If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Monday, December 1, 2008

Getting Published

I did a little project about 3 years ago. It was an opportunity to try something on a very small scale that I found interesting. It was also an opportunity to provide a very meaningful learning experience for a few high school students. I was at an in-between time with my research and there was little cost to me, other than my time. It was fun and I enjoyed it.

This pilot project asked an interesting question but, given the size and circumstances of the project, the methodology was not the strongest. I started writing it up thinking I would publish it but then I got busy re-locating to SouthLite and it sat in my back burner pile. Early this year I dug it out, polished it as best I could and sent it to what I thought was a very appropriate journal. I was quite surprised to get my first (and only) acceptance pending minor revisions on the first round.

The revisions really were quite minor and I sent the paper back in as per the editor's instructions at the beginning of the summer. I was then really surprised to get an email last month stating the revision had been reviewed and rejected. It seems the journal had changed editors in between the two reviews.

It has taken a few weeks for the new editor and I to connect but we spoke right before the holidays. I was happy that she admitted my paper was not the only one to be in this situation and that it was due, in part, to her inexperience at the position. However I was not happy to learn that once it has been rejected it cannot be reversed. I really don't know much about the magic laws of journal publishing but on this she was clear.

So now I need to resubmit it as a new article, with a new title and take into consideration some of the suggestions made in the second round of reviews (and they were mostly reasonable, justified and doable). It will get special attention of some sort that hopefully will result in an acceptance and not a third round of revisions. It sounds as if nothing can be promised but all attempts will be made to rectify the situation.

I don't mind doing the revisions, as I said I agree with most of them and they will make for a stronger paper. In fact, they were what I was expecting on the first round (although not the flat out rejection). I just hate reopening a paper that I had considered to be done.


life_of_a_fool said...

I don't like that the new editor acknowledged that this was (in part) the result of her inexperience, and yet she doesn't seem willing to make much of a concession. I mean, it sounds like she's willing to re-review a "new" manuscript, and it is reassuring that you're not the only person in this situation, but. . .

Of course another part of her "inexperience" might be her willingness to admit any fault at all.

MoxieMamaKC said...

That really sucks that she won't let you re-edit. That doesn't make any sense to me, but then again, I've never tried to get published. Congrats on at least getting your foot in the door! I hope the next submission is a success!

Julie said...

Oh, how frustrating! The world of publishing is a nightmare sometimes, but it does sound like you have a good foot in the door. The editor's inexperience in the new position was probably a big factor, too. I would love to read the article when you have it published. You're right...it's not an outright rejection, so that's actually a great sign.