Starting a Journal Club


BEMC is trying something new: a journal club. In February, we will start a monthly Journal Club to accompany the BEMC Talks as an experiment. The format is subject to change, as we will adapt after gaining more experience in what works well and what doesn’t. For now, we are thinking along the following lines:

Why another journal club?

Aren’t we already drowning in journal clubs? Perhaps, but not with this kind of journal club. BEMC JClub is focussed on the methods of clinical research. Many epidemiologically-inclined researchers work at departments that are not focussed on methodology, but rather on a specific disease or field of medicine. This is reflected in the topics of the different journal clubs around town. We believe there is a need for a methods-oriented journal club in Berlin. Our hope for the BEMC JClub is to fill that gap through interdisciplinary and methodological discussions of the papers that we read.

Who will participate?

First of all, please remember that the BEMC community is largly composed of researchers with a medium to advanced epidemiological knowledge and skill set. This is not only true for our BEMC Talks, but also for our JClub.

We hope that we will end up with a good mix of JClub participants that reflects the background and experience of the larger BEMC community. This means that if you think you have unique background and focus in your work, we highly encourage you to join us to help make our group as diverse as possible. We strive for this diversity, as we do not want the JClub sessions to become echo chambers or teaching sessions, but truly discussions that promote knowledge exchange between methodologists from different fields.

What will we read?

Anything that is relevant for those who attend. The BEMC team will ultimately determine which papers we will read, but we are nice people and will listen carefully to the suggestions of regulars. Sometimes we will pick a paper on the same (or a related) topic of the BEMC talk that month.

Even though the BEMC team has the lead in the organisation, the content of the JClub should come from everybody attending. Everybody that attends the Jclub is asked to provide some points, remarks or questions ahead of time to jumpstart the discussion.

What about students? Are all students welcome?

Difficult to say. The BEMC JClub is not designed to teach medical students the basics in epidemiology. Then again, extremely motivated students who can keep up and contribute to the discussion are welcome.

Are you a student and unsure whether the BEMC JClub is for you? Just send us an email.

Where? When?

All these details can be found on the BEMC Jclub website. Just click here.

Invitation: January BEMC Talk

“Prior Beliefs, Posterior Distributions and Frequencies – Basic Concepts of Bayesian and Frequentist Statistics” —Speaker: Dr. Ulrike Grittner (Inaugural lecture/Antrittsvorlesung)

Date: Wednesday, January 10th, 2018 /   Time: 4:00pm followed by small reception

*Note, date and location different from usual schedule!

Space is limited, so please register here in advance:

Location: Lecture Hall (Hörsaal) of the Neurology Clinic, first floor (Alte Nervenklinik) – follow our signs, Bonhoefferweg 3, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin- Campus Mitte, 10117 Berlin

Campus Map:

Description: Bayesian statistics originates from a posthumously published essay written by the English Reverend Thomas Bayes in 1763. Bayes’ essay proposed a new strategy for making statistical inference by combining the best available knowledge at the current time point with results from new data to create new, “better” evidence. In contrast, most statistical techniques used today originate in the early 20th century and are connected to names such as Ronald A. Fisher, Jerzy Neyman, and Karl Pearson. These “frequentist” approaches do not incorporate prior knowledge (prior beliefs) in the inference statistic, but rather make inferences solely using the data at hand. After several decades of heated discussion and debate in the statistical community, the frequentist concepts were long-time favorites, as they were perceived to be more objective. However, in recent times, technological advances have provided new solutions to the challenging numerical problems of Bayesian models, allowing appropriate weights to be given to prior knowledge and the Bayesian approach a chance to catch up. This lecture will provide insights into relevant concepts and applications of both frequentist and Bayesian statistics.

Please feel free to share this invitation. All are welcome. Hope to see you there!

That’s a wrap!

Thanks for the great turn out yesterday afternoon (50 people!) André Karch gave us an excellent overview of multiple applications for machine learning especially in prediction modeling and touched on some possible uses in causal research. We hope to see you again on January 10th for Ulrike Grittner’s inaugral lecture (Antrittsvorlesung): “Prior Beliefs, Posterior Distributions and Frequencies – Basic Concepts of Bayesian and Frequentist Statistics”. And hey–you can already register here!

Wishing you very happy holidays and einen guten Rutsch!

-Jess, Bob & Tobias