Journal club

Exciting news came across my Twitter feed today: PubMed Commons is launching a journal club feature. What’s a journal club?
As described by the PubMed Commons Team:

Around the world, the journal club is a cornerstone engagement with the scholarly literature. Whether in face-to-face meetings or on social media platforms, researchers, physicians, and trainees gather to debate and converse about publications. Participants share their views on methods and interpretations of results. They discuss how publications fit into a broader context or might inform their own research or practice.
In short, the journal club can represent a major intellectual investment – and a long-standing form of post-publication evaluation.

The drawback to journal clubs is that the information rarely gets out to a broader audience. We do some analysis of individual papers here on the Biofortified Blog, and many other blogs do as well, but the discussion doesn’t get tied back to the paper. With PubMed Commons, though, it’s very easy to share information about a specific paper, as I did for Aris and LeBlanc 2011.
This new PubMed Commons journal club feature provides a whole new way for Biofortified Blog readers to participate in discussion and bring that discussion back to the scientific literature. When applicable, we can link the resulting discussions to the “Links to outside analysis of this resource” section in GENERA, too!
I propose that we start a BFI PubMed Commons Journal Club account. If we have a lot of interest we could divide into groups based on topics. We could meet via email, conference call, or video chat. The time commitment would be minimal, discussing one paper per month (or even every other month if people prefer).
Comment below if you are interested in participating. What an exciting activity to look forward to in the new year!


  1. I would love this! I remember at the time the Zhang paper (on miRNAs from plants) came out that Emily Willingham and I were saying it would be interesting to take a look at these papers in a journal club hangout.
    It also strikes me that the discussion we have way back about the Pusztai paper could be summarized in a journal club way and put into PubMedCommons too.
    One paper a month isn’t much of a burden among several of us.

  2. Great initiative and hopefully this can happen on a regularly basis, journal club is a great place to learn from each other. Count me in!

  3. Awesome! Looks like we have 10 interested parties including me. I contacted PubMed and here’s what we need: primary and secondary people who will be responsible for the account (PubMed calls these the guarantor and the supporting member; both need to be elegible to be a PubMed commenter, which means they are an author of a publication in PubMed. We also need a primary contact who could be the guarantor or supporting member or someone else.
    So please think about if you’d like to serve in any of these roles.
    We need to decide on a method of communication. I can think of many vehicles and all have pros and cons. The two options that come to mind immediately are a Yahoo message board and a LinkedIn group.
    What methods do you think would be best?

  4. Sounds like a great idea. Actually it sounds like a great idea that could easily be applied and refined to various niches (possibly already IS applied? we’ll soon find out). I would probably participate in this group too (as much as possible given my course load, which varies by semester).
    However, I’d really like to get something like this going at my university, and for it to include both undergrads and graduates. Environmental science is the specific topic I’m MOST interested in, as it’s my major and my graduate major too (I’m starting graduate school in fall 2015). But any topic in science is always an interest.

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