Does the perfect journal club exist?

Next week, I will start journal club meetings with graduate students. I began this journal club last year with some success.

How does it look? It is pretty standard actually! The student who has to review the chosen paper get two weeks to prepare himself. Then, following a brief presentation of the study (no more than 10 minutes dedicated to its description), he starts the discussion with the other students. To ensure that everybody follows the discussion, each student has to carefully read three to five additional papers related to the issue(s) presented in the reviewed manuscript.

In the beginning, the first couple of meetings were just fine and interactions between students were interesting. Unfortunately, I soon noticed that the requested readings were not done by all students. Eventually, the quality of our discussions was no longer the same.

Although everybody has busy weeks, I still think that this journal club is an excellent opportunity for students to learn interesting science outside their area of research, new research methods, strengths and weaknesses of a manuscript, etc. However, people need to put the time and efforts to be adequately prepared for these meetings to be useful.

Next week, we will have a journal club that looks like what I described above…but I am always open to suggestions in order to improve the quality of our meetings. Accordingly,  I am very interested in your journal clubs, dear readers!  Can you tell me about your overall experience with these meetings? Also, can you give me details such as the frequency of meetings (one journal club per week or every two weeks?), the kind of articles you are reviewing (for example articles from top tier journals only?), etc. ?

It would be very interesting and helpful to have the viewpoint of both students and supervisors.

Does the perfect journal club exist?