INFORMS Journal Club Logo

What is the Journal Club?Our Goals • How does it work?
Why should I join? • How do I get involved? • Resources
Discussion Board

What is the INFORMS Journal Club?

The Journal Club is a semi-formal meeting held every First Friday during which Industrial Engineering students come together to discuss interesting, new, impactful research in the IE/OR field and to share technical knowledge and research skills with each other.

The Journal Club is summarized in these slides:

Our goals

The Journal Club is designed to create an open and honest environment for students and mentoring faculty with the goals of promoting

  • New, broadly impactful research in IE/OR fields
  • A critical discussion of research methods
  • A sharing of technical knowledge and skills
  • Mentorship, leadership, presentation, collaboration and critical thinking among students
  • A broader vision of the IE/OR fields beyond a student's selected research area
  • A community of interested, self-motivated learners

How does it work?

The meetings

The meetings occur on the First Friday of every month. (The timing of the meetings will depend on room availability. We'll try to host the Journal Club over lunch time, but rooms are hard to come by in the Engineering buildings.)

The paper

In the month before the Journal Club meeting, students and faculty are encouraged to suggest interesting, new and impactful papers for discussion at the Journal Club. Students are also encouraged to volunteer to lead the discussion on the paper or to present a "Tech Tip" -- a 15-minute technical skills tutorial. At least one week before the Journal Club meeting, the paper will be announced so that all participants can read the paper prior to the meeting.

The INFORMS community encompasses researchers and students in many topic areas. As such, the papers selected for the Journal Club should be considered broadly impactful and interesting within the IE/OR community. For example, a paper that proposes a minor but important update to an optimization algorithm may not be suitable; whereas a paper presenting a comparison of optimization algorithms with an important and influential result would be.

Selected papers should come from the following (non-exhaustive) list of topic areas:

  • Data Mining and Analysis
  • Optimization
  • Health Care Analytics
  • Operations Research
  • Statistical Methods
  • Machine Learning

Alternatively, students may also bring draft manuscripts of their own work to present to the Journal Club for discussion and feedback.

The discussion

Each month, one student in the Journal Club will volunteer for the role of Discussion Leader. The discussion will open with a short presentation by the Discussion Leader, who will introduce the main structure, procedure, results and conclusions of the paper in a short 15-20 minute presentation.

The Discussion Leader then leads the group in a conversation about critical aspects of the paper. In general, the group is encouraged to think about

  • the experimental design of the paper,
  • important assumptions,
  • overlooked areas, gaps,
  • choices made by the authors,
  • the clarity of the writing and presentation of results,
  • the results of the experiment,
  • the conclusions presented by the authors,

and anything else relevant to the research presented in the paper.

Depending on the number of students in attendance and at the Discussion Leader's discretion, the group can break into smaller groups to discuss particular portions and reconvene for a discussion as a whole, or the entire discussion can be held with all participants.

Students are encouraged to ask questions about methods, words and equations that they don't understand or haven't seen before, and all participants should do their best to help other students comprehend and fully appreciate the research and paper being discussed.

The three guiding principals of the discussion are that everyone should, at all times, be:

  1. Polite
  2. Encouraging
  3. Honest

The Tech Tip

Near the end of the Journal Club, another student volunteer will lead a short, 15-minute tutorial session on a technical topic. This topic may be related to the paper in question – for example, how to implement a model used in the paper in R or Python – or it may simply be an interesting skill or tip that the volunteer wishes to share.

Some ideas about what these Tech Tips may include are discussions and tutorials on

  • Packages and Languages
    • Like R, Julia, Python, GAMS, C++
  • Programming Tips
  • Research Computing Tips
  • Tools for Reporting on Research
  • Social & Professional Networking Tips

and anything else relevant to researchers and students in today's IE/OR field.

Why should I join the Journal Club?

Our goal is to create a collaborative learning environment for INFORMS students. This means that within the group, we will learn new techniques and methods, share our knowledge, promote collaboration, learn from the experiences of our peers, practice our teaching and presentation skills, and stay up-to-date with the IE/OR field.

"Older" students nearing the end of their time at USF are encouraged to take on a leadership and mentorship role by leading sessions, providing advice, answering questions, explaining technical knowledge, sharing their experiences and, of course, by also asking questions.

"Younger" students who may be more new to the field and to research are encouraged to ask (lots of) questions, listen, participate, raise doubts, speak out, ask for advice, request clarification, and, of course, to share new skills they have learned with the group.

Interested faculty are also encouraged to attend to provide serve in a mentorship role, provide guidance to the Journal Club, give advice, listen to student concerns and to help the Journal Club pick excellent and impactful articles for discussion.

How do I get involved?

First of all, to be involved you simply need to read the paper and attend the Journal Club meeting – on the First Friday of every month. Exact locations and times will be posted on our forum, where you can also suggest papers and Tech Tip topics.

Currently, the Journal Club coordinator is the President of INFORMS@USF, Garrick Aden-Buie. Please contact him at with any suggestions, ideas or questions.


Here are some links to resources from around the web about academic Journal Clubs that you may find helpful and/or interesting.


Our Links

  • The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
  • INFORMS@USF Facebook Page
  • Our USF BullSync Page
  • Contact INFORMS@USF

    Shoot us an email :
    Nazmus Sakib
    President (2017-2018)

    Dept. of IMSE
    University of South Florida
    4202 E. Fowler Ave., ENB 118
    Tampa, FL 33620