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[ENG] Teaching and Learning with NOS

Improving Scientific Understanding through Educational Formats

Published onDec 10, 2023
[ENG] Teaching and Learning with NOS

Learning through action!  

NOS (the Student Network for Open Science) is not just another student magazine!  
We are the first open science journal in the health and life sciences, offering students the opportunity to be part of the scientific publishing process and to exchange ideas with one another. Thereby, we teach skills for a deeper scientific understanding and better handling of scientific publications (so-called scientific literacy). We believe that these competencies are the foundation of an evidence-based healthcare system and should therefore be taught as early as possible. For this reason, we developed the following free course offers for interested students who would like to further their education in scientific reviewing and working. 

Peer-Review Crash Course  

Research is more than just publishing papers!  
Good scientists are also critical and constructive reviewers. We believe that with the right preparation and support, students can provide valuable feedback and contribute to the quality assurance and improvement of scientific publications. In collaboration with Peerspectives and PREreview, we have developed a Peer-Review Crash Course for life-science students that provides approximately 20 students per semester with the opportunity to develop an understanding of peer-review and gain first hands-on reviewing experience. In four online live sessions, we, along with experts, teach the basics of peer-review, provide a concise introduction to current and future publication and review systems, and encourage critical reflection. The course begins with a three-hour introductory event, followed by an interactive journal club where the group reviews a preprint together. In a subsequent six-hour workshop, topics such as the principles of Open Science and the evaluation of statistics are addressed. After these three sessions, each participant can apply their knowledge by writing a first review, for which each student receives individual feedback from our editors. Following this, the written reviews are personally discussed with the editors, giving the students the opportunity to ask further questions.  

But this is just the beginning of the review training at NOS!  
Writing constructive Peer-Reviews and developing scientific skills requires practice. To solidify their knowledge, students review submitted articles at NOS as certified reviewers after successfully completing the course. 
This sustainable concept offers students the opportunity to learn peer-review while also providing those who submit their work to us with valuable feedback from motivated peers. If there is further interest after the course, former crash course participants can apply for our in-depth Peer-Review Fellowship Program. 


We want to delve even deeper into scientific peer-review!  
Our fellowship is aimed at those who have already gained experience in the publication process as authors or reviewers, or have attended the Peer-Review Crash Course. 

Our Peer-Review Fellowship serves to deepen the Peer-Review Crash Course. Through exciting speakers and interactive seminars, participants can examine and reflect on the publication process from various perspectives to enhance skills in both research and scientific discussion.  

Content and objectives of our reviewer fellowship program  

• Deepening essential skills for the role of a peer reviewer and raising awareness of the responsibilities of this position  
• Sustainably deepen competencies for the critical evaluation of scientific work 
• Inspiring students to actively participate in scientific knowledge gain and discourse  
• Improving the quality of biomedical research in the long term 

Our Fellowship program consists of 6 live online events in the evening over a total period of approximately 2 to 3 months. For each event, we will invite external speakers to address various topics, from Open Science to peer-review. Our participants not only learn about peer-review, but can also network, gather inspiration, and discuss their questions with experts. 

“Educative Journal Club” - JCed - 

Comprehensive evaluation of scientific publications requires a deep understanding and experience with the methods used in a manuscript. In addition to our Peer-Review Crash Course, which focuses more on the peer-review process itself, we sensitize interested students to the essential aspects of reviewing the methodology and study designs widely used in biomedical research. For this reason, we have established an educational journal club, called JCed. 

At first glance, the academic scientific methodology may seem obscure and dry to students. The JCed combines the teaching of methodology with the participatory development of a review of a preprint. The jointly developed critique is of great importance as it is published as a joint peer-review and made available to the preprint authors. Prior knowledge (e.g., through completing our Peer-Review Crash Course) may be helpful, but it is not required. 

In two online live sessions per preprint, students from various disciplines learn about the essential aspects for reviewing a specific method or study design. In the first session, an expert for a specific method holds an interactive lecture of 60 to 90 minutes, explaining the most important points that are relevant for reviewing the method. Afterward, participants receive a checklist summarizing the essential points and a template to apply their newly acquired knowledge while reviewing the preprint. 

Two weeks later, participants present their results in a 90- to 120-minute journal club and engage in a discussion of the methodology. They also have the opportunity to write a fully formulated review on the given preprint and publish it on PreReview or on our PubPub journal page. By publishing our reviews accessible online, we make sure our results are openly available for the preprint authors and interested students that might face a similar method. 

Conducting a JCed enables the participants to write a well-informed and targeted review on a specific method. Each semester, there will be various JCeds focusing on a broad selection of scientific methods. 

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