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I would like to attract more discussion, comments or reviews of my papers and so would like to add the ability for comments or reviews to be made by the public in relation to my papers. Ideally I would like a comments section similar to those found in blogging software which allows comments to be moderated. I would like to provide this ability in an easy to maintain way but also maintain mediation control. I would rather not use blogging software.

What would be the best way of allowing open comments/reviews on my work? What are the pros and cons of allowing open, but moderated comments like this?

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    Could you elaborate why you do not want a blogging software? It seems to fit pretty well your requirements ... – user102 Apr 25 '13 at 17:38
  • I agree with Charles Morisset. You want to post something to the web and collected moderated comments, which is basically blogging. There are a few stylistic differences (for example, blogs are often organized chronologically, which doesn't make sense for research), but it's nearly the same thing. – Anonymous Mathematician Apr 25 '13 at 17:43
  • Current blogging software doesn't exactly fit the flow of comments for this purpose, as you have mentioned. I would be interested in how blogging software could be modified to better support this, e.g. google scholar or arxiv integration to save on blog maintenance. – Brendan Cody-Kenny Apr 25 '13 at 18:08
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Okay, this is totally not an answer to your specific question, but I think it is an interesting answer to the broader question of getting comments and feedback on your published papers…

Go to conferences, present your work (either at oral or poster presentations), and make sure you stick around and are welcoming enough so people will ask questions, give you feedback, engage in discussion about your methods and results, etc. I have received tons of insightful comments on my own work in conferences, and still find them an extraordinary tool to gather feedback on your published work.

Also, do not hesitate to engage with other researchers with research interests close to yours, and after you get to know them, ask them clearly what they think about it. I mean, if you discuss with top-notch people in the same area, they will have read your paper (unless it's really very recent); I have started very insightful conversations with lines like:

Hello, professor Smith, it's nice to meet you. Since the 2011 conference, when we last met, I saw your nice paper on X in Flagship journal of your field. It was really an improvement over existing methods. Actually, there was a question I wanted to ask: you may have seen that we published a different approach with the same goal last year in International journal of our field, and we are getting slightly different convergence properties. I haven't had yet the opportunity of asking you what you thought of our approach and the way it may prevent the issue of Y…

Just remember, that's not a conversation everyone is willing to have. So, if it looks like they are trying to bail out, help them get out easily! Manners, always :)

6

I agree that blogging would technically be the way to go.

However, realistically speaking, I don't think you are going to get many comments unless your papers are truly outstanding. See for example Terry Tao's blog -- one of the best-written and widely admired math blogs out there -- the number of comments is often in the single figures. Presumably that is an upper bound for what you should expect.

The best way to get comments, in my opinion, is to e-mail your paper to individually selected people and invite them to offer comments. Most people won't reply, but you might get a couple of interesting responses.

4

In fact, a number of scientific publishers are experimenting with online comments on their publications. Examples are the PLoS or BioMed Central. This is of course mostly suitable for online-only journals, and depending on your field they me be more or less reputable. I guess the publishers are also moderating comments on these articles. So a good approach on getting comments on your articles is publishing with a publisher that offers this functionality.

If you check on a few articles with comments enabled, you will quickly learn that the typical number of comments is: zero. I think it is just not that suitable for scientific communication, and the approaches mentioned in F'x's answer would be more useful to get into scientific debate about your paper.

Maybe in the future the scientific culture will change to have more public online interaction, but at the moment this possibility doesn't seem to draw much attention.

3

If the topic of your paper aligns with a StackExchange site, you could post questions related to your paper on that site.

For example if you you wrote a paper in a psychology journal you could post a question about it on cogsci.stackexchange.com . As a moderator and active user of cogsci.SE, I'd like to see academics posting questions about their papers on the site.

I imagine this would take some thought. You'd have to understand the norms of the site and you might want to post on meta if you felt that this format was a little different to usual questions. You'd also want to be upfront about your motivations.

I think the stackexchange format provides an excellent commenting, spam management, and quality sorting system, and there is often an active community around the topic. That said, you might need to encourage others not familiar with StackExchange to direct their comments to particular pages.

In the post, you'd want to provide a link to the full-text of the article.

You'd also need to think about how to frame a given question so that it is not too open ended.

  • 1
    I like this approach, I have found similar sentiments here: mendicantbug.com/2009/02/07/the-stackoverflow-of-academia – Brendan Cody-Kenny Apr 30 '13 at 9:45
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    Depending on the area, research questions tend to be too specialist for forums like SE. I have got much useful feedback from SE sites, but almost none on research-related questions. – Faheem Mitha Apr 30 '13 at 10:30
  • @FaheemMitha Is your field covered by an existing stack exchange site? – Jeromy Anglim Apr 30 '13 at 11:13
  • @JeromyAnglim: Well, I've worked in different areas, but, yes, I've asked research related questions on SE sites, see for example my page on stats.sx. The three questions I asked there (all related to the same project) got a grand total of zero replies. The one reply that shows up there is actually from the cs.sx site. – Faheem Mitha Apr 30 '13 at 15:09
  • I'm sure that there are some research areas where one can get useful feedback from such sites - for important mainstream pure math areas like algebraic geometry, one could get useful feedback from the people at mathoverflow, for example. However, I think in applied areas things can get quite balkanized. Often one is off working in one's own specialized area working on specialized problems with specialized tools, and there isn't that much commonality. By contrast, one can get an answer to a programming question in as little as 20 minutes on Stack Overflow. – Faheem Mitha Apr 30 '13 at 15:19
1

I've seen researchers posting their papers on Researchgate, explicitly asking readers to submit questions or criticisms.

Resaerchgate aims to be a social networks for scientists. While posting your paper there may draw the attention of people who don't already follow your work, I'd see it as an additional channel to communicate with collegues, and not as a replacement for beeing present at conferences or similiar.

Disclaimer: I'm an engineer, not an active researcher, so the dynamics on researchgate might look different to me than to they would to you.

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    For questions on a given topic my experience is that the sites around here are much better both in terms of the infrastructure (graphics, formulae) and in terms of the answers. Also, depending on the local laws and the copyright transfer, authors may not be allowed to publish the accepted manuscript there even though it is fine to make it available on your personal web pages (applies e.g. Elsevier where AFAIK currently arXiv is the only big repository they allow). Also (if I understood correctly how that works), clicking on discussion below a paper will just open a general question. – cbeleites supports Monica Feb 21 '14 at 13:48
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    as I said, an active researcher might have better input on researchgate ... thanks. – mart Feb 21 '14 at 19:31
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I recently asked a similar question here. Although I haven't received any answers, I came up with some possible answers myself.

I use a service named Academia, who describe them self this way:

Academia.edu is a platform for academics to share research papers. The company's mission is to accelerate the world's research

When you have uploaded your paper, you can then invite people from your network, or outside your network, to participate in a review and discussion of your paper. An example of how to do this, can be seen at this example.

Academia is also a sort of social network, which mean you can "follow" other researcher with same interest and then invite them to review your paper.

If you want to expand your reach further, you can see in the above example, that it can be shared on twitter. You are probably already familier with twitter and know how hashtags work.

If not, I will simply explain:

Lets say your research area is webdesign, then you add hashtags like #webdesign, #webdevelopment etc.

As above, I'm also an engineer and have only used it, as a part of my master, so it might not be as relevant for you?!

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