Community and open commentary



Community commentary and open commentary are processes for formal discussion of material published on the ASO website. They should be distinguished from:

  • the Drupal "comment" system, intended for more informal and immediate comment for example in the discussion forum, against blog postings, or of library items
  • the quality control processes of peer and community review, which are discussed on the Peer and community review page


Both community commentary and open commentary are normally forms of post-publication debate. They address the substance of the material being debated rather than whether it meets the quality standards appropriate for publication.

In either case, the commentary is by the community of our Contributors. But the ability to access community commentary is only available within the community, whereas open commentary is intended to be publicly available. (In the context of our Author Agreements material that is "publicly available" is material that has been accepted for "unrestricted publication". For more information about ASO author agreements see the Contributor Master Agreements - Plain English Guide).


Initially, the processes for community and open commentary use the same part of the website platform as those used for community review.

  • With community commentary, the comments will stay forever inside the secure area of the website.
  • With open commentary, the expectation is that a time will arrive when the material is made available to the wider public.

The transition from community to open commentary

The editors will normally make it clear in advance whether commentary is intended to be kept private within the community of Contributors or is intended for eventual "unrestricted" publication. But various scenarios exist:

  • it may be decided that commentary that was previously thought best to be restricted within the community of Contributors should (with the agreement of the authors) be made publicly available
  • contributions solicited for an open commentary may, in the opinion of the editors, not meet high enough standards or may be insufficient in number to warrant converting to an open commentary

Please note that commentary by Contributors will never be published openly (unrestricted publication) without the formal permission of the author, normally involving an ASO Author Agreement (see link above).

Publication as open commentary will typically involve further editing of the material eg

  • the entire debate, including the original Target Article, may be edited into a single PDF document which will appear in our library of articles
  • permissions on previously submitted commentary may be changed to make the comments available beyond the circle of accredited Contributors (leaving the commentary online)
  • the editors may exercise their judgement to choose which individual commentary submissions should be published more widely and which should not