We're a little crazy, about science!

A weekend of edits

No matter how much you stagger something, it somehow all manages to come back to you at the same time. It’s an interesting phenomenon that I’ve noticed, where suddenly everyone wants something from me all at the same time. In this case, I was hit with not one, but three paper edits that need to happen. All of the requests happened within a day of each other, so now my weekend will be spent doing my least favorite activity, editing papers.

Okay, it’s not my least favorite activity, but it’s probably one of the most frustrating. Unlike what I write here, I need to pick and choose my words very carefully. I’m not the best writer. In fact, I would venture I’m mediocre in basically everything I do, but that’s because average accounts for the bulk of people. I don’t mind it, but I do feel like the people around me hold me to a standard that I just can’t meet because I’m not that good. Point being, lots of editing ahead and some of it is worse than others.

The first paper is the paper that I’m second author on (I don’t really count it even though I should, but I have so many first author papers that it literally isn’t even worth counting). The paper was some work we did before the pandemic even happened, that’s how long this thing took, and we submitted it for review about a month ago and it suddenly came back to us, much faster than I was anticipating honestly. The reviewers asked for significant changes, which feels normal given my first, first author paper had the same kind of request. So part of today will be looking over the requested changes, making modifications, etc.

The second paper is one from my hospital-PI’s lab and is one I’m really proud of because it is so cool. We’re about to submit it (finally), but the other day I was asked to do yet another round of edits. My hospital-PI has asked that I send him the “final” version for review then I’ll be in charge of submission. I’ve done a few journal submissions already so I don’t mind doing it, sometimes there is a process though so it will be interesting to see what the journal we’re submitting it to asks me to do. Like sometimes journals will ask for (and I forget what the actual name of it is) a letter of introduction, summarizing the work and why it would fit in the journal you’re submitting to. It’s weird and I think it’s a throwback to the days where you would physically mail off your manuscripts, but whatever. This paper in particular will take the bulk of my time this weekend since we want to submit it next week (I keep saying that, but I’m actually hopeful this time we will do it!).

The third paper is the experiment that I wasn’t a huge fan of, it’s the same paper I just gave a talk on two days ago (here). I knew this was coming, but hospital-PI wasn’t happy with a lot of the stuff I included in the paper and has asked me to remove one portion of the analysis and one portion of the discussion where I proposed a mechanism of action for something, but it was a huge stretch and while it made school-PI very happy, it made hospital-PI very unhappy (a good summary of the disconnect between the two of them). Since they are both authors on the paper it’s now my job to make sure they are both happy with the content of the paper, so I will remove the section and revise the discussion to include a hypothesis that is more conservative. I did make the joke that it would’ve been faster if he just told me flat out to start over. I don’t take it personally though, it’s the work that’s being criticised, not me exactly.

The first paper (the second author one) is probably my last focus this weekend, if I even get to it. Since I’m second author it’s up to the first author to review the feedback and to suggest what they want to change to address the comments we got. I’ll probably be asked to help a lot so I’m trying to get ahead of it, but it’s not the priority. The priority is the second paper (for hospital-PI). Since I’m first author and we want to submit it soon, I need to get that done this weekend, no question about it. So that’s where my focus will be. The third paper will either get started this weekend (if there’s time) or will be started during the week while I have time to do other things. Of course, we have new experiments starting soon, so I need to get this done before things pick up with that.

That’s actually the good news, which I’ll probably talk about later, but since we’re here I can mention it. I’m leading three different experiments for my hospital-PI’s lab, which of course means three more first author papers (eventually, this will be months before we can even start). Two of them are related to my PhD work, basically they will help lay the groundwork and hospital-PI has given me the green light to include whatever I feel I need to help make it more related to the PhD stuff. The third project, which will happen in the later half of the month, will be testing my “super secret” technique with some different equipment that we may end up using. It would be a collaboration with another lab, but they already agreed to help us with a short pilot study to see if the equipment gives me the same results I saw with my qualifying exam work. It’s slightly different equipment, but if it works, it may give me better results and the equipment is faster to set up (a bonus since it currently takes about an hour to setup my current arrangement).

In short, I have three different papers I need to get done before things get busy again and we have one (or even two) of the three new experiments kicking off in the next week so I better get to work.

“Why is it always a rush to get stuff done?” He asked as if he had time to contemplate it.


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