This is a group of individuals who meet regularly to critically evaluate recent articles in the academic literature, generally of some branch of science or philosophy.
Journal clubs are usually organized around a defined subject in basic or applied research. For instance, the application of evidence-based medicine to some area of medical practice can be facilitated by a journal club. Typically, each participant can voice their view relating to several questions such as the appropriateness of the research design, the statistics employed, the appropriateness of the controls that were used, etc.
- There might be an attempt to synthesise together the results of several papers, even if some of these results might first appear to contradict each other. Even if the results of the study are seen as valid, there might be a discussion of how useful the results are and if these results might lead to new research or to new applications.
- Journal clubs are used in the education of graduate or professional students. These help make the students become more familiar with the advanced literature in their new field of study.
In addition, these journal clubs help improve the students’ skills of understanding and debating current topics of active interest in their field. This type of journal club may sometimes be taken for credit. Research laboratories may also organize journal clubs for all researchers in the lab to help them keep up with the literature produced by others who work in their field.