Well we’ve crossed that milestone… yet again. I’ve submitted the third version of a paper I’ve been working on… for years now. Yeah, they can take a while and with COVID, things took even longer. So what happens now and what the heck is going on? Since it’s it’s already been an incredibly busy day, let’s recap the journey this paper has been on and how we got to the latest and (hopefully) last submission of my paper!
I’m really proud of this paper and a whole ton of work went into it. It wasn’t so much a collaboration as it was me doing the bulk of the work, but thankfully I had some help from the third author on the paper. I guess we should start at the beginning, back in spring term of last year I took a course in state space modeling. State space is just a fancy way of guessing the hidden state of something by an indirect measurement. Imagine if I wanted to know the state of a light switch (on/off) based on measurements of light in the room. At night it would be very easy, but during the day it’s difficult. State space modeling helps us predict the state of the light switch even when it’s midday.
I think state space models are super cool and incredibly useful because we can relate the model to the biology behind what we’re seeing and make inferences about how things function. For the class we had a project that ended up in a journal publication attempt. There was a lot of work involved and quite a bit of drama because the partner I was working with on the project was horrible. I absolutely did not appreciate his lack of work ethic or his lack of communication, so I took over his portion of the project to get it to the “finish line” so to speak (here)(earlier info here). That was why instead of us being co-first authors I got a solo first author spot. To this day, I still don’t feel bad about it.
So after a lot of work, we went back and forth on the paper for almost a full year, but submitted it for the first time at the beginning of this year (here). After a long, drawn out wait, we got a rejection and request for modification (here). Some of it was BS, one of the reviewers asked us to cite several papers, which I suspect were his because they all had a common author. This despite the fact that some of the papers had very little (see: nothing) to do with the topic we were writing about. Sadly this happens on occasion and I solemnly swear to not be that kind of reviewer. I mean if it was applicable I would be okay with it, but this feels a little slimy to me.
Anyway we resubmitted it and it came back (again…) with some minor revisions from one of the reviewers. The other reviewer agreed it was ready, but this one wanted a few changes. Luckily they were so minor that I got them done in a single day (more). However, we needed the approval from everyone on the paper, along with our senior author, before we submitted the work. Well, we got the approval from our senior author and we’ve officially resubmitted the paper!
Unless something horrible goes wrong this will be the last time I have to deal with this paper and it means I’ll finally have some work cleared off my plate (about damn time too). This will ideally give me a chance to focus on other things (like the other three papers I’m currently working on in tandem). In the end it may not be much of a reduction in the workload I have right now, but it’s a step in the right direction and I think (again, hoping) that with the completion of a few other papers I’ll get a chance to find a better workload. The problem is I took on a lot at once and I think it will pay off, but only time will tell for sure.
So for now I’m switching my focus back to another paper that we’ve been trying to wrap up. This one is with my Co-PI and I took it on over the summer because the project was just too damn interesting to say no to (here). That paper is mostly finished, mostly. I still need to work on finalizing the figures, rework the methods, and add my part to the discussion/conclusions/abstract. We’re like 85% done with that paper and my Co-PI has expressed interest in just getting it done since we’ve been working on it for so long now. I couldn’t agree more! So my plan is to spend the weekend reviewing/editing/revising that paper and with a little luck you’ll get another paper submission update in like a week, maybe two.
That’s the hope anyway!