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A journal club is a group of individuals who meet regularly to evaluate critically the clinical application of recent articles in scientific literature. The earliest reference to a journal club is found in a book of memoirs and letters by the late Sir James Paget, a British surgeon, who describes a group at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London in the mid-1800s as "a kind of club ... a small room over a baker's shop near the Hospital-gate where we could sit and read the journals."
Sir William Osler established the first formalized journal club at McGill University in Montreal in 1875. The original purpose of Osler's journal club was "for the purchase and distribution of periodicals to which he could ill afford to subscribe."
The application of evidence-based medicine to the medical literature is facilitated by a journal club, as each participant can voice their view relating to the two fundamental questions: whether the results of the study are valid, and whether the results are clinically useful.
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