Comments on PubFacts.com – is it for real? What and who is it for?

I came across PubFacts.com while searching for “parallel sequential” “fluorescence in situ hybridization”.  There is no location or identification information. No team.  It looks like someone copied material from PubMed and MedLine then put really basic queries and listings.  I wrote to ask them who they are, where they are, and what their goals might be. The About page says “PubFacts Team” with no link or humans identified. Searching the web, I find a few hints, but it looks like a private effort to make money, “somehow”.

The PubMed and MedLine data definitely could use curation and better search and organization.  The user community is large, diverse and  global but not open to everyone.  A com domain is going to be hard to work with.

Comments:

It is not clear at all who is sponsoring PubFacts, or why it is on the Internet. Gathering lots of facts, then waiting for people to find you is a very passive strategy. The name immediately suggests this is related to PubMed, but the COM is supposed to be for commercial activities. You don’t show your location, team, user community (there is none apparently), purpose, projects, priorities.

Your pages are heavy on bio, and not science in general, so did you just mine things from the gov domain and reformat them? There is a place for what you could be doing, but it requires open methods. Your text colors probably do not meet ADA, and the layout is not as easy to use as the originals. If you are going to do this, you need to add value in some way – serve and support particularly communities – hopefully global communities with sustainable practices and value.

Richard Collins, Director, The Internet Foundation


You should not say “download full text” when the link leads to a “pay to see this”. At least distinguish papers that are accessible, from those that are behind a paywall. Your pages are too spread out for fast reading. When reviewing thousands of papers, bloating the entries for each one will spread the information too much for human absorption. You might have a purpose, but it is not clear. “Our” “us” do not encourage trust. Say your names, give your backgrounds. Say what you hope to accomplish. If you have lofty goal to help the world, it is hard, to impossible, to do that from a dot com. If you want to commercialize a community site, you have to add a lot of value. Know and understand the communities you are supposed to be profiling.


One of your links gave a server error and left this link. Could not reproduce the error.  I was looking at this author and pretty sure I clicked on the PubFacts icon in the bottom left corner of the page.  That gave the server error and locked up.

https://www.pubfacts.com/author/Jon+Petzing

Richard K Collins

About: Richard K Collins

Director, The Internet Foundation Studying formation and optimized collaboration of global communities. Applying the Internet to solve global problems and build sustainable communities. Internet policies, standards and best practices.


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