PubMed, The Huge Database of Biomedical Literature maintained by the U.S. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), is one of the US government’s most popular websites, with approximately 2 million users daily. So when something on PubMed changes, it goes unnoticed.
Unfortunately, for the site’s caregivers, however, a sweeping redesign that was presented this week has left many PubMed users furious – posting their sometimes damned complaints on social media.
“Am I the only one who hates the new PubMed?” tweeted @LCneuroscience, the laboratory of David Weinshenker, a geneticist at Emory University School of Medicine, on May 19, the day after NCBI rolled out its re-recording.
“No. At first glance. Also second and third,” said biologist David Suter of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, in just one of hundreds of similar tweets that quickly came up in response – some of which cannot be printed on family-friendly websites. And by May 22, the original tweet from the Weinshenker lab had more than 1,600 likes.
Many of the complainers decry PubBed’s new styling and layout, how it displays search results and its supposedly improved search algorithms. “HERE’S THE NEW PUBLIC YOU DON’T ASK. It will make your eyes bleed and kill your soul. #bringbackoldpubmed, ” tweeted Paul Jenkins, a molecular biologist at the University of Michigan Medical School.
The Drug Monkey blog had a more specific complaint:
“best match” for my name – the first five contain two where I am not a writer. In which world is it the best match?
– Drug Monkey (@drugmonkeyblog) May 19, 2020
Molecular biologist Richard Ebright, meanwhile, urged PubMed users to return to an older version:
NCBI has destroyed PubMed.
Click the feedback link in the bottom right corner of the “new” PubMed website to inform NCBI that you are rejecting the new interface and require permanent options for the “inheritance” interface. https://t.co/mhaVnCdwlj
– Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) May 20, 2020
Others offered a more nuanced look, noting that almost every new design of a popular site was first criticized before people learn to live with it.
I also hate new pubmed, but as I am closer to the technology / website site now, updates are needed for many reasons and often make the site better in the long run. It’s just hard to learn about something that has become second nature.
– Heather D. Marshall (@CloudyMediaBlog) May 22, 2020
When asked to comment on such feedback, a spokesperson for the National Library of Medicine, which includes NCBI, ScienceInsider for NLM blog posts on redesign. They note the remake that aims to give PubMed users a modern interface, easier navigation and better search results based on machine learning algorithms. And in a January post, Bart Trawick, NCBI’s Director of Customer Services, noted: “Whether you think the new version of PubMed is bi-knee just as it is, or you have a good idea of how to do it better – we wait to hear from you. “
That wait is apparently over. And on May 21, NLM Director Patricia Brennan took to Twitter to encourage PubMed users to record their thoughts on its feedback form. The agency understands that users can experience “any problems“With the transition, she wrote. As a result, it is now considering providing “short-term access” to Pubmed’s legacy, enhanced version.