Regular (daily, weekly) Journal Clubs are crucially important events in the life of labs. Reviewing other labs’ results is a way to get synchronized with all the data accumulated by a particular subdiscipline. Moreover it is the most obvious everyday form (conferences are not that frequent) of secondary peer review of the given paper, when experts in one lab heavily criticize the story, methods, data and assumptions of experts in the other competitor lab. There is an education component: as the Wikipedia article says Journal Clubs help make the student become more familiar with the advanced literature and help improve the students’ skills of understanding and debating current topics of active interest in their field.
On the philosophical-psychological level a Regular Journal Club continuously confirm the identity and unity of the lab and the functional team behind it.
Now the question is how to move the Journal Club format to the web without losing its merits and retaining its role in a lab’s life?
Short answer: by embedding the Journal Club events of individual labs in a multimedia (and here the screencast form is preferred compared to making videos) format into a social networking site of scientists.
screencast form: Usually a Journal Club presentation is a Powerpoint/Keynote slideshow based on the figures section of the reviewed paper complemented by some intro text slides. There are many screencast services available: SlideShare, Bioscreencast, Slide.com, Splashcast, RockYou…
social networking site for scientists: If it is known what papers are under secondary peer review in labs in a particular field than it a good filter to share with other labs too, in a community space. It is also a good way to ask the authors of the reviewed papers (the reviewees) to answer the critical questions by the reviewer lab and launch a conversation between the 2 labs. This conversation can easily lead to cooperations later. In order to share this information with the whole scientist community and amplify it the best method for implementation is to make it a feature of an existing networking site. The other way is Journal Club screencast service first and building community features later.
In my post Journal Club slideshow: MSC lung repair via lung-derived microvesicles I wanted to show an example of a proper online Journal Club format except it is embedded into a blog engine and not into a networking site. It has 4 parts:
– the reference to the secondarily reviewed paper
– the slideshow in a screencast
– the abstract of the paper
– the answers of the first author to the paper’s critical points asked by the Journal Club participants