements is that the number of anonymous low quality of posts will be small and those few might be really worth reading. Several news papers made bad experiences with allowing user comments.

Then again, I agree that a more open system would be worth trying. I guess, this is left to local blogs/CMSs run by the research group itself.

Note that several BioMedCentral journals (such as BMC Bioinformatics) allows to submit comments - but I have failed to observe any way of reading them.

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