So, I’m buried under grants right now- but I’ll write a quick post just to keep you updated on some loose ends. Let’s start with the paper rejection that was so hotly discussed. I sent a politely worded appeal to the editor, and waited. And waited, and waited, and waited. After 18 days of waiting, I sent a second polite inquiry to the administrative person who assured me that a decision would be forthcoming shortly. 5 days later (now 88 days after the initial submission) I received a short reply that the editors were going to stick with their original decision to reject the manuscript. The rationale was that the original reviewers just weren’t that enthusiastic about the work and because someone (editors, reviewers?) felt that connection between the phenotype of my mutant and the function for which the genes are responsible was ‘not compelling’. I’m ready to move on. I am doing some light editing and waiting on one experiment which people have asked me about now and then- and then it will go out again. I’m remembering that this is a just a job, and IS NOT personal.
Now for the grant rejection. I have had difficulty getting in touch with the person in charge of the review panel- it’s summer so that’s expected. Today we had a rather lengthy conversation on the telephone- all perfectly friendly. The thing is, I don’t think I got much insight on what needs to be fixed in the grant other than that the reviewers thought it was too ambitious to be completed in 4 years time. I don’t agree, but then I don’t make the funding decisions- so I am going to do what they suggest and take out the last aim. There will be a criticism for doing this, and I know exactly what I am going to hear already- because I heard a little of it last year- I’m just going to have to try to head that off in the ‘response to previous review’.
The summary statement for the discussion of this grant was on the extremely light side- but there were comments in there about grammatical issues, and that I should have future proposals adequately proof read. I would love to fix whatever it is they are referring to- but I can’t find it….nor could my two proof readers who read the grant prior to submission. Did I mention that this is a resubmission of an earlier proposal where no one commented on the grammar the first time?? It is difficult to know what to fix, without any specifics on what to fix. It is just so unsatisfying to have a review like this! It is not personal, it is just a job.
I had to talk to administrative people about keeping my lab afloat- I had already laid the groundwork for this months ago- but it wasn’t a conversation I really wanted to have to initiate for real. I will lose my postdoc in the fall, and I had to tell my excellent student worker that she can work for credit in the fall but I can’t pay her. It breaks my heart to see people who work for me, are productive, and are really excited about the projects leave my group under these circumstances.
It’s not personal though- it is just a job.