I'm a PhD student working in theoretical and mathematical Physics. I'm particularly interested in one subject and would like to do research on it. By now I have studied some relevant papers on the field and I'm quite familiar with it, but currently I know no one also acquainted with the subject to discuss about it and because of that I'm finding it hard to identify what can be done to contribute. Particularly I find it somehow hard to come up with ideas and so on when I have no one to discuss about (that's perhaps one weakness, but maybe just lack of experience).

Now, I'm going to participate on one online event on which the subject will be discussed among others and on which there certainly will be other people interested in the same subject. There will be one Slack channel and then I would like to know: would it be fine to post a message there saying that I'm interested in that particular subject, that I'm currently a beginner, and that I'm looking for some online collaboration on it?

Intuitively I see no harm in doing that, but I feel this might be something "nonstandard" and that could be seem as bad form by other people in the community.

  • I'm not sure what you see as a possible down side.
    – Buffy
    Jun 16, 2021 at 14:00
  • @Buffy well I don't know exactly how people see this kind of stuff in general and I'm afraid this could in some way "damage" my reputation. But perhaps this is something that people see as something quite natural in the academic world, and that is what I'm trying to find out here.
    – Aegon
    Jun 16, 2021 at 14:17
  • I have no clue what Slack is, but generally, an online tool alone probably won't have a significant effect on anything related to your reputation (as a researcher) in the physics community.
    – sleepy
    Jun 16, 2021 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


The negative aspect of Slack is that they aren't good about privacy and confidentiality. So, working a project using Slack as a primary communication tool has issues that must be addressed.

But for a simple discussion of a topic, especially one with no security or proprietary concerns, it is about like any other tool.

If you use it, however, don't sell yourself short or minimize your familiarity with the topic. Certainly say that you have read some of the important papers and want to get more involved. Asking for collaboration is a good thing. Certainly better than remaining isolated.

And, others with more experience than yourself seem happy with Slack for this use.

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