Club rules

While we love a good debate and discussion, please remember to leave your boxing gloves and gum shields at home. We are a journal club, not a fight club! Picture by Duncan C. is licensed CC-BY-NC 🥊

We loosely follow the guidelines published in Ten Simple Rules for Running a Journal Club [1], particularly:

  • It will be casual and friendly not formal or fighty because we are a journal club, not a fight club. We’re not looking to be overly critical of any authors or start fights, we’re here for the debate and discussion to learn from each other.
  • It’s about more than just the articles. We are building (and strengthening) communities of practice amongst peers in Computer Science education, not just inside academia but in industry as well. Don’t be shy, all are welcome! See who we are.
  • Multidisciplinary is NOT a dirty word: we aim to foster equality, diversity and inclusion of different people, disciplines, practices and viewpoints. That means we’re open to anyone teaching computer science. That could be in a school, FE college, University, bootcamp, onboarding scheme, company induction or employers staff training program etc. Students are welcome too. The more diverse our journal club is, the stronger it will be.
  • Topics will reflect the diversity of our membership. We invite proposals for which paper(s) we should discuss at our next meeting via the #paper-suggestions channel of our slack workspace, see how to join us
  • We’ll pick interesting papers, but they don’t have to be award winning. Papers don’t need to be heavily cited either, but they do have to be thought provoking and provide something meaty to discuss alongside practical tips that can be put into practice straight away.

Journal club discussions typically cover some of the following questions:

  • What is good about the paper?
  • What could be improved?
  • What is the most surprising or interesting thing you got from reading the paper?
  • How convincing is the evidence, arguments and conclusions presented?
  • How could you use the results and insights in your own teaching or training program?
  • What are the next steps that follow on from this research? What has already been done to follow on from this work?
  • Has consensus and opinion moved since the publication of this paper? If so, how and why?
  • If the paper won an award, what made it stand out?
  • Are there any elephants in the room? Does the paper omit anything relevant or gloss over important details? 🐘
  • What do we know that we know (Donald Rumsfeld’s known knowns)
  • What do we know that we don’t know (Rumsfeld’s known unknowns)
  • A.O.B.: Any other questions or comments?
  • Why was this paper chosen for journal club?
  • What paper should we discuss at our next meeting?


  1. Andrew Lonsdale, Jocelyn Sietsma Penington, Timothy Rice, Michael Walker, Harriet Dashnow (2016) Ten Simple Rules for a Bioinformatics Journal Club. PLOS Computational Biology 12(1): e1004526 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004526