We're a little crazy, about science!

Journal paper number three is submitted!

Finally checking a few things off my list, now this will probably come back to me for edits in the next few weeks/months, but paper number three has been submitted for review! As with the last few papers, I think we can go through the process of how we got to this point and I can explain what happens now for those who’ve never submitted a journal paper before. I’m really excited, so let’s talk about the long road leading to this point.

Paper number three wasn’t supposed to be mine. It was going to go to a collaborator of ours, but since he had so much other stuff going on, I got first author spot and he got second author. The authorship is reversed for a different paper that just came back with edits (I talk about it briefly here), but since I have four first author papers, I don’t even really count that one since I’m *only* second author. In any case, I’m happy being first author on this paper and it means that I had to put a lot of work into the manuscript, which let me spoil it now, it was a LOT OF WORK!

The offer came earlier this year, before summer hit. For those who follow along, this was the project I couldn’t want to say no to. Or for you movie fans, hospital-PI made me an offer I couldn’t refuse (here). I had to look to double check, but originally hospital-PI was suggesting that it would take 6-12 hours worth of work to analyze the data and get the bulk of the work done. I knew that was a lie! Hospital-PI has a habit of grossly underestimating the time it will take for work to get done. He doesn’t get mad about it, which is good, but it is funny to tease him after the fact.

Originally the goal was to do the analysis and submit it to a journal who was requesting an article from us for a special issue. It’s a good journal and the paper (and I can say this now that it’s written) is top notch. I’m really happy with how this work came out and it’s going to be so cool getting to talk about it once we publish! It’s much more inline with the stuff I want to be doing compared to journal paper one (which was published) and journal paper two, which is work from my masters degree that has been super difficult to get published. In other words, this paper is one of the first in the area I want to be researching.

The deadline for this paper was (I thought!) back in June or July, but apparently it got bumped to the end of November, which is good because we just finished it. We had planned to finish it by the end of June or July (I honestly can’t recall which month we were planning to finish this by!), but again hospital-PI has a comically bad sense of how long something will take. There were several rounds of edits, I was asked to do an analysis I had no idea how to go about doing, and things were just a mess all around.

Our second author is just as picky as hospital-PI, so there were edits, then more edits, and once I thought I was done… oh look at that things still need to be changed! Finally I think hospital-PI got tired of it because this last round instead of sending it off to our second author for review, he just approved it himself and we submitted it last night. Or rather I submitted it.

The journal submission process is specific to the journal. I’ve learned this from the multiple submissions of my masters degree journal paper. Sometimes you have to submit a cover letter, which I’m convinced is a throwback to the days where you had to mail/fax your manuscript. But there are other more difficult things they ask for as well. You have to enter all your information (even though it’s on the manuscript), which isn’t too bad, it’s mildly frustrating though.

The step I absolutely hate is the selecting people for reviewers step. Not all journals do this and I’m super grateful for that because it sucks. I cannot stand it and if I never had to do it again I would be happy. It is so stressful to do! If you’ve never done it, the process goes like this. You need to select three (or more) preferred reviewers. This doesn’t mean they will review, just that they are our preferences. The issue comes from the way they do this. They give you a very long list with names, affiliations, and specialties. You need to select your choices from that list. They should be people in your field doing very similar work, and you should be very careful about your choices because again they are reviewing your work.

I spent hours last night googling people trying to put faces or rather publications to the names. Thankfully hospital-PI offered me a few suggestions because I was stuck. The other bit they don’t tell you explicitly, you don’t have to select from that pool, you can enter people yourself, so two were selected from the pool of people they list and one was entered manually.

This particular journal asked for the works, they wanted full bio’s for everyone, affiliations, twitter handles (haha, not giving mine out like that I would rather have my twitter handle associated with my work than my work associated with my twitter handle because I’m a mess, let’s face it), we had to select recommended reviewers, submit a cover letter, etc. The entire process took a few hours from start to finish and I almost screwed it up a few times, but it’s submitted and we have an editor assigned so now we wait to see what our reviewers think.

I have no idea how fast the turn around is for this journal, but as always I will update as I go and even though I didn’t officially share journal paper 1, I will probably share this one and break my pseudo-anonymity because it’s such a cool paper, even if you don’t understand the details, the visuals are very interesting and the implications are also very cool.


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