Research Integrity Office staff recently attended a presentation given by Brandon Snell, founder of PubPeer (https://pubpeer.com/) at the Association of Research Integrity Officers 2019 National Conference (Atlanta, GA, September 16-18, 2019). PubPeer is an online journal club for researchers and scientists that, according to Snell, seeks to improve the quality of scientific research by enabling innovative approaches for community interaction. PubPeer provides an online discussion forum about scientific research where individuals can comment, positively or negatively, on scientific publications and their conclusions. Snell believes that PubPeer provides a platform to highlight fundamental problems with data, prompting discussions that highlight underlying themes that might not otherwise be discovered. Comments are posted anonymously and should be factual descriptions of problems or concerns raised by the publication and must contain publically verifiable information.
When an article is uploaded to PubPeer and comments added, authors are immediately alerted via email from PubPeer. Authors can then respond to the comments, clarifying interpretations and uploading data and images.
According to Snell, PubPeer has collected 80,000 comments on 14,000 articles in 2,300 journals since its creation in 2012.
What to do if you receive a notification from PubPeer
If you receive a notification from PubPeer that one of your articles has received comments, PubPeer provides an author registration that allows you to respond to any concerns as the author (instead of posting an anonymous reply). PubPeer encourages authors to respond and to share original data and images to help clarify your response.
Sharing your perspective and engaging in constructive dialogue with other researchers about your work is valuable to the scientific community, but please consider the following before you comment:
- Discuss your response with the other authors of the publication before posting. A thoughtful, coordinated response is more likely to satisfy any concerns raised.
- Comments and responses are permanent. PubPeer’s Frequently Asked Questions indicate that “in most cases we will not consider removing comments, even if the authors apparently provide a convincing reply or explanation.”
- Keep responses factual and polite, and focused on the questions raised.
- Ask a colleague or co-author to proofread your response before posting.
PubPeer is intended to spark dialogue between researchers. Comments on PubPeer are not considered allegations of research misconduct, and the IU Research Integrity Office is not currently monitoring PubPeer for comments and concerns regarding IU researchers. We are available to provide guidance when possible. Please feel free to contact the Research Integrity Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you’d like to discuss concerns about a PubPeer comment or response.