Although there is system for writing comments on an article by proper submission through editorial system. But sometime, we feel need of commenting on article like; the content is very good or content is lacking in certain aspect etc. I think, if there is provision of writing comment directly on the online published copy of article, it would be very useful for both the author and the readers.

  • See also: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/32367/…
    – GEdgar
    Jul 8, 2018 at 16:59
  • Also see selectedpapers.net where they explain that their attempt to do this failed.
    – GEdgar
    Jul 8, 2018 at 17:04
  • Several fields do commonly have commenting facilities. Most biomed jounrnals and the BioarXiv pre-print service have commenting facilities. There are also several faiclities for adding comments to sites that don't have them. See See PubPeer ( pubpeer.com) for example. They (journal run or third party) are rarely used. Jul 9, 2018 at 9:52
  • Some Publishers offer these feature, too. See e.g. Copernicus or PLoS. Jul 9, 2018 at 15:50

2 Answers 2


This is just opinion but the question seems to call for just opinion, of course. But, my opinion is that when the paper has been published it is too late for general public commentary on it at the place of publication. Researchers have better things to do than fend off trolls for example and much published research will draw the trolls.

The process for getting published, of course, is generally very rigorous with informed comment being fed back to the authors. They get (or should get) the feedback from people who are informed about the field and what has been done previously and what is important.

If a person, genuinely, has an issue with what is published the preferred avenue of response is to publish something better, citing the original.

Most authors can, of course, be contacted privately, either with praise or concern. The author can see it and take it into consideration. This can lead to better future publications benefitting everyone.

However online controversy about published research is less valuable and draws the authors into non productive response.

When something published is egregiously bad, however, comment often occurs in letters to journal editors or even, in extreme cases, in the general press. Sometimes corrections take a long time to occur, such as in the Stanford Study. But I doubt that social media type commentary would improve that situation.

tl:dr; The Trolls will Troll.

  • 1
    It is ironic that you write this on StackExchange, a site that demonstrates that trolls need not be a big problem. Jul 9, 2018 at 8:05
  • I've seen articles on climate change been peer-reviewed and commented on publicly on the publisher's website without any big fails. There is definitely a need for good administration but it's possible. Jul 9, 2018 at 15:53
  • I assume that not many publishers want to spend resources on managing such content. Here almost all of the management of improper content is done by volunteers. The moderators are unpaid and are supplemented by other users interested in keeping the space "nice". A publisher wouldn't, in most cases, be happy about comments complaining about what was published. It isn't that we don't have trolls here, it is that we have effective troll control. Mostly just the culture that developed, though it took/takes effort to keep it nice. Thank your local mod today.
    – Buffy
    Jul 9, 2018 at 16:16

A few observations.

  1. Paper publishing predates social media by centuries.
  2. Leaving a possibility for people on the internet to comment on anything is like opening a can of worms. You'd instantly need moderators and user curation and what not. All these people (and servers) would need to be payed somehow. But most publishers are greedy bloodsuckers already, don't make it worse.
  3. I think ResearchGate allows something like this, but restricted and limited. I have seen no practical use.
  4. If the commentary is proper enough, it appears as a follow-up paper. "On J. Doe's sepuling of sepulki and axoim of choice", and such.
  • 1
    Three cheers on Ijon Tichy!
    – Karl
    Jul 8, 2018 at 21:48

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