We're a little crazy, about science!

Journal papers update!

Not a typo, journal papers as in multiple. This year I’m planning on submitting three different journal papers. I’ve already submitted two and got feedback on them, so technically resubmit those. The third is still a work in progress and to be honest, there could be a fourth that I submit this year as well. Basically there’s a lot going on and it’s all pretty mindboggling that I can’t seem to get any of this off my plate. It’s a process for sure, but even though I’m still hard at work, there’s been some progress.

Papers have been piling up on me lately. For those unaware I have a paper that we’ve been working on after I got my Masters degree and we’ve submitted it a few times. It’s been annoyingly slow and people keep wanting us to do more with it before we publish like the design isn’t a huge innovation already. Thankfully the last submission we got some solid advice about what to do and we’re about to resubmit it. It’s been an almost three year (YEAR!) labor of love and effort.

Part of our resubmission process for that paper is that we need to write a response letter. Over the weekend I spent hours (again a lot of feedback) responding to all the feedback that I got. We’ve already modified the paper based on the feedback so I feel like we’re close. We should be submitting that paper in the next week after my collaborators get back to me with any suggestions/changes to my response letter. Then we get to enjoy the long, painful, wait to hear back on the decision. The reason this paper has taken so long to publish (years now) is that it takes upwards of six months to get a response. For example the first time we submitted it the journal editor thought it wasn’t a good fit for the journal and gave us a desk rejection (as in they didn’t bother to read it). It took the journal almost four months before that happened. So yeah, hurry up and wait, but the last bit of feedback we got was good and they asked us to resubmit it so that’s what we’re doing. Fingers crossed there!

The second paper is my first in my new role (neuroengineering instead of mechanical) and I’m excited about it. We got some good feedback they asked us to address and they want us to resubmit it to them, which is a good sign. I’m happy because the feedback was incredibly minor and the points raised were really helpful in terms the paper itself. The first reviewer wasn’t great, they just gave us a small list of papers that we “should” cite, but not much else. It feels a little weird and incredibly forced because some of the suggested papers weren’t anywhere close to ours. There’s a somewhat crappy thing that reviewers will sometimes do and suggest citing their paper(s) in your paper, I don’t know if that’s the case here, but it really felt like it.

As for progress, since most of the people who co-wrote the paper seem to be busy with other things or not very interested in the paper now, I’ve had to make all the changes. I’m mostly okay with it since I’m first author, but it’s a bit frustrating since it would be nice to get some feedback from others regarding the paper. In any case the paper edits are done, the response letter is written, so now I am waiting to make sure no one else has feedback for me so we can send it to the senior authors on the paper for review/edits/feedback. Once that happens it’s resubmit and keep our fingers crossed time.

The third paper is barely written. Like I said in the beginning, it’s a work in progress. It’s based on the experiment that I finished up at the end of last year and we hope to have the paper written and submitted before the fall. I’ve mostly finished the analysis (there is one bit I still need to do), but overall my PI is happy with it and my Co-PI has offered to put a significant amount of time helping me edit/review the intro and methods section since he’s not versed in EEG, but he is an expert in the other aspects of the experiment. It’s good that things are finally coming together and once we submit it, I can finally get started with my PhD proposal defense, which if all goes well will happen in the fall.

The fourth paper that may get submitted this year will be on the experiment I’m performing this summer. Out of all the papers I’m writing this one will be the “closest” to the stuff I’m interested in. Okay it’s exactly the stuff I’m interested in and I’m thrilled to be doing it. This experiment is why I was doing my latest surgical shadow (here) and there will probably be some time in the OR soon. This will be a “quick” experiment we do over the summer. Ironically we’ll have like 10 or so subjects which is more than the “long” experiment I did, but data collection and processing will go much quicker. I’m not sure on when we will submit it, but it could be over the summer or sometime in the fall.

Basically I have a lot of writing to do even though I’ve done a lot already. If all goes well and the papers are accepted it will be a good year for me, if not then maybe next year. I really want to get a lot of this off my plate and out there in the world, so I’m going to keep trying, but it is a bit exhausting and sad that so much effort has gone into all this for basically nothing. It’s been almost two years since I published anything, journal or conference, where I was first author so definitely overdue. Part of that is due to COVID for sure, but I can’t help but think part of it is just me and not being good enough.

I can complain about my imposter syndrome some other day. For now I’m just trying to focus on the work at hand and getting all of it done as soon as possible. If I can manage to get even just two of the four papers published this year it will be a good year for me. Heck at this point I’ll take just one, but as with apparently everything I do around here you’ll just have to wait and see how I do. You can expect a quick succession of updates followed by nothing as I wait for the reviews to come in.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need it!


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