Book publication: A Delicate Taste of Science

Kotz D, Spigt M, Cals J. A delicate taste of science. Discussions and Dinners from the Journal Club Mesch. Maastricht: CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, 2009

Performing sustainable high quality scientific research is a challenge. Scientific knowledge is accumulating rapidly and is becoming more and more accessible worldwide by modern communication media like e-mail and internet. It is difficult for the individual researcher to keep abreast of new developments in his or her specific field of research. It is even more difficult to keep up to date with related aspects, especially methodological and statistical aspects. And apart from the quantity, producing sound scientific evidence is as difficult as ever; researchers face numerous problems in all stages of research, from selecting and reviewing existing papers, via designing new original studies to publishing research findings.

One way of dealing with these challenges is to create a kind of peer learning group. Such a group may consist of researchers from various fields of research who share the common interest of performing high quality research. This group may then critically appraise important or controversial interdisciplinary research papers on a regular basis. In 2006, we took the initiative to found such a group and bring it together on a regular basis in the Dutch village of Mesch; the “Journal Club Mesch” (JCM) was born.

Since its start, the JCM has been a success story. About 60 meetings have been organised during the last three years and these meeting have been well attended. Some 20 post-docs from different departments have become members; researchers from the field of primary care, epidemiology, statistics, nursing science, and human biology. Also, many established senior researchers followed our invitation to join a meeting as a guest. Our interdisciplinary approach has the advantage that members learn important aspects of research not only from their own field but also aspects that they would otherwise be less likely to get involved with. Consequently, a large variety of topics have been discussed throughout the years. Sometimes these discussions result in joint publications (comments and letters to the editor).

We hold the JCM meetings at the private residence of Mark Spigt and his wife Maud every two weeks. The evening starts with a delicious dinner; a meal prepared by Mark served with a tasty wine. For the rest of the evening, we discuss the topic that has been submitted by a JCM member, usually on the basis of one or two scientific articles. A large variety of topics has been discussed and we have enjoyed many dinners. We felt that the time was right to share our experiences with a larger audience. The result is this book; a unique combination of discussion papers, recipes, and wine suggestions.

This book is organised similar to our regular JCM meetings. Every scientific topic is accompanied with a recipe and a wine suggestion from our JCM wine supplier. The topics mostly deal with methodological and statistical considerations of human health research. They are usually presented as the abstract of the original article that was discussed, preceded by a critical appraisal by the researcher who submitted the topic.

Daniel Kotz & Mark Spigt
Founders of Journal Club Mesch

Kotz D, Spigt M, Cals J. A delicate taste of science. Discussions and Dinners from the Journal Club Mesch. Maastricht: CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, 2009
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