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Progress in science depends on public debate and criticism of ideas. Such debate is largely restricted to four domains: conferences, private conversations, journal clubs and peer-reviewed publications.

In this letter to Nature, David Eagleman and Alex Holcombe argue that these communication channels are too restricted: the first three tend to be too private and ephemeral to help the community at large, and the latter runs on too slow a timescale and excludes many individuals.

They propose a solution: that each record in online publication databases should have a link for adding scientific commentary. This would allow immediate free and open debate of scientific ideas and easy dissemination of non-replications and negative results.

Link to letter in Nature

Source: Nature 423, 15 (2003)

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