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Using Slack in the lab


Eight ways labs benefit from the popular workplace messaging tool.

Slack is messaging software designed to suit the busy, dynamic, modern research lab. Jeffrey Perkel, technology editor at Nature, has produced a comprehensive guide to the eight ways that Slack can improve communication within a lab.

“Slack doesn’t really do anything that other messenging apps cannot in part provide, MacArthur says. It has competitors such as MatterMost and Atlassian’s HipChat, as well as older messenging apps such as Google Chat. But a number of labs have fallen in love with Slack; researchers cite its simple and fluid user interface, and its ability to incorporate ‘bots’: automated scripts (also called plug-ins) that can import outside information into the platform or can launch other software if particular commands are typed.”

Amongst his list, Perkel considers the value of Slack to:

  • maintain a centralised communication channel to discuss draft manuscripts and edit documents in real-time
  • communicate effectively and efficiently during busy conference
  • monitor experiments and enabling real-time updates about instrumentation performance, job status, and outcome
  • customise functionality based on a comprehensive database of plug-ins to ensure the optimisation of the software for your team
  • acknowledge team-based support
  • streamline induction for new lab members
  • allow dedicated channels for lab humour

Visit the Nature web site here to read the full article.