I am a PhD student in computer science at a German university, working remotely on the PhD. I do not get much support from my professor (anymore) in terms of time for discussions and I have little to no relation to the other PhD students. Before Covid-19 I would travel to the city in which the university is located, but even those (few) travels have stopped. I would like to discuss scientific questions and topics with other researchers, as in having sparring partners. What are other ways to find groups or individuals, e.g. online? I am not aware of options.

PS: I am not sure what good tags are for the question, maybe someone can help.

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    Can you start a journal club in your department? Attend local workshops or conferences? Mar 19, 2022 at 20:58

2 Answers 2


Professional societies often have "Special Interest Groups" (SIGS) that focus on a particular area. They also sponsor conferences around the world. In the US, the ACM has many such groups.

But for your purposes here, those SIGS also often have mailing lists in which people ask questions and share ideas. The people who post regularly on such lists may be the people you want to communicate with. I don't know specifically of German equivalents, but the ACM is open to everyone and has a worldwide membership.

You can communicate on the list, of course, but many of these lists include the email addresses of writers with their posts, so you can move to more private communication if desired.

And student membership may come at a discount as it does with ACM.

Here is a list of ACM SIGs. Perhaps one or more will interest you. Other professional societies may have something similar.

  • Thanks for the idea! How is this different to posting on stackexchange? I understand that it is differently organized, of course. Could that be - to some degree - be a substitute to what I am lacking at my research group?
    – Make42
    Mar 19, 2022 at 13:25
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    Many of us on this network are anonymous and even for those who aren't you may not learn of their research interests here. The SIGS already organize themselves into groups that may be compatible with your work. I've been a member of ACM for as long as I can remember, and a member of several SIGS of interest to me.
    – Buffy
    Mar 19, 2022 at 13:28

I think that using educational forums for this purpose makes sense. You're certainly not the only person, searching for other researchers, so why not try finding like-minded people on the internet. Use search operators to find the relevant website faster. Enter inurl:forum, intitle: [the necessary keyword] and check the results.

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