Join PubMed Commons

To be eligible to use PubMed Commons, you must be an author of a publication in PubMed. You will need an My NCBI account and an invitation to join PubMed Commons. Both are free of charge.

You may be able to invite yourself.

E-mail addresses of eligible authors have been collected from the NIH, the Wellcome Trust and authors' email addresses in PubMed and PubMed Central. Check to see if your active email address is on this list.

Ask a colleague to invite you.

If you have a colleague who is already in the system, ask them to send you an invitation. Otherwise, some of your colleagues should be able to invite themselves, and then they will be able to invite you. Learn more about how authors can be invited.

Organize a group from your institution.

Academic and research institutions that have at least 50 eligible authors interested in participating in PubMed Commons have the option of providing a one-off list of email addresses. Authors would be added to the list described above, enabling them to use the provided email address to sign up without an invitation.

Eligible institutions are those with an .edu or .ac internet domain (including, for example, email addresses ending in or Eligible authors are those with at least one article or other item indexed in PubMed.

The list should include first name, last name and email address in separate columns in an Excel sheet, or in a tab- or comma-separated text file. The institution’s library or other official central office may submit the list to NCBI at

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Invite other eligible authors to join

Any author of a publication in PubMed is eligible to join PubMed Commons. Once you are a member of PubMed Commons, you can invite other eligible authors to join PubMed Commons or to comment on an article in PubMed.

To invite an author to join or comment, you will need a current email address for the author.

If you are a registered PubMed Commons member and you are signed in to your My NCBI, you will see a link saying “Invite an author to comment” under every record’s abstract view in PubMed. If you cannot see this and you are a PubMed Commons member, you are probably not signed into My NCBI. There will be a “Sign in to NCBI” link at the top right of the PubMed page.

Invite to comment image, pt 1, 2014-06-24

When you click on “Invite an author to comment,” all the authors listed for that publication will appear. Select the author you are inviting. Their name will then appear above the address box. Add their email to the address box.

Invite to comment image, pt 2, 2014-06-24

You can type a message, if you wish. Once you click the “Send email” button, PubMed will send an email to that address, including your name and the message you typed. It will also include an invitation to join PubMed Commons and a link to the PubMed record you used to send the invitation.

If the email was sent successfully, you will see a message reporting this. If all goes well, the email will arrive at its destination within minutes.

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Post comments and replies via PubMed Commons

To reply to a comment or start a new comment thread on PubMed, you need to be a member of PubMed Commons and be signed in to My NCBI. If you are signed in to your NCBI account, you will see your account name at the upper right side of PubMed. Otherwise, there will be a link that says “Sign in to NCBI”.

Once you are a registered member and signed in, go to the abstract page of the publication you want to comment on. Just below the abstract section, there will be a small comment box with your PubMed Commons account name.

To start a new comment thread, click inside the box that says “Add a comment.”

Start new comment, 2014-06-24


To reply to an existing comment, ignore the first box and go to the end of the comment. Click on the link that says “Reply.” This will open a comment box for your reply. There is a single layer for commenting threads. That means that everyone in a conversation is replying to the same original comment – you cannot reply to a reply.

Comment reply, 2014-06-24


Whether you are posting a new comment thread or a reply, the comment box will show you several options. Do not click the “Post” button until you are ready for your comment to appear on PubMed. There is no way to save a comment online without posting it.

In the comment area, you can:

  • Start typing (up to 8000 characters)
  • Change the size of the box by dragging on the bottom right-hand corner
  • View a pop-up of the current PubMed Commons Guidelines by clicking “Guidelines”
  • See a condensed guide of options for formatting text and links by clicking “How to format”
  • See what your draft comment looks like before posting it by clicking on the “Preview” link (then click on “Edit” to keep drafting)
  • Delete your draft without posting it online by clicking “Cancel”
  • Release your comment online in PubMed by clicking "Post"

When you post a comment, you are agreeing to abide by the PubMed Commons guidelines that are linked in the comment area.

Comment window, 2014-06-24

Once you have posted a comment online, you can delete it or edit it. The permanent link (“Permalink”) and your name will remain. PubMed will insert a note to show the comment was deleted or edited.


Format text and links in PubMed Commons

Formatting options in PubMed Commons provide shortcuts for citing and linking to articles in PubMed. You can also link to other websites or emphasize text in your comments.

When drafting a comment on PubMed commons, you can see a condensed guide of options by clicking "How to format". You can use the "Preview" link in the comment box to view the formatted text.

Cite and link articles in PubMed

This formatting for PubMed articles will create a citation and hyperlink automatically. It will also create a link to your comment on the cited article. 

To use this, you need the PubMed identifier. It is called the PMID and is at the bottom of each abstract section of a publication in PubMed.

You type: You see:
<PMID: 9451103> or <pubmed: 9451103> Doe J, 1997                 

Add links to web content

You can also create active hyperlinks to anywhere on the internet. Links may stand alone or be anchored to text in your comment.

You type: You see:
See [Wikipedia]( for more information. See Wikipedia for more information.

Format for emphasis

Characters you wish to emphasize are typically bracketed by common characters such as asterisks (see table below). If you are including one of these characters in your writing, and you DO NOT wish to have it act as an emphasis modifier, you can use the backslash character '\' as an "escape" character, which tells the system to treat the following character as plain text, and not as a modifier.

You type: You see:
*italics* italics
**bold** bold
E=mc^2 E=mc2
\*literally\*           *literally*

Create a bulleted list

You can use plus signs to created bulleted lists.

You type: You see:
+ Apples
+ Bananas
+ Cantaloupes
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Cantaloupes

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Share a PubMed Commons comment

Anyone can share links to PubMed Commons comments, even if they don't have a My NCBI account. Below each comment, “Permalink” and “Share” provide different options for linking to a specific comment. These options are available from the abstract view of PubMed records with comments and PubMed Commons pages.

When you click “Permalink”, the permanent link that uniquely identifies the comment will be displayed in your browser’s toolbar. This is the recommended URL to use for citing comments. (For more information on citing comments, see FAQ.)

Share link, 2014-06-24


When you click “Share”, options for sharing the comment to Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ will appear. In addition, a tiny URL will be displayed, which can be copied and shared on any platform.

Share link, social media, 2014-06-24

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Rate a PubMed Commons Comment

If you are a member of PubMed Commons and are signed into My NCBI, you can rate the helpfulness of comments. The number of ratings a comment receives is visible to any PubMed user. Ratings influence which comments appear in the “Selected comments” stream and help rank comments for “Top comments now”. They also influence which comments are featured in the PubMed Commons Twitter feed. The most recently tweeted comment appears on the PubMed homepage.

Rate comment, 2014-06-24


After you have rated a comment, you can view or remove your rating of any time.

Undo rating, 2014-06-24


PubMed Commons members cannot rate their own comments.

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Report concerns about a PubMed Commons comment

If you have concerns about a PubMed Commons comment, there are two ways to report them to NCBI. When contacting NCBI, please provide a clear description of specific concerns. Receipt of comment reports will be acknowledged by an email from NCBI. Reported comments will be reviewed by moderators for adherence to the PubMed Commons guidelines.

If you are a registered PubMed Commons member and you are signed in to My NCBI, you can use the “Report” link available below the comment.

Report, 2014-06-24


Alternatively anyone may report concerns to the NCBI Help Desk using the contact form linked at the bottom of NCBI pages, including PubMed records. Please include the permalink to the comment in your message.

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