Todd A. Gibson of the University of Colorado writes in Nature’s Correspondence (Nature 448, 408; 2007) pages:
Shi V. Liu’s correspondence, ‘Why are people reluctant to join in open review?’ (Nature 447, 1052; 2007; see also Peer to Peer discussion), struck a chord. Recently, I stayed my hand before submitting a comment to an online article, because the comment included as-yet unpublished research that I was reluctant to reveal in such a forum.
I believe that there are two ways to encourage online commenting. These would require little additional commitment, but would improve journal quality and enhance the development of review skills among young scientists.
First, journals could institute periodic post-publication review, in which the journal would solicit formal review of the article, focusing on how well its methods and results have held up, given the research that has been published in the intervening period. Such reviews would provide valuable historical perspective. Second, young scientists participating in journal clubs could be asked to derive and post a consensus comment on the article under discussion.