Twitter-Based Journal Clubs: Bringing Critical Appraisal to the Social Table

Semin Nephrol. 2020 May;40(3):264-272. doi: 10.1016/j.semnephrol.2020.04.004.


Journal clubs have existed since William Osler started them in the 19th century, and serve as an important avenue for critical appraisal of medical research in academia. In the past decade, particularly the past 5 years, there has been a proliferation of online journal clubs on Twitter (Twitter Inc, San Francisco, CA). These Twitter-based journal clubs have used the conversational nature of the medium and the focus allowed by specifying a hashtag to bring critical appraisal to the wider community. Currently, there are 27 active Twitter-based journal clubs. NephJC is one such online, Twitter-based, nephrology-focused journal club. NephJC has been active since April 2014. We describe elements of NephJC and the participation over the past 135 sessions. Apart from critical appraisal, these journal clubs allow for archived and searchable postpublication peer-review, and are a crucial element of building an online community. They are one of the myriad ways in which social media is changing medicine and medical education.

Keywords: Twitter; critical appraisal; journal club; medical education; social media.

Publication types

  • Review