We're a little crazy, about science!

Paper submission!

This morning I woke up to some good news! I got an email letting me know that the journal paper I’ve been working on has been submitted. It’s not the end, it’s only the beginning really. It needs to be reviewed before we know the outcome, but I’ve spent the past ten months or so writing this damned thing, so this is a huge moment for me.

If you’re new here, welcome to my blog. A daily look at my life as a neuroengineering PhD candidate. I’ve been blogging every day now for almost two full years and while some posts are more exciting than others, I think I’ve done a good job of capturing the steps… and missteps, along the journey I’ve had so far. One of the things we do as academics is write. If you don’t like to write academia probably isn’t for you. I’ve been working on several different projects simultaneously. I’ve written an NSF small grant (still in progress unfortunately), a NDSEG fellowship application, an NIH R21 grant, two journal papers, co-wrote a book chapter, another personal book chapter, and I’m about to start a third journal paper and two conference papers. See, a lot of writing. It’s a publish or perish system and unfortunately that’s just how it goes.

Today is good news though. After almost a full year of working and writing, we’ve submitted my first author journal paper. I’ve first authored conference papers in the past and the journal papers I’m working on are all first authored, but this is the second one to submission. The first keeps being rejected… ugh. I’m hopeful about this one however since it’s in my new field and the senior author is a legitimate genius. She’s super talented, very knowledgeable, and was named one of MIT’s top 35 under 35. Basically she’s someone I look up to and really want to impress because she’s incredibly inspiring.

There has been so many edits and revisions to this paper I’ve lost count frankly. We’ve gone back and forth with my collaborators addressing things and making changes, we had six or seven other people assisting with this paper (another reason I’m hopeful about this paper in particular). There were experts in the fields of both EEG and medicine that we got feedback from and insights into the language they use in the perspective fields. It’s been an amazing experience and I’m super excited to see what the outcome is, the senior author for the paper suggested that it would be accepted the first time or at least that’s the goal.

This will be my first publication as a neuroengineer, so I’m excited to make such a splash in the field and with such high profile people that assisted with the publication. The other paper is from my old lab, so mechanical engineering (specifically, biomimetic design) and while I think it’s high quality, the reviewers wanted more from the paper. It’s frustrating because the design aspect was a lot of work and they wanted full on autonomous robot action, not just the framework for it. Another difference is that my neuroengineering paper is basically the end of the project, not the middle like the mechanical engineering paper, so we shouldn’t get those types of reviews back.

In any case, today is a (in my opinion) rather large milestone that I’ve finally hit. Now we just need to wait to see what the reviewers think of the paper so that I can finally get something off my plate. In the meantime I don’t have to worry about doing any more writing with that paper, so that’s something to celebrate.

The plan for today is working on the outreach project my main-PI tasked me with, so hopefully I can finish that. It’s been far too complicated, but what can I say? I want to do this right.


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