Review: Journal Club On Journal Club

The discussion was about these points:

We’ve been going for a few months now so seemed like a good time to sit back, look around & see if everything’s still working! Do you think we should continue journal club? – astronomyjc

The full transcript is also available, and there is a preview blog post too.

Should we continue with #astroJC?

I do enjoy the journal clubs, but just 2 or 3 times more people would make it a lot better I think…. – MarcelAstroph

Yes I think it works & is worth continuing. – StephenSerjeant


Is it advertised outside Twitter? – StephenSerjeant

I don’t think so. Do you mean something like facebook or google+, or word of mouth? – astronomyjc

Yes. Could write up something on it for a conference then you’d have a reason to post it on the arXiv..? 🙂 – StephenSerjeant

Maybe publicising it at something like @dotastronomy would be good – astronomyjc


From the number of views of the tweet archive on chirpstory I think a lot of people catch up with the meeting afterwards. Even if they couldn’t take part live. Is there a way to keep the conversation going for them? (not sure there is myself) – astronomyjc

Also see:


Some subjects have been far lively than others:

From a layperson’s perspective (I’m studying astrophysics with OU), only the controversial and/or big topics seem lively. – kashfarooq

I think that’s because people feel they don’t need a lot of background knowledge / to read the paper to participate – astronomyjc

The popular ones have been (as far as I can remember): Dark Matter detection, JWST, #FTLNeutrinos, ScienceIsVital – kashfarooq

On low turn out meetings:

Astrophysics seems to lots of deeply specialised areas. When we pick a specialised paper from one area: low turnout. – kashfarooq

This is where we lose out over #twitjc I think – they all basically have the same background knowledge – astronomyjc

IMHO in depth knowledge shouldn’t be necessary for a journal club, nor to understand the basics of an astrophysics paper – MarcelAstroph

That’s true, but from my experience of ‘real life’ journal clubs I think a lot of people don’t want to comment if they don’t feel they understand something fully – astronomyjc

Personally I have learnt the most when I’ve had sufficient background knowledge to understand the new (to me) stuff. – kashfarooq

So, the question arises:

Should we stick to more general topics maybe using a paper as a basis for a broader discussion? – astronomyjc

Or when there is definitely something of interest to discuss? e.g. #FTLNeutrinos and SN1987 was an obvious one. – kashfarooq

Problem with less frequent meetings is that people may forget about it altogether – tho may already be happening 😦  – astronomyjc

Getting the authors involved

Would it maybe help if we invite (at least one of) the authors of the papers discussed, in order to get details if necessary? – MarcelAstroph

That could work, but it may just turn into a Q&A session with the author… – astronomyjc

True, and people might feel less free to bash the work too- MarcelAstroph

Introducing the paper

How about spending some time at the start with everyone agreeing/explaining what paper is about? Doing it in the meeting means less prep time before and everyone gets to understand purpose of paper at same time. – kashfarooq

So the first question every week should be ‘why is this paper important/interesting?’ – astronomyjc


It seems like sticking to more general topics & getting more publicity for the meeting are the way forward – astronomyjc

I think #astrojc is a very nice initiative, and will get better as the community grows. – StephenSerjeant

And don’t forgot the golden rule of #astroJC:

One last thing: remember, the first rule of journal club is talk about journal club! To all your friends (offline ones as well) – astronomyjc

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