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Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent confinements in various countries, there has been a tremendous development of the use of online collaboration tools (e.g. daily use of video conferencing with Zoom, Skype and the like, writing a paper with co-authors for the first time using a shared environment like overleaf or google docs...). Also, many online-only research seminars have been set up where entry is usually not restricted to members of a given university (e.g. researchseminars.org, see also the related panel discussion from mid-may 2020).

My question is: has this made positions at small research universities more attractive than they used to be given that daily interactions can now occur with lots of different colleagues worldwide(i.e. not just those of the small department) ? If so, is there any way to quantify this (amount of applications in the coming years, maybe?) Or was there already a trend for a few years?

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    Collaboration was always “easy”. Finding good students is hard
    – Zenon
    Aug 10 '20 at 15:00
  • Thanks. I understand it is always a pleasure to have some great grad students, but I was under the impression that it wasn't the only factor. Aug 10 '20 at 15:06
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    I'll guess this is impossible to answer. The data is too new and too sparse. And the people it applies to are probably dealing with chaos and might provide different answers on different days. But small universities are always popular with a certain segment of academia. And the "department" size may be more important than that of the overall university. Advantages and disadvantages everywhere.
    – Buffy
    Aug 10 '20 at 16:22
  • I see, thank you. Aug 10 '20 at 16:31
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    Don't overlook that such collaboration tools have been used for a long time already to communicate with geographically distant collaborators.
    – Anyon
    Aug 10 '20 at 16:53