Manuscript Club

90 minutes per sessions

Students meet in small groups to discuss their draft chapters and articles, and offer critical but constructive feedback to one another. Students are in charge of the manuscript club, but facilitators attend and may comment on work. Unlike the Work in Progress session, students present only manuscripts in draft form in the manuscript club.

Overall, the manuscript club advances collaborative and peer learning. Students gain skills in offering and receiving critical feedback that will help them to excel as authors and reviewers in future.

By the end of a series of manuscript-club sessions, students can:

  • Present draft articles or chapters to peers and facilitators.
  • Use good, constructive feedback to improve their manuscripts.
  • Respond professionally and in a collegial manner to critical review comments.
  • Provide critical input on scientific work in the light of academic standards.

As facilitator
Assign students to small groups for a series of manuscript clubs.
Schedule dates on which:

  • Each student presents their article or chapter to their allocated group.
  • Each student has a turn to chair their allocated group.

Engage and schedule at least one co-facilitator to attend each group’s sessions.
Provide guidelines for reviewing manuscripts and for chairing sessions.

Distribute their paper to members of their group – other students and facilitator/s – two days before they are scheduled to present it.

Students and facilitators
Each read and review the manuscript ahead of the session, providing constructive criticism.

As the facilitator, assess each student in the group according to:

  • Active participation in manuscript club (attendance and feedback).
  • Manuscript presentation.

Each student consolidates the feedback they receive, including suggestions for clarification and revision, and send a copy to their supervisor.


Time Step Who
Beforehand 1. Prepare the room Presenter
10 minutes 2. Present the draft manuscript Presenter
7 minutes each 3. Give feedback Each peer
As needed 4. Respond and ask for clarification Presenter
As needed 5. Add further feedback Peers (and facilitator)
As needed 6. Summarise main points Session chair
As needed 7. Give feedback on the session Facilitator
Step 1. Prepare the roomstrong>

The presenter arrives early and arranges the room for small-group discussion.

Step 2. Present the draft manuscript
10 minutes

TAll participants have already read and prepared their feedback. Here, the presenter briefly outlines the key messages in their manuscript and identifies any issues they are facing.

Step 3. Give feedback
7 minutes

Each of the other students has seven minutes to provide feedback. The chair notes key points as well as keeping responses within the time allocated.

Step 4. Respond and ask for clarification
As needed

The presenter has time to respond – thank the group for feedback, clarify any confusion, and seek clarification.

Step 5. Add further feedback
As needed

Other students have the opportunity to provide additional comments.

All participants give their notes on the manuscript to the presenter.

Step 6. Summarise main points
As needed

The chair synthesises critical themes across the reviews.

Step 7. Give feedback on the session
As needed

The facilitator provides overall feedback on the manuscript club and suggestions for improvement. They note for example whether:

  • The manuscript club started and finished on time.
  • The presenter and discussants kept to time.
  • The presenter gave a clear and accurate description of their paper and the areas in which they were seeking assistance.
  • Discussants provide feedback in an organised fashion, starting with the positive, including uncertainties and suggestions, and did so within the suggested time.
  • Everyone in the room contributed to the discussion.
  • The chair synthesised the discussion points accurately.


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