Evolutionary Biology Online Journal Club

#EBJClub participants: we want your feedback!

5 Comments

We had our first meeting earlier this week and I think it went pretty well! The discussion was interesting and I can’t wait for the next one. I’d like to ask you guys now your opinion on a couple things to make it better. I was going to do so at the end of the Hangout, but Google decided I had had enough and kicked me out =P . So if you joined us Tuesday for the discussion, or haven’t but plan on doing so for next meetings, please take a second and share your thoughts regarding the topics below. Also, if you have any suggestions not covered in this post, let us know in the comments!

(EDIT: please note you need to click the “vote” button for each of the polls separately to cast yours!)

Meeting frequency

The initial idea was to meet every other week, this way we wouldn’t overburden ourselves with commitment and the journal club would have a greater chance to survive. But a couple people suggested that having meetings weekly could also work, since we have a fairly big roster and people could rotate according to their interests, or just join every week (maybe an hour a week isn’t that much!); this way we could get a chance of reading all the suggested papers. I kinda like this idea, and myself would like to participate every week, but I fear this might burnout our enthusiasm over the journal club. What do you think?

Deciding on our next reading

The next important thing we need to go about is deciding our next reading. I did the poll before our first meeting and it was fairly easy to decide on the first reading, because it was such a clear winner – it had a median rank of around 3, whereas the next best ranked paper has a median rank of over 7.

However, as one should expect for a diverse group and an amazing list of reading suggestions, there was a lot of spread over the rankings for the next best ranked papers, as you can see in this quite ridiculously looking violin plot:

manuscript identities have been concealed to protect their anonymity and their families’ safety.

Because of this, I feel quite uneasy deciding on this alone what our next readins should be. Several papers are separated by a rank difference that is meaningless. So I thought about the following solution: we could discard the bottom 5 papers, and after each meeting I would select 2 papers at random and put them up for voting here. We would read the most voted amongst those two for the next meeting, and the lowest ranking one would be discarded. What do you think?

One more thing

Well, actually two:

  • it was brought to my attention that we should be more careful and attentive about the rotation of participants, given G+ Hangouts’ 10 person limit. I don’t think anyone tried to join but was left out (if you did, please correct me; knowing the extent of the problem is the only way to fix it). Again, if you have other videoconference solutions, let me know.
  • it was also suggested that we need some sort of moderator, someone to lead the discussion in some way – introduce the paper, think in advance about a couple of questions, and make sure that everyone, even the most shy, have a chance to give their opinions! so for each meeting I will be asking for volunteers to moderate, if that’s ok!

So please answer the polls above, and use the comments to let us know how to make this even better!

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Author: Rafael Maia

Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Idaho, studying the development and evolution of iridescent colors in birds.

5 thoughts on “#EBJClub participants: we want your feedback!

  1. I think it is fair to have the person who suggested the paper be the meeting moderator. We might need to volunteer someone if that person is not in the Hangout (e.g., if we do parallel sessions).

  2. We might also want to try alternate meeting dates — I know that Tuesday sessions work well for most of the people interested in the club, but if we switched off with another day of the week, that might broaden participation. If we did something like meeting Tuesday, then Thursday the next week (I think Thursdays were our second-most popular meeting days), people could choose to attend either biweekly (e.g. Tuesdays only) or weekly (Tuesday/Thursday sessions) — that might also ease the pressure on the rotation, since people might be willing to skip out on more of a session if they can join in on a less crowded one the next week.

    • I think this is a great idea Lee. It seems we’ve got enough backing for this to work out, and if we spread it out over alternating nights every week, I suspect we’ll open the door for more people to join us.

      As for the discussion leaders and paper selection, I like Rafael’s suggestions, I think it’ll help and hopefully we’ll be able to get more people involved.

    • I like that idea a lot too. Let’s see if there’s interest in having the meeting weekly, and we can start from there! Thanks Lee!

  3. Pingback: Poll results and next reading | Evolutionary Biology Online Journal Club

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