We're a little crazy, about science!

Juggling papers

It finally happened, it’s the big deadline, or at least most of the stuff I have due is due pretty much right now. I’ve been working on three different papers, and now I have a fourth added to the mix that I sort of forgot about until my Co-PI asked me to review the work we did in that paper, so yeah a lot going on at the moment and it’s all basically writing. So of course I’m working hard on writing… this. The truth is I need a break so I figure blogging would be a good distraction while still feeling like I’ve accomplished something. It beats doom scrolling twitter until the entire day has passed me by.

As usual we need a gameplan going into this mess. I have three papers I need to do, one for the experiment I was excited about (this one). One for the experiment I wasn’t super excited about (the one I made the cool figures for). Lastly, a paper I’ve been working on from my state-space class from last year (here), which they asked us to modify and resubmit. I believe that one was due, so I don’t even know what’s going on there anymore. The latest addition is a paper I assisted on years (yes years with an s) ago. It was the first experiment I did in my Co-PI’s lab and I knew absolutely nothing going in, but it was a great experience and I learned a ton. I like that experiment, so now we’re working on submitting that paper (hopefully) soon.

This doesn’t even include the other paper I’m working on about my robot, that one we’ve been working on for several years now and we’re probably (again, hopefully) close to getting it published. But the three that are due now are all in various stages of completeness. I’m also first author on all of them, the fourth I’m second author, which isn’t bad, but still. Okay focus…

The “excited experiment” paper is due in the next week. For that one I’m flexing my creativity and creating several figures to showcase our data using somewhat novel methods. My Co-PI likes them, but is worried the editors will not, we’ll see. I have to write the results, discussion and methods sections for that paper (mostly the results). I’ve already got the figures 99% complete, my Co-PI had some suggestions on how to improve them so I need to address all that before we get to submission time. In this case I’m not too worried, but I am a little worried since the whole results section isn’t actually written yet. That will get addressed today I hope… we’ll see I’m feeling extra rundown lately with all the stuff going on around here.

The “not so thrilled experiment” paper has not been started. I need to write a full paper and I NEED it done like yesterday. I can probably get away with giving it to my main-PI next week for review/edits, but for now I just need to get it started. In that case, I still have a ton of things to do, figures to make, writing anything at all would be a good start, I’ve barely got a title and a journal that we’re targeting, so that will make for an interesting week ahead. My main-PI is pushing me to finish this project ASAP since I’ve been behind schedule, but the last meeting we had he seemed very impressed with my work so I think we’re getting on the right track. As he said it’s been exponential growth on my part, which was an incredibly kind thing to say about my work.

The “state-space” paper is done. I’ve diligently made all the edits every time it came, but I’m waiting on the final approval from the senior authors on the paper. Given that the deadline to resubmit has come and gone, I’m hopeful that THE senior author on the paper has resubmitted it. It doesn’t always work like that, sometimes the first author submits, but I guess in this case it wouldn’t “count” for her tenure package if she didn’t submit it. It’s a weird thing, but I was reassured from my old PI that it’s not the case everywhere (since I’ve been submitting the robot paper myself and he’s not tenured yet).

Which leaves of course the last “old experiment” paper. That shouldn’t be too hard to do, my Co-PI gave me a few days to review the manuscript and double check or make changes as needed. I think (fingers crossed) that it will go smoothly and I can get back to focusing on the other papers that need to get done. There are still a lot of things that need addressing, so I’m trying to get it done as quickly as possible because it feels like the easiest thing to get off my plate right now.

Since order of operations matter, we’re doing the “old experiment” paper first. Then I’m going to get started on fixing the figures for the “exited experiment” paper and write the results section for that paper. It should go quick enough that I can address these two things over the weekend, if not mostly address them over the weekend. Then I can get started on the “not so thrilled experiment” paper. That one is going to be a monumental effort, so I want to be able to focus on that once I start it officially since I tend to hyperfocus and I can get a big chunk of whatever I focus on done. That also means hyperfocusing on things that don’t matter on occasion, which happens surprisingly often. I don’t get a choice on what I focus on so I try to set myself up for success and having just one thing to work on tends to fix the issue.

So with the game plan officially written out, it’s time to get some work done. We have the first (of two) summer internship presentations coming up which is stressful for everyone. The first is a oral presentation (slides and all) so Monday we get to see how my super anxious intern will do, Friday is a poster session, so that should be slightly easier for her in the stress department. Next week is shaping up to be busy, so we’ll have to see what happens.

But enough about us, what about you?

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