I’ve often thought that social media platforms would lend themselves perfectly to no-border, zero-hierarchy journal club meetings. There’s a low threshold for participation, an equally low threshold for non-participation if you’ve just been too busy, and it’s an excellent way of getting new angles on literature from people with different research backgrounds. And as every tweet is limited to 140 characters, there’s little scope for one person hijacking the entire discussion.
So: how about an astronomy journal club on twitter? After a convincing effort organised by two British junior doctors, astrotweeters Emma Rigby, Matt Burleigh and Emily Baldwin suggested we give it a try with astronomy literature. I’m all for it.
Twitter has proven to be a very successful medium for discussion of new stories, including complex scientific ones – see for example the #arseniclife episode or, more recently, analysis of the WHO’ announcement on mobile phones and cancer. I’ve also enjoyed Dutch astronomy writer Govert Schilling’s “Twursus” sessions (in Dutch), where he explains a scientific idea or concept, like water or weightlessness, in 15 tweets. Sean Carroll at Caltech recently took up a similar challenge to explain an idea in quantum mechanics in just three tweets.
Are you interested? Gutter blogger Emma has set up an AstroJournalClub blog, a twitter account called @astronomyjc and a hashtag #astroJC. I suggest we curate the tweets and any other contributed content using Storify, which is easy to use and allows embedding of the transcript into webpages and blogs. If you have any suggestions, post them here, on twitter, or on the dedicated blog.