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The Book of Na'Lon

or rather, Inane Ramblings of an Expatriot

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Not a publication
Got feedback today for the first manuscript I'd submitted for publication in a peer reviewed journal. The feedback was very helpful, but also negative. They don't want to publish the paper and don't even want to invite resubmission. I'm a little sad about this, but at least some of the points made were also quite nice: apparently the paper was well and clearly written, and the research question was valid. But apparently the theoretical contribution was 'meagre'. Oh well. Next time.

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I'm sure you will do better with the next one that you do. All in all it doesn't sound to bad.

That's more or less what I thought. But I still feel a little disappointed... But hey. What doesn't kill us makes us stranger (as my dear evil twin might say).

What doesn't kill us cannot be Malaheed

It's good that you got feedback - I gather lots of journals don't. Perhaps the article can be revised in line with what they said and resubmitted elsewhere more successfully?

They recommended I resubmit somewhere else. I am just not in a position here in academic wasteland to scout out an appropriate journal. And every day that passes makes my stuff more out of date.


Wah! Oh well, nothing for it time to spend more 'work time' looking at journals, surely as an academic that is part of your work anyway. If it happens to benefit you, well good for you.

Yes, I totally, absolutely agree. It *is* part of your work. Do what the man says!

Bleh. It's a struggle sometimes to keep positive about 'constructive' criticism and easy not to feel disappointed and personally hurt. But I know you'll keep going.

The criticism I got was actually extremely constructive and useful and very well phrased. I have been given five pages of comments and notes by two different reviewers who are experts in my field of study. And I agree with their comments. So I don't take it at all personally. I think without being able to take on board and think about this sort of input one can never become any better at writing in whatever context.

But while I am not personally hurt, I do feel disappointed. It would have been nice to have at least one publication under my belt.

Na_lon -- I have just this week submitted a paper to journal #4 after it was rejected without even being sent to review by the first three places I sent it. It happens. There are basically two reasons things get rejected: (i) it's valid but not exciting enough for the journal you submitted to, or (ii) the reviewers reckon it's flawed or incomplete. (Obviously, both (i) and (ii) can apply:). For (i), you gradually move down the journal food-chain, and eventually it finds a home, somewhere in between "Nature" and the "Archives of Ruritanian Biology" :-). For (ii), you can also try and address the referees' comments -- do the control experiment they wanted, or whatever. If they felt the theoretical contribution was "meagre", can you beef it up at all? Far too much work has gone into a submitted paper to just abandon it, if at all avoidable. Do you have colleagues, or maybe an ex-supervisor, who can advise you on a good place to send it next? Even if not, you already know the sort of journals that publish this work (eg, where are the articles published that you cite in your paper?). You can look up their impact factors to get a feel for how prestigious each is, and then you can try submitting a rewritten version of the paper to a journal one notch down from where you sent it the first time. Then you iterate the procedure until it gets accepted somewhere :-)

Don't let them get you down!


Thank you for the moral support and the advice, Neuromancer!

You are, of course, absolutely right about the whole prestigious journal thing, even if I still haven't figured out how one knows whether a journal is prestigious or not, except in very obvious cases! But I can probably ask my supervisor for a suggestion to send it next, and there are a couple of places I might just try. So I have every intention of revamping the paper -- I think the suggestions from the reviewers will probably make it a much stronger paper, and at least it was reviewed and commented upon in the first place.

How are you and your family (!) doing?


I'm glad to hear you're going to submit it elsewhere! You can get journal impact factors at (eg) http://www.bioreference.net/impact/, and that gives at least an idea of how prestigious each is.

The family (!) and I are doing fine -- just tired (go figure...) and we all have colds, but apart from that, doing very nicely thank you!


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