Today Morgan Jackson alerted us to a recent piece in the journal Nature entitled “Online journal club” (Nature 496, 261 – 11 April 2013 – doi:10.1038/nj7444-261c). The main thrust of this short “Career Brief” article is that another group called Fertility and Sterility has recently stated up an online journal club using a platform called Journal Club Live™ (http://journalclublive.com/). This website has created the “world’s first online Cyber-Journal Club™ platform”, which basically does the same thing as we have been doing with G+ Hangouts™ and YouTube™. Devin Drown rightly pointed out that this short blurb in Nature reads like an advertisement for Journal Club Live™.
I think for most of us the headline in Nature was both exiting and disheartening. We are all happy to see the idea of an online journal club approach gaining more general interest, but it is disappointing to see the high-profile exposure gained by another group for doing essentially the same thing that we have been doing since September 2012 (https://evobiojournalclub.wordpress.com/2012/09/).
However, since September we have grown and matured as a group. We have overcome issues relating to technology, topic selection, discussion format and more. I think we all see the inherent value of an online journal club, and I also see us as people who are uniquely positioned to write a piece on the topic. A few of us have decided that it is worth trying to publish a short paper that explicitly spells out the value of online journals clubs, and the practical steps to implementing one.
If you have any suggestions or comments that you think might be relevant for this paper please feel free to add them in the comment section below. Specifically, what do you think should be in this paper? What are the main strengths & weaknesses of online journal clubs? What are the main technological challenges that need to be overcome?