We thank Lewis and Rallon for their letter on the Twitter journal club, #BlueJC. We are grateful for their comments regarding BJOG's efforts to encourage post-publication appraisal and engage with clinicians and trainees through an online journal club.
We understand the concerns around the suitability of Twitter. Twitter was chosen as the social media platform of choice because of its large number of users and interactive nature. Twitter discussions are not restricted to certain networks, which encourages multidisciplinary interactions and has the potential for public engagement. During the demonstration at the recent Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists World Congress, novice Twitter users were able to participate in #BlueJC discussion using the hashtag correctly. However, we accept that the character limit can be challenging.
Twitter is by no means the only suitable platform to discuss research reports. We envisage Twitter to be one of the many ways for readers to interact with editors and authors. BJOG has increased its presence on other social media platforms, and we encourage #BlueJC discussion on these online communities such as LinkedIn.
Contrary to your suggestion of a declining number of #BlueJC participants, the summaries published in BJOG in May, June and July 2013 reported journal clubs that took place in December, September and October 2012, respectively. There was an increasing number of participants and tweets over time, although we accept that there will be variation from one #BlueJC to the other.
We appreciate the suggestion for BJOG to have its own web-based forum. This was considered by the editorial board before the launch of #BlueJC. It was felt unnecessary to create a forum when established social media platforms exist. Moreover, simply establishing an online forum on its own will not encourage readers' engagement—such forums already exist.[2-4] In contrast, #BlueJC actively promotes continual professional development and continuing medical education (CPD and CME). #BlueJC encourages external collaborations and networks of readers to discuss published research. In addition, we attempt to incentivise participation in journal clubs through CPD or CME accreditation. Previously, clinicians could only claim CPD or CME credits for participation in face-to-face journal clubs. This has now been extended to allow one credit for each reflective learning after participation in #BlueJC through the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists programme.
In summary, we are encouraged by your interest in our #BlueJC initiative. We endeavour to refine this initiative and strengthen our online presence with the ultimate aim to promote engagement and participation in women's health research.