I'm a PhD student in theoretical Physics. There will be an online conference in one subject I'm very interested in and in which I want to start doing research. I have studied a few papers on the subject but I'm still a beginner. In particular I don't know what can be done in the field and I'm in hopes that attending the conference will help with that.

In that case I think it could be a good idea to prepare myself for this conference studying some relevant papers. Is it OK to send an email to the organizer asking for some references which would be a good idea to study before attending?

  • 1
    Do you have a list of speakers? Then you can find their recent papers.
    – Dawn
    Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 18:50
  • This depends on the norms of your subfield, personalities of the organizers, and the nature of the conference. I suggest you ask your advisor. Their job is not only "scientific"; it is also "social". Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 23:11

1 Answer 1


I would recommend against this. Not that it is wrong, but that it is unlikely to get you anything you can't get yourself from a literature search. Most such conferences are recurring, perhaps annual. Find the proceedings of the conference for the previous few years and see what you find. The abstracts of articles may be enough to see what the landscape looks like, though a more careful reading is needed for methodology and such.

But the organizers are busy enough without doing a literature search on your behalf and would probably also suggest looking at previous proceedings.

Read widely to discover the terrain, and deeply to discover the gems.

  • Thanks for the advice @Buffy ! The only detail is that in this case this is the first conference on the subject. The subfield seems very active but it is somewhat new (most of the developments on the field happend in the last 10 years approximately). Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 16:28

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