We're a little crazy, about science!

Minor revisions

Ah, just when I thought I didn’t have to worry about one of the multitudes of papers that I’m working on, it comes right back. This is the journal paper I wrote for one of my classes, which looks to be about ready for acceptance. There were some minor revisions that we were asked to make, but as of ten minutes or so ago I’ve addressed all of them. I think… it will probably be another round of edits with our co-authors to make sure everyone is happy with what we’ve done. Maybe? I’m not even sure at this point.

We’re taking a break from depression talk, so I may as well reintroduce myself in case this is your first visit here or you forgot who I am (I don’t blame you). I’m a FOURTH! (still getting used to saying that) year PhD candidate in neuroengineering. I have a BS and MS in mechanical engineering and there is zero relationship between neuroengineering and mechanical, ask me how I know! It was a painful process, but I think I’m finally getting settled in. I’ve got four first author papers I’m working on (the furthest in the process is the one we’re talking about today) and I just recently made the jump to research at the hospital where I was doing my fellowship (here). Which means I can hopefully focus more on my research and less on hunting down funding.

So for the past year(s) now I’ve been working on a paper, which was part of a project for a class I took, a year later we submitted the paper (here) and we waited. Then a few months ago we heard back and they had major revisions for us. It took a few months to get everything squared away and the rest of our co-authors on board with everything we were doing, but we submitted the paper a second time about a month ago (here). Which meant (I thought!) that I would have time to focus on all the other papers.

I got the email this morning that we had minor revisions to the paper that were requested and I was dreading doing them, but hey look at that got it all done! So what does this all mean for the paper? It means that we’re about to have it published (finally), maybe, probably, depending on how they like the changes we made. Honestly it shouldn’t be too much trouble and frankly I would be surprised if it came back again, but there’s still a bit of work to do before we resubmit the paper.

For those who have never submitted a journal paper before, there’s some back and forth before publication. Edits that are requested, things clarified, etc. Every time that happens you need to not only resubmit the manuscript, you need to include a response letter explaining the changes that were made and answering point by point the reviewers requests. The last time we went through this there were serious changes that were requested. I guess I should rephrase that, there was one serious change requested and one of the reviewers pointed out a treatment option that we didn’t cover in the background (mostly because none of us knew it existed).

This round was much easier. I did have to remake a plot, but that went quick and I think there were like three sentences that needed to be reworded/expanded on. Overall the reviewers suggestions make the manuscript easier to read and all around better polished so the system works (even when it can be exhausting). I can’t complain too much since I managed to address all the requests in just a few hours and the bulk of that time was spent fixing one of the figures.

Now I just need to write the response letter, send it to the co-authors for review and with any luck this will be the last time I have to deal with this paper… hopefully. I mean I already have so many papers I’m juggling that it’s not even funny, but now that we’ve finally finished one I’m hoping the others will get done soon as well, or at least make the work slightly easier.

The other major paper I’m working on with my Co-PI (the one I’m really excited about) keeps getting things added to it, so I need to find time to focus on that and getting the work done. The other, other paper I just finished writing and is about to be torn apart by my main-PI (or at least I’m assuming that’s what’s about to happen. The back and forth with edits on that paper are going to be, let’s just say extreme. At least the draft is written though, that’s the hardest part. The other, other, other paper is one from my old lab that is still *eye roll* being worked on. We’re about to submit that (hopefully) soon, so my old PI should be giving his approval for that eventually. It’s probably not at the top of his to-do list considering how long this has been a work in progress and the amount of reviews/edits that paper has been through.

When I got into research, it didn’t occur to me how much writing there would be. It’s a lot and it’s exhausting. Actually now that I think about it research in general is exhausting and I constantly feel like I’m running around trying to put out fires that keep getting restarted because someone didn’t like the way they got put out. I don’t regret the choice since research keeps things interesting. Your job is constantly changing and that’s exciting to me. I would hate being stuck at a cubical all day doing the same thing over and over (no offence to anyone stuck in a cubical, just not my thing).

Today was good news, even if it wasn’t congratulations we’re publishing it news. The requested changes are literally so minor that I don’t even know why they would send it back for further modification. So it’s basically the congratulations we’re publishing it step. The only sad thing is that even if we get this all addressed and submitted today (it won’t be today, but hypothetically) then it would still be a month or more before we get any sort of notice about publication. This time the turnaround was fast so a month feels reasonable meaning I could have this published before the end of the year (yay!), but I won’t know until it happens so as usual around here, hurry up and wait.


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